Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Introducing Crowd Seats, the Groupon of Sports Tickets

Introducing Crowd Seats, the Groupon of Sports TicketsName of your company and URL?
Crowd Seats – http://www.crowdseats.com

Date started?

4/1/11

What is your product or service?
Crowd Seats is the first and only Daily Deals Site for Sports Tickets, offering discounts of 50-90% off the best tickets in your town.

Why did you start your company?

I started Crowd Seats to create a new medium for sports teams to generate revenue on distressed/last-minute inventory. 25-35% of all sports tickets go unsold. Crowd Seats enables teams to not only generate revenue from the ticket sale, but also from additional per cap spending in the form of parking, concessions, souvenirs, etc. $20 parking, $8 beers, and $7 hot dogs add up quick! Teams have an incentive to discount their distressed and last minute inventory. First, sports ticket inventory is perishable – if you don’t sell it, you lose it. If a team has 1000 tickets left over for a Friday night game, come Saturday, that inventory is worthless. Furthermore, for each ticket sold, the sports team can expect additional per cap revenue in the form of parking, concessions, souvenirs, etc. This is all at no cost to the teams – all they need to do is allocate some of their distressed/last minute inventory and watch the revenue come in.

Apart from revenues, teams will also benefit from working with Crowd Seats in intangible ways. Having more butts in seats creates a better home field environment for both the team and it’s fans. Sponsors are also happier as they’re getting more eyes on their signage in stadium. The intangibles continue as having a full stadiums looks a lot better on TV than seeing empty seats – it creates a sense of demand for the game that is lacking when tons of seats are open.

Crowd Seats differentiates itself from the bigger Daily Deal Sites, such as Groupon and Living Social, by focusing on a single niche – sports tickets. When someone comes to Crowd Seats, they sign up because they want sports tickets at big discounts. This is very different from Groupon, Living Social, and the like in that they have catch all lists with deals ranging from cupcakes to skydiving experiences. Crowd Seats is thus able to provide a higher quality lead to teams, with a higher affinity to turn into a repeat customer, season plan holder, or even season ticket holder.

Crowd Seats was built to meet the needs of the sports organization. Sports Teams’ Sales Departments should take advantage of Crowd Seats as an extended resource to their sales efforts. By integrating last minute discounts into their marketing plans, teams can count on a significant amount of revenue that would have otherwise been lost.

How was it financed ?

Completely self-financed. I’m a developer/designer so I was able to keep my startup costs low.

Date officially launched?
7/1/11

What free online or offline tools do you use?

Social Media Marketing via Twitter, Facebook. Hootsuite to manage those networks.

Do you use Social Media tools like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn or ? Provide exact URL of each

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/crowdseats

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/crowdseats

Blog: http://www.crowdseats.com/blog

YouTube – Do you have a YouTube video URL that you can share with us, and allow us to publish with your story (Actual video our readers should watch within the story, looks something like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JryvKNIbdA)

Sorry, I do not. One is in the works!

How many people are currently working, including employees (freelancers or independent contractors for specific projects)?
1 Person – just me!

What is the best advice you never got?
Radio and Online do not mix – don’t advertise on radio. We launched with a large push from a sports radio station in Los Angeles, but the return was really, really poor.

What almost killed your business in the start?
Nothing yet

What is the one thing that you did right?

Created an interesting story that was easily pitchable to the sports and tech media

What was the biggest transition you had to make (i.e. new skill set, habits, abilities, focus)?

As a solo-entrepreneur, I have to wear many hats on a single day so being able to efficiently jump from task to task was a skill I needed to develop ASAP

Are you currently in the black or red?

Crowd Seats is only a few months old and is in the red. Our largest expenses are customer acquisition, but we’re spending more than 3x less per signup than Groupon is, and we’re strictly focusing on the sports niche.

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?
Offline: Street Team Marketing at local sporting events

Online: Facebook, Twitter, targeted media buys on sports blogs

What would make your business more “Successful”?

Getting the word out so more people learn about Crowd Seats and sign up for our awesome deals.

Would you want to be acquired by a bigger company, run it yourself or sell in a couple of years?

I think Crowd Seats would be an attractive buyout for both Daily Deal Sites and Sports Media Platforms.

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