Looking At Long-Term Changes The Pandemic Will Bring To Ticketing
Eventellect co-Founder Patrick Ryan believes a key long-term legacy of the pandemic on ticketing will be the “repurposing of seating as well as venues in general.” Ryan, speaking during the first day of the AXS Sports Facilities & Franchises and Ticketing Symposium yesterday, said being away from live games for so long likely will prompt fans to “look with a more critical eye” toward return on their ticketing investment. He explained: "There's going to be a lot of people that are just saying, 'Why am I sitting in the upper deck? It's not a viable product for me.'" To fill that void, Ryan said that sponsors could purchase chunks of ticket inventory and distribute them to their customers. He pointed to sportsbooks as likely first movers: “Could we see the upper decks become basically owned by sportsbooks? If you place a bet on the game, you get a free ticket, and that's so easy to execute digitally now."
WHEN WILL FANS RETURN? Gametime Founder & CEO Brad Griffith is confident sports will reach a “new normal of a lot of fans back in the stadium” sometime in Q2 of '21, based on his company’s current projections, which see a vaccine being approved by the end of this year and distributed early next year. Ryan also indicated that current industry consensus favors a Q2 return of fans en masse to sporting events and concerts. In any case, Griffith said teams, venues and ticket partners will all have to innovate to ensure fans “have a better time at the event” and “feel like they’re part of the action.”
*Griffith, on the shift to all-digital ticketing helping to rebuild trust between sellers and consumers: “I think that we're going to get to a much more healthy ecosystem of everyone being more aligned around what those terms and conditions of a ticket and the rebate and refund policy should be.”
*Griffith, on Gametime’s new Ticket Coverage policies, which allow fans to obtain a full refund in certain cases: “If we can make fans more confident in buying, they'll buy more tickets.”