SeatGeek: A Prediction Market for Concert and Sports Tickets


SeatGeek, launched Tuesday at TechCrunch50, is a Farecast-like Web site for sports and concert tickets in the secondary market. It's so simple, I'm surprised no one ever thought of it before.

The site predicts future ticket prices with an algorithm that aggregates information from hundreds of secondary market Web sites (StubHub, TicketCity, RazorGator, etc.) and combines it with a number of other factors to make its calculations. Potential ticket prices of an upcoming Yankees game, for example, could be predicted based on past and current prices, who's playing in the game, the weather forecast, and whether a Rolling Stones concert is going on next door. Overall, the algorithm is 80% accurate, according to SeatGeek co-founder Jack Groetzinger.

When I searched SeatGeek for this Sunday's Seattle Mariner's game against the Yankees, I was instructed to wait on buying cheap, medium priced, and expensive seats, as all three categories are predicted to decrease moderately in price. A search for Monday's LA Angels game against the Yankees predicted steady prices for cheap and medium priced seats, and a moderate decrease in expensive seats. SeatGeek also provided me with the option to receive an e-mail alert when prices hit rock bottom.

What if SeatGeek's is wrong about a prediction and a customer waits to buy tickets, only to find that prices have skyrocketed? The company plans to implement an optional insurance policy on its predictions—so if SeatGeek is wrong, they'll compensate accordingly.

SeatGeek's revenue plan is based on that optional insurance policy, along with an 8-10% cut of the purchase price on deals listed on the site and a future premium service for ticket brokers.

"There's so much antagonism towards Ticketmaster and other concert promoters," Groetzinger explained. "This is a tool to fight back."

The site is still limited in its scope, predicting only MLB games and select concerts, but eventually SeatGeek plans to expand into NFL games and more. It's a work in progress, to be sure—a search on SeatGeek for "the Yankees" came up blank, but "Yankees" yielded multiple results—but one that has the potential to make a dent in the ticket brokering industry.


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