Friday, January 08, 2010

(4) Comments

Better interface: Stubhub or Mets ticket office


JMP posted this as a comment, I thought it deserved more daylight:

I'd love to see the Mets upgrade their online ticket offerings, as there are going to be fewer tickets on StubHub this year, and those of us who have relied on StubHub recently have gotten spoiled with their system.

The Mets online ticketing system assumes it knows better than you. You tell it how many tickets you want at a particular price range or range of seats, and it offers you the best seats available. It gives absolutely no flexibility. It gives you no opportunity to express a preference for the first or third base side when talking about tickets that are available on either side. It gives you no opportunity to express any kind of preference.

People have different taste in tickets, and the Mets should use software that allows people to buy tickets based on those preferences. For some people, the best seat available means as close to the field as possible, no matter what side of the field, even in the outfield, while for others, the last row of the upper deck behind the plate is a better seat than anywhere down the line, no matter how close to the field. Some people like aisle seats, others hate having people climb over them constantly.

Those of us who have been using StubHub have seen a better system. StubHub shows you which sections have availability, and which rows within a section. It's not perfect, but it's much better than the system the Mets currently use.

If the Mets wanted to take a quantum leap, they should look at the system used by one of their namesakes. The Metropolitan Opera uses a fantastic online ticketing system that lets ticket buyers choose a section, then see a seating chart showing exactly which seats are available and which are taken for the performance for which they're buying tickets. They even mark some seats as partial view, discounting them accordingly. It gives the ticket buyer maximum flexibility, and respects that just like baseball fans, different opera fans have different seating preferences. (And I always find that among opera fans who like sports, they're overwhelmingly baseball fans.)

Adding that kind of flexibility might actually help the Mets sell a few tickets to people who wouldn't otherwise buy them...

To this point, I looked at what the Mets were offering as 15 game plans.  Why would I give them a $100 deposit when I don't know what my seat will look like?  Maybe I don't want plexiglass in my face?  Good call JMP.

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4 Responses to "Better interface: Stubhub or Mets ticket office"
Ceetar said :
January 8, 2010 at 2:52 PM
Well, you roughly know what seats will look like, given experience, which isn't as great now at Citi. It oculd use an upgrade, sure, but it's so many miles above ticketmaster that the Yankees use for instance, that it's hard to feel anything but grateful when i try to log in and buy tickets during crowded times.

take rush events for instance, when public sales for high profile games go off, you wait in line, get in, and have 15min to shop. With ticketmaster, you get in, get seats, and either take them or get back in line. no adjusting based on location. with the Mets, at least, you see what Prom Inf is avail. if it's section 524 row 10, you throw 'em back and try a different section. or a different game.
jmp said :
January 8, 2010 at 3:44 PM
Right, but they used to have a slightly different system, which they got rid of a few years ago. I seem to recall that about 7 or 8 years ago, I could go to buy tickets online, and it would give me a choice for each level of the best available on each side of the ballpark. From the team's perspective, an upper deck seat near first is interchangeable with an upper deck seat near third, so why not give fans the choice when buying tickets, like they used to? This is especially important the way Citifield is constructed, where the difference between the first and third base sides is the difference between having the sun in your face all afternoon vs. being in the shade after a couple of innings.

Giving more consumer choice is never bad, and this should be a no brainer for the Mets to implement. There is better ticket software out there, it just needs to be adapted to the Mets' needs.

I would bet that the Metropolitan Opera's software could be adapted quite well, in fact. The opera hosts 7 performances a week from September through May (with extra matinees during the holidays), managing a theatre with just over 3,000 seats. They have dozens of full and partial subscription plans with overlapping offerings, and people who range from fiercely territorial about the seats they've had for decades to those who look to upgrade every season and those who want a good bargain. Moreover, when single tickets go onsale for the new season, there will be thousands of people lined up around the opera house to buy tickets as their website gets inundated with traffic. Perhaps the Mets could learn a thing or two from the Met...
Anonymous said :
January 8, 2010 at 7:41 PM
I'm definitely spoiled by the StubHub system, but I'm happy that the Mets system is smoother than the Yankees.
BPALM said :
January 8, 2010 at 10:54 PM
i am pretty sure you can select the different sections you want to sit in a choose the number of tickets. it doesn't tell you right off the bat what is available and what isn't but you can certainly select caesers level and put the number of tickets and submit and it will give you what is closest to that.

It isn't nearly as good as stubhub's system which i hope becomes the standard for all concert and sports tickets but it isn't as bad as blindly clicking best available

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