NYC-based startup SeatGeek is adding a fresh coat of paint to its ticket marketplace, introducing an overhauled design that incorporates some helpful new features. And it's also announcing a new route of monetization that it's hoping will serve as a strong revenue stream going forward: sponsored placements. For those who haven't used it, SeatGeek is a search engine for secondary ticket sales — it lets people buy tickets that are being sold on sites like eBay and TicketsNow. And it has a strong focus on removing the clutter typically found on other ticketing sites. This week the company has rolled out a cleaner look with more space dedicated to browsing for tickets and around stadiums. The site now features over 700 interactive stadium maps, many of which include 3D-rendered snapshots of what your view will actually look like from a given seat. SeatGeek also recently introduced a feature called the Deal Score. Most sites let you rank tickets by price, but don't take into account whether those prices are actually a good deal. After all, bleachers seats might only be $15, but if you had a chance to nab tickets behind home plate for 75% off, you might well decide to get those instead. That's where Deal Score comes in — SeatGeek will look at historical data to determine how much a ticket typically sells for, and highlights the ones that are especially good deals. SeatGeek's new sponsored placements are essentially highly targeted ads, with pricing that varies depending on how deeply the promotion is worked into the site. Different ads are shown to people depending on which events they're viewing, and where they're browsing from. Some of these ads are typical banners, while the most expensive placement actually puts a button within the ticket listings themselves. For example, TicketsNow has currently sponsored a button for some events that lets users view only tickets that are available through its site (see the screenshot below). At launch, sponsor partners include TicketsNow, Hipmunk, ToughMudder, and The Lion King musical. The SeatGeek team says they're excited about the sponsorship platform because Kayak (an aggregator/search engine for travel tickets) generates over 50% of its revenue from similar sponsorship programs. Right now the company is working with each sponsor directly, but it plans to introduce a self-serve platform down the line.
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