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Volume 22 No. 49
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Forty Under 40: Russ D’Souza

Photo: courtesy of seatgeek
Photo: courtesy of seatgeek
Photo: courtesy of seatgeek

For much of SeatGeek’s existence, the company has been an upstart player looking to challenge the ticketing industry’s status quo. 

Co-Founder, SeatGeek

Age: 34

Born: New Jersey

Education: Dartmouth College, B.A., history

Family: Fiancee, Lola Cooper

You wish you knew 10 years ago: That SeatGeek would be around today (this is our 10-year anniversary!). Technology companies are easier to create than ever before, but few have staying power. 

Profession you’d most like to attempt: I’ve always thought it’d be great to be an NFL punter. There’s no pressure (unlike a field goal kicker) and you get to be in the NFL with no chance of injury!

Something your friends would consider “so you”: I run my life through Asana (work management software). My fiancee has realized that the easiest way to get me to do something is to not even tell me about it but just to create an Asana task and assign me. She’s hacked me!

Ideal day off: There’s truly nothing better than the atmosphere of a major fight in Vegas. If I could go anywhere, I’d be there in a heartbeat.

In 2018, the company and co-founder Russ D’Souza made a major transition to place themselves as a trusted partner to some of the sports industry’s largest leagues and teams. SeatGeek began primary ticketing for the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, the company’s first clients in the NFL and NBA, respectively, and also started building off its existing primary ticketing base in soccer. Industry giant StubHub was later folded into the Pelicans’ portion of those efforts.

SeatGeek made two other deals that significantly expanded its presence in football: a primary ticketing agreement with the Dallas Cowboys; and a five-year deal with the NFL that integrates the company directly into the league’s new open ticketing platform that also includes Ticketmaster and StubHub. 

The company, under D’Souza’s guidance, then followed up all that activity by striking a deal to put its name on the Chicago Fire’s home stadium in Bridgeview, Ill., marking the company’s first major, consumer-facing naming-rights partnership.

“We’ve been rather blown away by how much and how fast the industry has changed around us,” D’Souza said. “But we went into this with the goal and mission that ticketing should be more open, and that hasn’t changed. There’s still so much more we can do as we think about how the ticket can become a passport for the entire fan experience. The opportunities are expanding, but that core focus remains the same.”