JumpSeat is a new iOS app that allows event-goers across the nation to either offer their seats or view the inventory of seats available and then pre-arrange for a ticket exchange right at the event. The Sports Techie blog spoke to Torrey Smith, founder of JumpSeat, yesterday during their App Store product and service launch across the United States. We spoke about his unique sports technology idea, the software devotement and rewards program, user ratings and promotions, that include a ticket swap opportunity for one lucky user during game three of the 2013 World Series being played in ST. Louis at Busch Stadium conducted via Twitter.
For those of us who sit in the “nose bleed” seats and wish they could move down to the “primo seats,” JumpSeat can help make that happen. And, for anyone who wants to leave an event early, JumpSeat can help them earn rewards simply for passing their seats to someone else.
“JumpSeat is delivering a new concept to the ticket exchange industry,” said Smith. “Never before has there been an app to allow parties within a stadium or arena to easily connect with each other and be rewarded for swapping seats. If you are leaving an event early and want to offer your seats, or if you simply want to move closer to the action, JumpSeat is an easy way to connect with others and make it happen.”
His inspiration for committing to launching a sport tech startup centered on his many experiences at stadiums and in particular Rupp Arena, and seeing all the empty seats down below. It dawned on him that he could create an application that ran on smartphones and eventually tablets where fans could make moving around a venue to different seats a reality. Larger ticket companies such as Stub Hub and SeatGeek are not offering this type of in-game ticket swap so he went for it.
Torrey is a 15-year real estate broker and has 16 agents under his wing. His business success with real estate helps give him the confidence to start his first software company. They designed their own web site so that cost for JumpSeat is saved by keeping all design work in-house.
Currently, JumpSeat is available at professional and college football, basketball, baseball games and concerts in all major league cities across the country for free via the JumpSeat app and at gojumpseat.com. He told me NHL hockey is the next sport to be offered. I mentioned Auto Racing like NASCAR and Indy Race would be a good sport to consider and to my surprise, he said he would add that ASAP. Concerts are handpicked and will include over 200 entertainment events.
A premium version, JumpSeat Pro, is also available for $4.99 where users receive an unlimited number of JumpSeat transactions and receive $10 off their order of tickets to their next event through VividSeats.com (min order of $100).
Their free app acts like a marketing lost leader, Smith wants to gain the confidence of fans and figures after one good or bad fan experience, a person will know whether they want to upgrade to the JumpSeat Pro version or not. If you just want to try the service once and see if it works for you, the free version allows for one swap. Bill figured that those that like the seat exchange will have no problem upgrading for the chance to seat courtside or in club seats.
I pressed Torrey to explain why he decided on a $4.99 price point. He answered that, “The type of service they offer, comes at a premium.” He figured that fans are educated enough to not need a seat chart to go for it. His hunch is fans know where they want to sit and what sections those seats are in. I told Smith that I felt like fans may want seat charts down the road because not everyone knows or even wants to know the facilities section numbers and seating configuration, they probably want it to be as easy as possible and included a seat map helps do that.
There are no financial transactions involving his company and the JumpSeat Pro app. It is up the Pro users whether they wish to exchange money for seat swaps.
They are asking but not requiring users to add a picture of themselves and another from the seat view for user safety so each person would know what the other looked like before meeting in person.
I wanted to know how they prevent professional scalpers and Internet trollers from obtaining seats and them reselling them or giving them an obnoxious or drunk fan. Smith feels that the procedures they have in place will weed these people out. If a fan does not show up or has a terrible experience, they will be penalized in the ratings affecting future transaction opportunities.
They coded the app so only one JumpSeat transaction per seat can happen per day. Using the longitude and latitude smartphone GPS technology, they constructed the app to have a half mile only radius around the event structure where swaps can happen. Finally, exchanges can only happen the gameday thus preventing pre-sales to happen with hyper aggressive third party ticker dealers.
This is a consumer to consumer app and the only one of its kind at the App Store. A Google Android version will most likely be released in the next several weeks to months, depending on his iOS app’s sales traction. Coming soon is a new “Seat Authentication” tool and the ability to access “Sold” or “Unsold Seats.”
