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Kicking Off the Future of Ticketing with Major League Soccer

In July, we outlined a fundamental problem with the ticket industry. In a word, the ticket industry is closed. It should be open. Industry leaders loved our post, but they questioned “so what are you going to do about it?” We’re proud to announce a partnership with Major League Soccer and a radically open ticketing system for soccer fans.

Our partner, MLS, is a young league. In fact, MLS celebrated its 20th birthday this year. With an unrelenting focus on the fan, MLS is now the ascendant sports league. We see this in our data. MLS sales are quadrupling year over year with the highest rates of mobile utilization and last-minute purchasing of any league. To accelerate their rapid growth, MLS needed a novel approach to ticketing, one that focused squarely on the fan.

MLS has a young, mobile-focused fan, the type of audience that other leagues covet. Soccer fans spend time in dozens of mobile apps: from e-commerce sites like SeatGeek, Uber, and AirBnb to social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitter. We are building a new type of ticket distribution, one that will empower dozens of sites and apps to sell tickets on behalf of a team. The premise is simple – put the tickets where the fans are.

Fans won’t have to wait long. Through a partnership with TopTix, we will be powering Sporting Kansas City in 2017 with our new, radically open platform. SKC’s tickets will be listed on dozens of existing and emerging ticketing and non-ticketing platforms. SeatGeek users will have access to secondary and primary tickets for Sporting Kansas City. Users will be able to purchase tickets in a few taps, and if they cannot make an event, re-selling tickets is dead simple using SeatGeek Marketplace.

Our ticketing service will revolutionize how Sporting Kansas City (and other teams) run their business. Rather than relying exclusively on their marketing to drive sales, SKC can put inventory in the hands of other companies, elevating their brand via new channels. Even more, SKC will better understand which fans are attending their games by gathering purchase data from dozens of sources their tickets sell on. Sporting Kansas City is an undisputed leader in technology and innovation. They immediately understood the power of open distribution, and we couldn’t be more excited to launch with them.

1996 – the year of the first MLS game – also marks another noteworthy event in our industry’s history. Ticketmaster sold its first ticket over the Internet. Yet, the Internet’s great promise of openness never affected the ticketing industry the way it transformed other industries. Innovation and change stagnated. Twenty years later, SeatGeek and Major League Soccer will have a chance to rewrite a new future, one that gives unprecedented control to rightsholders and access to fans.

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