Can’t Afford the Big Game? ScoreBig was Made for You
In a world with too many fees and not enough trust, ScoreBig offers a welcomed reprieve. The website allows the casual fan to pay deep discount prices for sporting or event tickets, but also alleviates the concerns of unfairness to season ticket holders or other individuals who paid face value for similar tickets.
Adam Kanner (HBS 1998), Founder and CEO of ScoreBig, is no stranger to entrepreneurship. After he graduated from HBS, Kanner gave himself six months to get his first start-up, edu.com, an e-commerce and marketing service targeting the higher education marketplace, off the ground. Kanner secured funding in four months. After four years, with $38M in funding and 180 employees under his command, he sold the company and went looking for his next venture.
A few years, and few successful ventures later, Kanner became head of the NBA’s direct marketing and affinity programs, where he took on the responsibility of solving the problem of how to sell tickets for below-market prices without upsetting individuals who had already paid full price. Kanner explained, “More than 75% of ticket revenue is driven by season ticket sales. In exchange for selling a couple of thousand tickets, do you jeopardize the core of your revenue stream?”
Kanner kept walking away with the same problem that he felt “every other retail industry has figured [out].” Kanner continued, “The value channel: outlet malls, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Rue La La, etc…I know there will be deals, but my expectation isn’t the same” as it would be at a regular retail store. Faced with how to solve the problem within the arena of live entertainment, Kanner realized that an opaque model similar to the one used by travel giants like Priceline was an ideal solution.
According to Kanner, within the ticket industry, two channels currently exist. The first market is the primary retail market like Ticketmaster and team websites, which feature the widest selection of seats for full price. There is also the secondary market, like StubHub, with a wide selection of seats for a premium price. Kanner discovered that neither of these markets serviced the casual fan, for whom face value was just too expensive. This is where ScoreBig comes in.
ScoreBig works as a bidding system, in which individuals can bid on a particular quality of seat. The seating options available are divided into a range of one to five starts, five being the best. The website indicated where the five star tickets are in the stadium or theater versus the three star tickets so buyers get an idea of where they will be sitting. However, since individuals bid on seat quality rather than a specific seat, they have to be willing to be more flexible than traditional ticket purchasers. A user gets one bid per seat quality per day, and the website provides information about how much the tickets usually cost, and about how much the ticket is discounted.
Kanner explains that there are four things the consumer never sees. First the user does not know the floor price of the ticket. The pricing is based on a dynamic structure, which attempts to force the consumer to really pay what a particular ticket is worth to them. Secondly, the user never knows how many tickets are available. ScoreBig could have 100 or 2, but the bidding system looks exactly the same either way. Third, users cannot pick an exact seat, but do get to decide what section to be in using the star system. Finally, the source of the ticket is never revealed, whether it is the venue, leading brokers, or companies that have excess tickets through sponsorship deals.
So, what makes ScoreBig so different from places like StubHub or Ticketmaster? The tickets are discounted off of their regular market value up to 70%. There are no fees, at all, ever. Even shipping is free. Every ticket sold by ScoreBig is guaranteed to be a real ticket, so consumers never have to worry that they’ve been scammed. In addition, because of the nature of the bidding system, a consumer never pays more than he or she thinks the tickets are actually worth.
ScoreBig is still in beta and currently a member only site, but if you would like to skip the line and join today you may do so using the invite code: Harbus