In addition, Pro users acquire points for their JumpSeat transactions which increases their User Rating. The JumpSeat ratings are set up like an EBay model. Torrey figured by designing the app this way, users will seek out higher ranked people and stay away from those that score lowest. The scale runs from 1 to unlimited but most are rated somewhere in the 1-5 scale although he anticipates that users who really get this product might soar to a rating of 10-15.
Social Media and Promo Events – World Series
They are using social media to help grow the brand and increase user adoption numbers.. JumpSeat will also offer special “Promo Events” on Twitter at #gojumpseat. In celebration of this week’s launch, the first JumpSeat Promo Event will be Game 3 of the World Series. JumpSeat will list two seats in the bottom of the 4th inning of Game 3 in St. Louis. One lucky user will be able experience the World Series close to the action and meet Torrey.
Their new Facebook page has over 250 users today and climbing. He did not have exact download numbers available at the time our call last evening. One part of their marketing plan is to share happy JumpSeat customer stories so others will understand the value.
Sponsors can be another target market for JumpSeat. Whole sections of corporate employees can swap down to the first row and use the opportunity to take company pictures and increase brand exposure.
His exit strategy is to make the sportsbiz become too big for him which is a good thing. That way, he has either been successful with executing his business plan and babying it through, or another larger company may entertain a merger or buyout.
The true heart of the concept was something he calls, “A purpose bigger than him.” Smith is a long-time baseball player who goes down to Santiago, Dominican Republic, to play baseball and spread the word of Jesus. Because of this, he feels the need to empower man and the community with a portion of the proceeds ($0.50) of the in-app purchase of JumpSeat Pro to be used to help support G.O. Ministries in building a sporting complex in the D.R. The cost of this sports tech centric complex is $20 million of which about $4 million has already been raised. (For more information about how G.O. is seeking to empower communities in the Dominican Republic visit www.go-ministries.org)
JumpSeat is the first app available that allows users to “swap” seats while at events and get rewarded for it. Adding a new dimension to the concept of ticket exchange, JumpSeat allows fans to connect while at an arena of stadium to exchange tickets. The app was developed out of Shelbyville, KY by JumpSeat, LLC. To schedule an interview, contact Glenn Mandel at Escalate Communications at 760-798-1563 or [email protected].
Sports Techie, This small business concept sprouted in the town of Shelbyville. Terry is wise in that he resides but 20 minutes from both Louisville and the University of Kentucky. It makes sense that those local college hoops fans will be his champion users thus establishing his business and proving his model.
I asked how the SEC or Pac-12 conference looks at this and what an individual university’s official stance might be in regards to his seat swapping business. He said that users need to be careful and understand the laws involved at a local, state and federal level in terms of exchanging money in addition to school or franchise policies. Since JumpSeat is not involved themselves with any monetary transactions, there would be no reason for a college or Pro team to frown on what they offer. What happens between the swappers after they meet is the gray area that may be illegal if conducted in the wrong way.
Smith shared data that says, “20 to 25 percent of fans leave a game early.” This happened last year in Atlanta at the Final Four when Louisville fans left at halftime and missed their team storm back in the second half and defeat the Michigan Wolverines and win the 2013 National Championship.
There are other legit and not so legit reasons fans leave early. Parents always need to get back to their kids and the babysitter early, some get sick of losing or actually catch a bug, there are the cranky fans who want to beat traffic and there’s the fan who only came to see the others teams superstars in action for one half.
Whatever the reason is the JumpSeat app is now available here to help you meet your event ticket exchange needs here.
I hope a Sports Techie community member wins the special “Promo Events” on Twitter at #gojumpseat and gets to swap World Series seats at the Cardinals amazing ballpark and sit near the historical MLB postseason action. If you win the swap or used the app somewhere else, let us know below as a blog comment or on any of our social media network links.
I will see ya when I see ya, THE Sports Techie @THESportsTechie – http://twitter.com/THESportsTechie
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