ChairNerd

Code, Design & Growth at SeatGeek

Introducing Absolute Deal Score

Deal Score

Among all of SeatGeek’s features, we have always been proudest of Deal Score, our metric that enables users to seamlessly pick out the best deal for an event from within thousands of ticket listings.  But today that feature is getting a whole lot cooler. We’re launching Absolute Deal Score, an upgrade that has been under development for many months here at SeatGeek.

For the uninitiated, the premise behind Deal Score is simple: Deal Score is a rating of whether a ticket is a bargain or a rip-off, which facilitates apples-to-apples comparisons among ticket listings.  A metric like Deal Score is particularly useful for live event tickets because every seat in a venue is different.  If you’re shopping online for batteries, you can sort your options by price and expect the cheapest options will include the good bargains.  But if you’re shopping for Yankees tickets and you sort by price, the cheapest options tend to be a bunch of nosebleed seats.  Deal Score offers a better way to identify good buys.

As initially designed, Deal Score compared the relative value of a ticket listing to that of all others listed in the venue for that one given event. The worst deal for every event was given a Deal Score of 0, the best deal was given a Score of 100, and everything else was filled in between those two numbers.  But as we thought about how best to surface values in the ticket marketplace, we came to the realization that anchoring value against just a single game wasn’t going far enough.

Today, we’re excited to announce a major overhaul of our Deal Score algorithm–one that not only identifies the best ticket deals within a given event, but also how those individual deals comparatively stack up against all tickets for similar events (for example, how a listing for a single Yankees ticket stacks up against those for all other Yankees games this season).   Listings are no longer anchored at 0 and 100 for every event but, rather, 0 is anchored to the absolute worst deal for all events on SeatGeek, and 100 is anchored to the best deal among all events.

Deal Score 2

SeatGeek’s head of R&D, Steve Ritter, spoke in great detail about the math and approach behind Deal Score in a two-part blogpost series back in May but, in brief, the algorithm assesses the listed price of a ticket against our estimated market value of that ticket (based on historical prices, row/section position and other factors).  As we thought about ways to build on the solid foundation of Deal Score, we realized that our Deal Score methodology could be applied across a broad series of similar events, such as a full season of NBA games or a multi-month run of a Broadway show. We’ve been testing this live on SeatGeek for the past few weeks, so you may have already noticed some changes.  As a user, this update has a some meaningful benefits:

  • Deal Scores are now comparable across all events, not just against ticket listings within a single game or concert, as was the case previously. For example, if you compare a 93 deal score for a November 2012 Knicks game against a 85 deal score for a different game at MSG 3 months later, you’ll know that the November ticket is without question a better value–a distinction that couldn’t previously be made.
  • Absolute Deal Score still surfaces the best ticket deals within a single event, just as the previous iteration of Deal Score. The only difference is that scores aren’t anchored to a relative distribution as before. The top 10 deals you see on any event page are still the best ticket deals available that evening, just as was the case previously.
  • You may see fewer “100” deal scores on event pages, but the highest Deal Scores now truly represent exceptional values for that event type. This doesn’t mean that ticket labeled with even a 50 or 60 Deal Score is a poor value–indeed, any ticket with a DS above 50 ranks in the upper 20% of all deals on site. But we felt it important to define far better gradations between above average deals and purely outstanding deals, and to do so across the widest body of comparable ticket listings.

We’re excited about this update and how it will change the experience of shopping on SeatGeek. We’d love to hear what you think! As always, drop us a line at hi@seatgeek.com.

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