New tech platform IdealSeat saw revenue increase tenfold in its inaugural year as it helped baseball fans catch tickets to the best seats in the house.
The company, which specialises in finding the ideal seat depending on fans’ personal needs, was originally formulated back in 2011 as a tool that could help identify the area in a stand where a rogue baseball was most likely to land. Major League Baseball (MLB) spectators are allowed to keep balls that fly out of the playing area, and Seattle-based startup IdealSeat created a fan intelligence platform that identifies the positions where they are most likely to snatch a homer or foul ball at major North American stadia.
Founder Joel Carben told the Galvanize tech startup news website that the idea came to him at a Seattle Mariners game six years ago. He created a five-person data collection company that has since gathered and distilled millions of data points from stadiums across the MLB.
After attracting investment in 2014, the company expanded its service to also take into account other key criteria for seat position, such as proximity to concessions or restrooms.
It became available as a B2B service last year, with ticket operators overlaying it onto their platform, and garnered more than 150,000 engagements.
“There was a real pain point around the ticketing and fan experience,” Carben told Galvanize. “When you buy a ticket to a sporting event, you’re not just paying for the opportunity to watch your favourite team. You’re buying an experience. But it was really difficult to get the experience you wanted.”
According to Carben, fans will pay an average of 40 per cent over fixed ticket value to get the seat that suits their needs.
The company’s platform is now being actively used for MLB and NFL American football, with plans to expand to NBA basketball, music and live entertainment.