Paying to attend a sporting event is often an interesting gamble. No matter what the cost of your ticket, the outcome can vary – you may witness a perfect game or the worst loss of the season. You may be getting a great deal when the team plays their best, but is there recourse for a poor performance? The new sporting ticket platform, GameHedge, sells you comparably priced tickets with a nice refund if your team gets blown out. This Good Game Guarantee is good enough of a reason to never go anywhere else for tickets ever again.
AlleyWatch spoke with CEO and founder Warren Friss about the sports ticketing market, its future prospects, and how this new platform will soon be tackling every major sport.
Tell us about the product or service.
I founded GamHedge in 2015 and we launched at the start of the 2016 Major League Baseball season. It is a revolutionary new sports ticket marketplace created to give back to loyal fans when the game doesn’t go their way.
Recognizing the emotional and financial investment fans make in their favorite sports teams, every ticket purchased through GameHedge comes standard with the exclusive Good Game Guarantee: a guaranteed 50% refund of the ticket price if the home team loses by a certain margin. For baseball fans, this mean 5 or more runs for MLB games, but we will be featuring varying ‘hedges’ for each sport.
The site is currently selling tickets to all 2016 Major League Baseball games, and plans to expand to other sporting events in the coming months, including NFL games, NBA and NHL.
How is it different?
The GameHedge Good Game Guarantee makes us different from any other ticket marketplace. GameHedge is the only ticket marketplace that recognizes the emotional connection fans have with their favorite sports teams, especially when attending a game, and wants to ensure sports fans are guaranteed to get something in return should the game not go their way. That way they’re still left feeling like all is not lost if the game doesn’t go their way.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We are breaking into the secondary ticket market, which consists of tickets purchased from a primary ticket marketplace and then re-sold. It’s a continuously growing market with a huge potential and is expected to reach a total value of $15.9 billion by 2020.
What is the business model?
We purchase our tickets from the same sources as our competitors and they are then priced for sale comparable to what sports fans would find elsewhere online. The big difference is that all tickets come with the GameHedge Good Game Guarantee free of charge – there’s no mark-up for the guarantee. And there’s no reason for fans to purchase anywhere else because only with GameHedge they can get their 50% refund if the game doesn’t go their way.
What inspired the business?
As a die-hard sports fan, I’m well aware of just how much fans invest in seeing their favorite teams, including time, energy, and, of course, money. A couple of years ago I was at a Mets game with an old friend, and we were running late due to traffic. By the time we arrived – in the bottom of the second inning – the Mets were already losing 8-0. We had essentially missed the game because there was no coming back from that kind of deficit. As a result I felt defeated and upon leaving the game there was nothing the stadium or team was doing to make me feel better. It was just “Have a good night. Drive safe. Come back soon” Now if I would’ve experienced that kind of disappointment at a hotel or in a restaurant, I would’ve received some sort of gesture as a sign of good will. So I got to thinking that there needed to be a similar gesture afforded to sports fans, thus coming up with GameHedge and the Good Game Guarantee.
How does the Good Game Guarantee benefit the teams and franchises?
GameHedge benefits the teams by ensuring that their fans aren’t disappointed, even if the team lets them down.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
GameHedge us dedicated to being the best place to buy sports tickets. We’ve launched with MLB, but in the next six months we plan to expand ticket sales to other sports, including National Football League games, National Basketball Association games and National Hockey League games.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Not to be afraid of making decisions. There are constantly things to decide and you can’t get frozen—you have to keep moving forward.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Michael Bloomberg. I have great respect for him as a business person.
Why did you launch in New York?
Well, I was launched in New York! Brooklyn to be precise. I have been a die-hard New York sports fan my entire life, so New York made obvious sense for the location of GameHedge. It is also a city that is rich with entrepreneurship, opportunity and devoted sports fans.
What’s your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to unwind?
Archer Hotel. Great view of the Empire State Building.