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Sunday, January 28, 2021

Everyone’s well used to it when booking an airline flight. Now, paperless ticketing is poised to transform the way seats are sold for sporting events, with Cleveland Cavaliers games serving as the testing ground.

Why the Cavs? They happen to have an inside connection to the e-ticket biz:

While some Major League Baseball teams have introduced electronic ticketing, the Cavaliers have taken it a step further, providing a completely paperless transaction. Nearly a third of their season-ticket holders use Flash Seats, [Cavs] owner Dan Gilbert’s online ticketing company.

The firm is looking to sell other professional teams on the concept, allowing them to cash in on the lucrative secondary ticket market. Teams have long been frustrated by the fact that they sell seats for the price listed on the ticket only to see scalpers outside the stadium get double and triple that figure.

“I hope to be in every league starting next fall,” said Flash Seats chief executive officer Sam Gerace, who would not say which teams have expressed interest.

The real genius of this development? It kills several birds with one stone:

1. The obvious: It makes the event-ticketing transaction more completely electronic, cutting down on paper.

2. It addresses the major issue of ticketbuyers giving away their tickets — something that’s fairly negligible in the airline business, but is a constant when it comes to sports season tickets. People buy into season ticket packages knowing they’ll give away some to friends and associates; for corporate accounts, the whole point is to give away tickets to guests. Observe:

“I love it,” said [Cavaliers season ticket holder] Lee Baskey, who won’t go back to paper tickets next season. “It’s a neat concept. When I first heard about it I had 8,000 questions.”

Baskey, who uses his tickets for both his family and customers in his insurance business, said his main concern was how easy it would be to transfer tickets. He said there’s been no glitches.

It would have been too easy, and shortsighted, for Flash Seats to have made their e-tickets nontransferable, thus sinking the concept instantly. But they accounted for it, and make it as easy as sending an email to the person receiving the gift ticket (I wonder if the guest has to register with Flash Seats to complete the transfer; that’d be a pain, but then again, I can’t think of a better incentive to go through with a laborious registration process than getting gameday tickets!).

3. It comes with a controlled ticket-selling exchange marketplace, where season ticketholders can sell individual game e-tickets to others, with Flash Seats taking a 20 percent cut. This freezes out traditional ticket brokers and scalpers — at least until they figure out how to infiltrate it. It also makes eBay’s recent $310 million purchase of StubHub look like a dead-end proposition, since the e-ticketing system would put entire process into the teams’ hands.

The fit with sports, especially for extended schedules like those in the NBA, NHL and MLB, is a natural for e-ticketing. I wonder how bumpy the process would be for one-time-only event, like concerts. Indeed, that’s an area that can be addressed when they start offering e-tickets for single-game sales.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/28/2007 09:10:08 PM
Category: Tech, Basketball, SportsBiz | Permalink |

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