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Kate Rosow Chrisman

How ScoreBig is doubling revenue by filling empty seats at sports games

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A little over four years ago, Hollywood-based ScoreBig seized the opportunity to bring ticket prices down in a manner that both consumers and entertainers would go for. Up until this point, the 60-person team has been doing this mainly with sports tickets - and has seen phenomenal growth: last year they doubled revenue. They expect to do the same again this year through a “radical expansion” of its offerings to include theater and concert tickets by the end of second quarter.

In a sense, the service ScoreBig provides is as much about discretion in discount pricing as it is about selling tickets. Sports teams, rockstars and theater troupes just don’t want to be seen as liquidating their tickets at low prices, even if it pulls in more revenue. And consumers often find prices are too high for live events; almost half of US adults don’t see a single live event in a given year, despite the hundreds of thousands of tickets that go unsold for sporting events, concerts and live theater. That's millions of dollars in revenue going unclaimed every year.

ScoreBig's service for customers is simple: provide sports fans, concertgoers and theater buffs with discounted tickets. For the entertainer, ScoreBig helps them sell the 40 percent of tickets that would normally go unsold. That’s right, 40 percent. And we aren’t just talking about minor league baseball tickets or a band you’ve never heard of; ScoreBig had tickets for every playoff game for major league baseball last year except the World Series, said head of marketing Peter Sinclair.

ScoreBig uses the Priceline approach: would-be concertgoers enter in a price they are willing to pay on the website after seeing the retail prices. Tickets are ranked from one to five stars, with one being nosebleeds and five being in spitting distance of the action. ScoreBig gives an instant response to whether the offer is accepted. The minimum discount is 10 percent, said Sinclair. This is one way they differentiate themselves from brokers or scalpers, who hike prices above face value for popular events.

This model of selling works for all three parties; for the entertainer, it allows them to sell the extra tickets at a discount in an opaque way. For the buyer, it makes tickets more affordable. And for connecting buyer and seller, ScoreBig takes a cut.

While the company sells tickets nationwide, they have a larger presence in major metropolitans areas, especially those with large sports teams. Their typical client is married and between 30-45 years old. They are more likely than the average American to have kids. Their core customer is buying three or four star tickets for two star prices, said Sinclair.

ScoreBig is “opportunistically hiring” this year, said Sinclair and is working heavily on brand awareness.

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