Austin FC, on the heels of announcing the club has surpassed the 35,000 season ticket deposit mark just last week, now has determined how their fans will get their tickets.
This morning, Austin FC announced a multiyear partnership that will make SeatGeek its ticketing partner, adding another piece to the puzzle as the club prepares for its inaugural season in 2021. SeatGeek will handle ticketing for the entire stadium, including the suites unveiled in the latest round of renderings released last month and a general-admission, safe standing section for supporters, rivaling Exploria Stadium’s and Banc of California Stadium’s in size and splendor.
“They are an extremely tech-forward company, and they are nimble and creative, and that is ultimately what led us to want to partner with them,” said Clark Beacom, Chief Revenue Officer for Austin FC, about working with SeatGeek. “They are the most fan-friendly platform when it comes to purchasing or managing your tickets. so season ticket members will have a much easier experience, whether it’s them using their tickets personally or transferring to someone else.”
Beacom emphasized that while he expects the great majority of stadium seats to be occupied by season ticket holders, Austin FC will keep a number of tickets in reserve for single-game purchases, in order to allow a greater range of people to experience Austin FC soccer in the inaugural season and beyond. He indicated that fans on the waiting list for season tickets may have opportunities specific to them for single-game tickets—and that SeatGeek will help them deliver on those opportunities.
Beacom said that SeatGeek was one of several ticketing companies Austin FC considered before making a final decision. Prior to moving to Austin FC at the beginning of 2019, Beacom was part of the Columbus Crew SC front office that utilized Ticketmaster for its ticket services for MAPFRE Stadium home matches.
Beacom also noted that while the initial emphasis in working with SeatGeek is on Austin FC ticketing, the partnership will extend to concerts and third-party events. While the planned 20,500-seat stadium in Austin’s Domain neighborhood has yet to break ground, stadium architecture firm Gensler revealed details of the stadium’s live music capacities in an April Q&A with supporters.
SeatGeek, like Austin FC, is excited about the opportunity to showcase its tech-friendliness in a city where tech is one of the major economic drivers.
“Austin is one of the fastest-growing tech cities, if not the fastest,” said Jeff Ianello, Executive Vice President of Partnerships for SeatGeek. “We’re beyond excited, seeing the marketplace of Austin and its enthusiasm for soccer.”
SeatGeek prides itself on its ability to integrate with other tech companies to enhance the fan experience, and believes that Austin will be a great testing ground for innovations in ticketing technology that might become commonplace in the near future.
One example is what Ianello terms a “contactless experience”—in which a fan is able to have his or her ticket scanned (through the RFID in a fan’s smartphone) without showing it to a stadium employee. Austin FC president Andy Loughnane floated that as a possibility in the April Q&A with Gensler and Austin FC fans; Ianello notes that SeatGeek could likely make that work with its existing technology, adding, “No market makes more sense than Austin” for debuting a contactless ticket experience.
Beacom said SeatGeek’s potential for tech integrations was a major selling point in its favor. He noted, “We will need to partner with access control systems, such as a SKIDATA or Fortress,” citing two major players in that arena. “We will also need to partner with seat viewers, and there are other software technologies that we want to partner with.”
Ianello adds that Austin is a particularly attractive market to SeatGeek because of the number of tech companies either headquartered in Austin or maintaining a significant presence there. He feels they can add upon fan experience-enhancing partnerships with the likes of Lyft, Facebook and Snapchat, who they’ve worked with recently to deliver innovations.
While SeatGeek sees Austin as a welcome addition to the list of partner clubs, it’s part of the company’s evolving role in the ticketing space. Austin FC is the seventh MLS club to utilize SeatGeek for ticketing; the company also won naming rights for the Bridgeview, Illinois home of the Chicago Fire, and provides services for seven Premier League clubs, including Manchester City, Newcastle United and Leicester City. In the U.S., SeatGeek also works with AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys), the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, and Louisville’s USL soccer team.