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Tuesday, November 14, 2006 

Ticketing "Pre-Sales"

As I’m stuck on another plane, I figured I’d take a few minutes to discuss how the SuperOyster platform is being evangelized to our first market – sports ticketing.  

In the past, there has really only been 2 main ticketing sales categories, primary and secondary. These terms can be applied to most types of seats, regardless of location. “Primary ticket sales” is a term applied to tickets which are sold by a sports team or promoter directly to the fans. The sales intervals can be annual (season tickets) or individual (per event), and each sport entity will impose rules regarding how fans can access these tickets. Ticketmaster and other groups usually mediate these sales, for which they charge a processing fee.

“Secondary ticket sales” occur when tickets are sold for a “second” time between two parties. The tickets were originally purchased by an individual thru the sports team and then resold to another individual, sometimes for a profit. Some people also refer to this as scalping, and many states have laws which regulate how these tickets can be resold. There are thousands of legit ticket resellers (or ticket brokers as they are known in the industry) and plenty of not-so-legit sellers. There are at least 6 different software services which can help these brokers find and resell tickets – the most prominent one available is from TicketsNow.  

A sub category of ticket brokers has recently been born, which I’ll refer to as “sponsored” secondary ticket brokers.  These are resellers who are sponsored by a sports team, whereas a marketing agreement has been signed between the broker and the team.  The team directs its fans to use a specific secondary ticket broker in return for a small percentage of the revenue. There are many benefits to all parties in one of these transactions -- guaranteed sales, new revenue, controlled inventory, etc. The most prominent players in this category are StubHub, TicketsNow, and RazorGator. Ticketmaster recently announced that they are targeting this area as well, but they are very distant fourth.

The SuperOyster platform disrupts this playing field by establishing a new market for “pre-sales”. We work with teams who have such huge fan demand, that people are queuing up for access to the primary ticket sales. Many teams have waiting lists for tickets today and it’s expected that many more teams will have waiting lists in the future. We can take that “pre-sales” demand and turn it into a marketplace that harnesses the power of the internet to build hype around primary ticket sales.  As is mentioned on our website, we also participate in revenue sharing with the sports team, so that both teams and fans can benefit.  

There is another company Ticketcity.com that is also a player in this market space. They have done sponsorship deals with the Kentucky Derby and Playboy. They also have a softwhere called www.realtimeticketing.com

Interesting. I looked at realtimeticketing.com, but they don't advertise how they'd deal with waiting lists. Remember, we are essentially selling time, not tickets. Hence the reason why it's called the "pre-sales market".

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