Top football clubs are missing out on tens of thousands of pounds or euros at every home match due to so-called “no-show” ticket-holders.
However, Keyper chief executive and co-founder Andreas Kienbink believes his company has the answer.
The start-up, which launched through a partnership with Swiss football club FC Basel earlier this year, claims to solve the problem of unused seats by providing white label technology for secure and easy sharing and selling of tickets by connecting a club’s existing ticketing solution with a mobile platform.
According to Kienbink, who has worked in the ticketing industry for more than 20 years and is a former chief executive of JetTicket Software, Keyper gives clubs the opportunity to generate income that they otherwise would have lost through food, drink and merchandise sales, simply by filling an unused seat.
“Ten per cent of tickets that are sold for football matches in Germany are not used and I understand there can be as many as 2,000 season ticket seats left empty at Liverpool matches, for example,” Kienbink told TheStadiumBusiness.com at the recent TheStadiumBusiness Summit at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester.
“In Germany, each empty seat is worth about €10, depending on the club, and in the UK each seat is worth significantly more. Even for smaller clubs, the percentage of lost income is the same as the bigger clubs.
“A lot of money can be lost with empty seats, but we make it easy for fans to share tickets if they can’t make it to games.”
The service has been launched as an alternative to the controversial secondary ticketing market which, in the words of Kienbink, “takes money away from clubs”.
He added: “We know that secondary platforms exist because there is a high demand for certain events, but for 90 per cent of the time, that’s not the case.”
The early results from the partnership with FC Basel have been intriguing, with 60 per cent of the tickets given away as gifts with no money changing hands.
Moreover, nearly 80 per cent of the tickets are transferred to someone else either on the day of the game, or on the day before.
“Keyper provides a last-minute option,” Kienbink said. “There are even a few hundred tickets that are transferred in the two hours before the match.
“The process itself only take a minute and then you have the ticket on your phone.”
The implementation cost depends on the capacity of the stadium, but prices for a monthly licence fee start at between €2,000 and €3,000, with a “success fee” also due to Keyper per transaction.
Keyper clients can also benefit from a better understanding of their attendees, as Kienbink explains.
“Usually a person will buy an average of 2.5 tickets, but that means that clubs only have data about less than half of their fans,” he added.
“However, with Keyper, when you send tickets to someone, they have to register to receive them. This allows the club to gather new customer data and provide a more personalised service, attracting new fans in the process.”
Basel, the company’s first client, will secure a positive return on investment “within a few months” of implementation, Kienbink said.
Keyper has signed up Austria Vienna as a new client and talks are ongoing with a number of clubs in top football leagues and the US sports market.
“We want to focus on the most successful sports at the moment,” Kienbink concluded.