Q&A: Seat Unique’s Richard Flint on the future of premium ticketing

Seat Unique Chair Richard Flint discusses the burgeoning premium live experiences market and the pivotal role that the operator has to play in opening up access to it...

Premium ticketing platform Seat Unique has gone from strength to strength in recent years, capitalising on the booming experience economy and providing fans and rightsholders alike with a democratised, trusted platform to buy and sell the very best tickets to the very best live events. was delighted to have the opportunity to sit down with Seat Unique’s Chair, Richard Flint, the former CEO of Sky Bet, to get his thoughts on the rise in premium live and the pivotal role Seat Unique is playing within it…

Tell us about your background and how you first became involved with Seat Unique.

Richard Flint: “Before Seat Unique, I ran Sky Bet in Leeds for around 15 years, eventually selling to a big global player for $4.7bn. Despite the headline grabbing numbers, some of the best moments of my career were in the early stages of business when we were building our company, shaping the model, hiring the people and setting the culture for future growth.

“I wanted to find a company that was in that stage, that excited me, and at the same time could benefit from my experience in going from startup to global organisation. I was introduced to the founder of Seat Unique, Robin, through a mutual friend and as a huge fan of live experiences myself, and having had multiple first-hand difficulties in accessing premium live events, I immediately saw the problem and believed in Seat Unique’s approach to solving it.”

What is your take on the rise of premium ticketing – what is driving it and how has it come about?

RF: “For me, the emergence of premium ticketing has been driven by consumer demand. Many people are tired of having more and more ‘stuff’ and are placing a greater value on experiences over material possessions. And I’m not surprised – experiences provoke emotion, connection and memories which are truly unique and lifelong. When I look back on say the last year, many of my best memories are live events that I have been to with friends and family. Rightsholders – by which I mean event organisers who control how the tickets are sold – have recognised this shift and responded by offering fans with access to improved seating, better viewing and unique experiences to make the event even more special. And in doing so, venues have been able to connect both with fans seeking a better experience, as well as a broader audience that might be more price conscious.”

Seat Unique's Richard Flint
Seat Unique’s Richard Flint

Seat Unique’s targeted focus

How does Seat Unique fit into this landscape and what role does it have to play in the future of premium ticketing?

RF: “One of the first things that attracted me to Seat Unique, and what I believe is one of their key strengths, is their targeted focus on the premium ticketing sector and their product and fan-led approach. The needs and expectations of both fans and rightsholders in this sector can be very different to general ticketing, and have traditionally been underserved through offline, archaic sales methods.

“Seat Unique have been able to bridge the gap between general admission and ‘corporate hospitality’, and have very quickly become the leading provider of premium tickets and fan experiences in the UK. The platform is both a destination for the modern, digital consumer seeking exclusive experiences as well as an enterprise product for sports clubs, venue operators and rightsholders looking to reach new audiences, optimise their revenue streams and manage their premium inventory.

“By delivering this service as a primary channel (as opposed to a secondary market) all of the tickets are sold with the express permission of the rightsholder, which means that fans know they are legitimate, and rightsholders know that they can control availability and pricing, if they choose to do so.”

How do you envisage Seat Unique’s growth trajectory within the growing experience economy?

RF: “The UK has always held a significant position within the global live entertainment sector, boasting a rich history of iconic venues, world-class performers, and an incredibly passionate fanbase. I think it’s important we continue to innovate and invest in our live entertainment sector to ensure we can continue to provide world class events and the most memorable live experiences.

“I see the role of technology, in connecting artists with fans, and elevating the fan experience, as being vital to this, and Seat Unique have the opportunity to play a big part here. We have benefited hugely from our unique positioning as a trusted, premium provider, with over 300,000 fans now browsing the platform each month, and over 60 exclusive partners providing access to premium live events, the flywheel is well and truly spinning and the opportunity ahead is really huge.

“What is most exciting about our current period of growth is how many fans are coming back to Seat Unique time and time again to discover their next live event. It is proof of the product and validation of the offering. This focus on the fan, the fan experience, and the product is exactly how I saw the digitalisation of the betting industry explode, and I think by operating in this way, Seat Unique are perfectly poised to take a big share of what is a massive market.”