Online ticketing services are moving onto mobile, but Brad Griffith, CEO of a startup called Gametime, says the experience still isn’t good enough.
For example, Griffith (whose previous startup Zappedy was acquired by Groupon) recalled using the mobile app from “a current leader in the space” to purchase baseball tickets recently, but he didn’t realize until the last minute that he had to print those tickets out. As a result, he and a friend had to convince the owner of the bar they were at to print out the tickets, and they ended up missing out on the first inning — that might not seem like a huge deal, but Griffith argued that they lost a significant part of the value of their ticket.
“It was just a huge disaster,” he said.
With Gametime, on the other hand, everything is handled on the phone. You purchase a ticket on the app, then you just present your phone with the ticket at the gate and it gets scanned in. Not that Gametime is the only service to take advantage of this technology, but it’s deliberately limiting itself to tickets in these formats. So when you use the app, you know for sure that no printing will be required.
Gametime is also focusing on tickets that are discounted right before the game, which, Griffith said, it’s pulling from “a bunch of different suppliers.” That means you get tickets at a cheaper price, and you don’t have to buy them days or weeks ahead of time.
He compared the approach to HotelTonight — and indeed, the interface will be familiar to HotelTonight users as well, and HotelTonight’s founders are among the investors in GameTime’s initial funding of $800,000. Other backers include owners of the Warriors and Giants, as well as Sincerely and Xobni co-founder Matt Brezina. (For some reason, Griffith said he can’t provide the actual names of the investors, other than Brezina).
Griffith added that the company is limited to just a couple of geographies for now — it started in San Francisco and recently added Los Angeles.
The reason for the limited reach? For one thing, Gametime is limited to stadiums that support this kind of mobile ticketing. For another, Griffith makes a point of sending a photographer to take pictures of each supported stadium during an actual game. Nonetheless, Griffith predicted that the app will be adding several more cities throughout 2014.