If you’re a sports fan, you’ve probably been “Tyson-ed” more than a few times.
During Mike Tyson’s heyday in the boxing ring, fans would dish out a pretty penny on Pay-Per-View TV to see Iron Mike flex his muscle. But because Tyson was so good, routinely knocking out opponents in the first or second round, consumers often felt ripped off by dishing out big bucks for five minutes worth of action.
People who attend sporting events in person are also “Tyson-ed” from time-to-time as there’s no guarantee that you’re going to witness a good game despite the ungodly amount of money pro sports tickets cost in 2016.
A new secondary market ticket company called GameHedge, however, is looking to re-write that narrative. The company last week announced that it will offer 50 percent refunds of their ticket prices if a consumer attends a game where the home team is blown out. For instance, if you buy a Yankees ticket off of GameHedge for $100 and the Yankees lose at Yankee Stadium by five or more runs, you’ll get $50 back.
“I’m a huge sports fan and I’ve been to many games,” GameHedge founder Warren Friss told Metro. “I’ve had some amazing experiences but there are also times where you walk out of the game and you’re just really disappointed that you spent so much money on such a bad game. You’re fighting traffic, paying for parking, paying for concessions and the team doesn’t do anything for you. In other businesses – like if you go to a five-star restaurant and you’re dissatisfied the restaurant will do something to make it right. That doesn’t happen in sports.”
Friss has done the math, and one in eight MLB games qualifies for the guarantee.
So how do they make money?
Comparing ticket prices from last night’s Red Sox game against the Chicago White Sox, the cheapest ticket at StubHub was $39.95 and the most expensive ticket was $399. The cheapest ticket at GameHedge was $44 and the most expensive ticket was going for $433. GameHedge tickets are slightly higher across the board, but they’re banking on people going to them based on the blowout guarantee.
GameHedge plans to implement the same type of good game guarantee for other major sports as well. For example, if an NFL team loses at home by 14 points or more, the consumer will get the refund, Friss says.
It’s a very interesting time period when it comes to live sporting event attendance and the ticket industry. For instance, the NFL is so good on TV (the league again broke its own TV ratings records last season) that there is worry that fans will opt to stay home over going through the hassel and spending the money it takes to go to the live event. SportsBusinessDaily reported in January that the NFL saw a small regular season attendance decline in the 2015 season and that there were just 12 teams in the league that played at 100 percent capacity in all of their home games. In response to this trend, the NFL has done things like installing its popular RedZone channel on TV monitors throughout their stadiums on game days. Time will tell if tweaks like that work.
Secondary sites like StubHub began popping up in part because of consumers’ dissatisfaction with Ticketmaster, which had something close to a monopoly on the industry at the turn of the century. On Monday it was announced that around 50 million people are in line to receive vouchers for free tickets because of a class-action lawsuit over TicketMasters’ ticket fees.