CrowdSeats looking to use model based on the Groupon site to sell sports tickets
A young sports marketing entrepreneuer has launched CrowdSeats, a “daily deals” website offering sports tickets at discounts of 50-90% off their face value. Justin Cener, a 23-year-old Rutgers graduate and founder of CrowdSeats, has invested $5,000 to date to develop a model based on the hugely successful Groupon discount site. Cener built the prototype and at this point the new venture is a “100% solo startup,” he said. CrowdSeats has no deals with major league teams but Cener has had initial talks with the Dodgers and MLS Galaxy about partnering with the daily deals site. Officials with those two teams want to see CrowdSeats build a substantial subscriber base before signing agreements, Cener said. At this point, CrowdSeats has about 275 subscribers in L.A., N.Y., Chicago, S.F. and Boston, the five markets the new business is initially focusing on for offering deep discounts on sports tickets. CrowdSeats is pitching a business model where teams would in general keep 60% of the revenue from tickets sold on the site and Cener would collect the remaining 40%. To get teams on board, their take could start at 80%, he said. Groupon’s half-off ticket deals with major league teams and colleges typically split revenue 50-50, although some teams do keep up to 70% of the revenue. “I need to build numbers in the long run and my plan is to be flexible enough on pricing at the start,” Cener said. “The revenue splits will vary deal by deal.” After registering online at www.crowdseats.com, subscribers receive daily e-mails for discounted tickets for sports events. Clicking on the e-mail takes the subscriber through the process for submitting billing information and ordering tickets. The individual then receives a second e-mail informing them when they can print a voucher to submit to the box office in exchange for their ticket. A photo ID is required to claim the ticket.