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SeatGeek CEO and Co-Founder Jack Groetzinger joins Yahoo Finance to discuss the company’s SPAC deal, the partnerships SeatGeek has been able to form, and the future of sports betting on the platform.
BRIAN SOZZI: Seatgeek has agreed to go public in a new SPAC transaction with RedBall Acquisition Corp, which is backed by longtime baseball exec, Billy Beane, and former Goldman Sachs banker, Gerald Cardinale. The deal values the digital ticketing platform at $1.35 billion. Jack Groetzinger is SeatGeek's co-founder and CEO and joins us now. Jack, good to see you here. Lots of competition in this space. What sets you guys apart?
JACK GROETZINGER: You know, stepping back, we started SeatGeek because we're huge believers in the power of live events. And yet, a lot of the legacy experiences out there have made it really painful to get a ticket. Hidden fees, there's a lack of transparency. You have to buy things way in advance, and you can't return them.
So SeatGeek ultimately solves those problems. We make it dead simple for a fan to quickly get a great deal on their phone. And what's really unique about us is that we're not just a consumer app, we're also vertically integrated back to the box office, back to Enterprise software that we build for teams and venues. And it's that full stack approach that allows us to just deliver a really seamless experience.
BRIAN SOZZI: Jack, hang with me. I'm going to jump around a little bit here. I really like this part of your presentation on this investor deck where you're talking about the future of your company, looking at potential blockchain ticketing, biometric identity for ticketing, machine learning pricing-- I would assume that means just pricing costs more to sell tickets when demand is high-- and then other live event experiences. Where are you at with each of these in terms of rolling them out?
JACK GROETZINGER: Yeah, we are fundamentally a technology company. We use software to try to make this industry better. And each of those areas, I think, are really compelling places for growth in live entertainment. It's our job to figure out where can we invest after this transaction to get more fans to events to allow our clients to be more successful.
I'll give you one example. Something related to that that we did during COVID, we built a product called Rally that we shipped, which is all about after you scan in with SeatGeek, how can you buy food and beer in the venue? How can you upgrade your seat? It was a way to sort of extend the SeatGeek experience and ultimately unlock more experiences for folks using SeatGeek.
BRIAN CHEUNG: Hey, Brian Cheung here. I want to ask about why you ultimately decide to go through a SPAC route. So we know that you have plans on scaling up the company, given some of the technology that you just highlighted there. But why did you ultimately decide to team up with RedBall Acquisition here on this, as opposed to maybe going through other avenues of getting publicly listed? And what do you ultimately hope that will accomplish for your company in the near term?
JACK GROETZINGER: Honestly, it had a lot to do with RedBird itself and them just seeming like perfect partners, as we got to know them. They've got a deep history building in, investing in live entertainment technology companies, other entertainment companies. And unlike the IPO where you don't have a sponsor that's closely tied to you, it felt like the ideal way for us to go public with someone that would be a great partner. It brought not just capital, but a lot of expertise and experience as well.
JULIE HYMAN: Hey, Jack, it's Julie. I'm here. When you're looking at this sort of integrated offering that you're talking about, as Brian mentioned a little bit earlier, there is a lot of competition in this space. I mean, Ticketmaster is the obvious giant, really, out there. What's your market share now in this sort of bread and butter ticketing? And what do you-- what's the goal to get to?
JACK GROETZINGER: Yeah, so we, relevant to that, made a bit of a scary decision during COVID, where we entered COVID in the high single digit market share, and rather than pulling back and cutting a ton of headcount, we raised around, and we actually doubled down during COVID, all with an eye towards gaining market share on the other side of this. So that meant hiring, that meant continuing to sign clients, that meant really investing in our technology. And as a result, as we now come out of COVID, we've got about 6% more market share than we had coming into it, so right around 12%.
BRIAN CHEUNG: Now, by the way, I am a Nets season ticket holder, so very much looking forward to SeatGeek now being the main platform this year. But what does that look like when you're negotiating with these teams on being the main platform? Because there are a lot of them out there, a lot of competitors in this space, a lot of kind of differentiation in terms of the ease to resell tickets, the ease the download the tickets. How do you make sure that you're the top dog when you're negotiating with these teams, like the Brooklyn Nets, in terms of being their main partner here?
JACK GROETZINGER: Delighted to hear that you're a Nets season ticket holder and looking forward to your feedback throughout the season. We're thrilled to be working with the Nets. And when we talk to the Nets and other teams, you know, like I mentioned, we are a technology company. What sets us apart is our ability to give fans an incredible experience and allow teams and venues to run their businesses better. So when you look at-- there's a metric called net promoter score that folks will often look to, to see how happy fans are with a given product.
The NPS, as it's called for SeatGeek, is about 40 points higher than other competitors, which means if you're a team moving from another company to SeatGeek, you can knowably expect a really large increase in how your fans are going to feel about the process of buying tickets, getting into a venue, buying stuff in that venue. SeatGeek enables all of that, and we're really excited to be working with the Nets.
BRIAN SOZZI: Jack, when will there be sports betting on your platform or some form of integration for that?
JACK GROETZINGER: Don't have a specific timeline for that, but I think it's super interesting. And I think as we see it become more broadly legalized in the US, it's going to be something that doesn't just impact sports betting itself, but a lot of adjacent industries that touch it in various ways. So it's something we're exploring.
BRIAN SOZZI: The fan experience is, indeed, changing. SeatGeek founder Jack Groetzinger, good to see you. Have a great rest of the week.