Los Angeles-based ScoreBig, which provides a marketplace for unsold ticket inventory, has been growing like a weed. Coming off a year in which it saw revenue soar by more than 600 percent and in which it was named one of Billboard Magazine’s 10 Most Innovative Startups, the company today is announcing several additions to its senior leadership team.
ScoreBig has named former Warner Music Group SVP of Worldwide Artist Services, David Marcus, as its new SVP of Partnerships. Marcus also has prior experience in the ticketing world, having previously served as SVP of Music at Ticketmaster. Joining Marcus at the company is former Sidebar CTO Eric Wilson, who will become ScoreBig’s VP of Technology and Product. The senior software engineer was formerly CTO of GoTV Networks and a founding member and VP of Infrastructure at JAMDAT Mobile (acquired by EA), and before that a founding engineer at Citysearch.
Four-year-old ScoreBig is unique in the ticketing space in that it offers Priceline-style “Name Your Own Price” reverse auctions for live entertainment events like sporting events, concerts, and the theater. The company works directly with teams in every major professional and college sports league and also venue owners and with ticket vendors, such as TicketMob. Due to its price opacity, and the fact that the buyer typically does not know the nature of the seller, league, team, and venue owners typically view ScoreBig’s marketplace as a welcome alternative to brand tarnishing daily deal platforms and other traditional discounters. This is a problem that ScoreBig co-founder and CEO Adam Kanner understands acutely, having previously served as VP of Relationship Marketing and Business Development for the NBA
Live entertainment is a $20 billion-a-year industry. Given the fact that 40 percent of live event tickets nationwide go unsold each year – a number that, if anything, is increasing – there’s no shortage of supply-side demand for ScoreBig’s service. There are typically more than one million tickets available on the site at any time. Earlier this year, ScoreBig dramatically increased its reach among consumers by launching its Loyalty Rewards Platform and signing a marquee partnership to become the official live entertainment ticketing partner of the United Airlines MileagePlus program.
For consumers, the site is an opportunity to get access to the best events at otherwise unheard of pricing. Traditionally, consumers who want to attend an event last minute turn to StubHub (owned by eBay) or Craigslist, in most cases paying close to or even above face value for a desirable event. ScoreBig typically offers between 10 to 60 percent off of face value, even to premium events like Lakers games (although, not when the Celtics or Heat are in town). In addition to its Web marketplace, ScoreBig also offers the ScoreBig Daily iOS app which alerts residents of major cities across the US to deals related to the three to six “best performances” taking place that evening in their city.
“[ScoreBig is] solving the live entertainment industry’s biggest challenge in an extremely innovative way and, in the process, are building a market-transforming company,” Marcus says about his new employer. Wilson similarly described the company as, “transforming an industry and defining a new, massive market.”
ScoreBig has raised a total of $31.5 million across four rounds of financing, the most recent being a $10 million partial close of its ongoing $20 million financing in April. The company is backed by Bain Capital, U.S. Venture Partners, and other individuals.
Today, the company further solidified its already impressive senior team with the addition of Marcus and Wilson. ScoreBig also recently named former Madison Square Garden Sports President Scott O’Neil to its advisory board. O’Neil joins San Francisco 49ers President and former Facebook and YouTube CFO Gideon Yu and former Viacom and CBS Corp Vice Chairman Shari Redstone.
Ticketing is a highly lucrative, and thus highly competitive space. But the market has stratified into three basic segments, with leaders emerging in each. Ticketmaster is the undisputed king of the hill when it comes to original inventory to the world’s most popular events. StubHub has become the go to marketplace for both individuals and mass ticket brokers to resell near-full-priced inventory.
But ScoreBig has found an entirely different niche in the market by working instead with teams and venue owners. These sellers are often more sensitive about maintaining their brand prestige, than they are about maximizing the sales price and sell-through rate of their last-minute tickets. In that way the site becomes a win-win for the buyer and the seller. The only downside of this model is that the site is unlikely to get access to the ultra-premium tickets like those to the Super Bowl, World Series, or even to premium rivalry games like Red Sox vs. Yankees and Lakers vs. Celtics.
Nonetheless, there will always be demand from sellers for alternative ways to liquidate excess ticket inventory, and from buyers to get access to premium events at affordable pricing. ScoreBig’s biggest challenge has always been increasing its brand awareness among consumers. Given its recent revenue growth, it would appear that is becoming less of an issue.
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