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N.B. Startup Uses ‘Experiential’ Group Buys to Help Pro Teams Boost Ticket Sales

A shot from the Mother's Day Seattle Storm game. Spinzo powered a Mother's Day promotion for the Storm, and throughout the season processed over 15,000 tickets through various promotions and incentive programs. Image: Submitted.

SAINT JOHN– A New Brunswick startup is helping professional sports teams bring a more experiential approach to their group ticket sales– and some big names are taking notice.

Founded in 2012, Spinzo is a demand-based pricing platform where corporations like sports teams can run promotions for group purchases where the final price depends on the number of committed buyers. Prices drop as more people participate, and everyone pays the final low price.

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But company CEO Emmanuel Elmajian said that company has expanded its platform to provide professional sports teams new and interactive way to facilitate these group sales.

‘We don’t see it very much here in Saint John because we have only two teams but the group ticketing space is changing. Group ticketing used to be if you’re part of a big group or a company you get a discount,” says Elmajian.

“It’s changing from that to be a lot more experiential. So in other words, if you go to schools, for example, you could say, ‘Hey the top-selling school gets a player to visit them at an assembly. So you can have a competition in a school district, the top-selling school gets that perk.”

Spinzo’s platform now offers customizable tools for professional sports teams to operate such campaigns with different groups, whether it be schools, organizations, or businesses.

“We also have a lot of goal-based campaigns. So you could have a company like IBM that wants to go to a game and the team says to IBM, ‘hey if you guys bring 150 people you get your photo on the court post-game,” says Elmajian “IBM wants to do it, so all of the employees spread the word to their friends and family and other colleagues to try to get to that 150 level.”

Elmajian says Spinzo’s platform also now works for fundraising events.

“If you’re a minor hockey team or association that you want to raise money the team will say, ‘hey $5 from every ticket goes back to your minor hockey team for any costs and expenses. They use it as a big fundraising drive. It’s the replacement of the old magazine selling campaign that they used to do for schools. We power all of that.”

Spinzo’s new features have been attracting some big names over the last year or so. Up from four teams just over a year ago to more than a dozen, including the Arizona Coyotes, Brooklyn Nets, the New York Islanders , the New York Jets, the San Jose Sharks, the Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues, the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Spinzo also works with teams from lower level leagues too, including the Saint John Sea Dogs and the Saint John Riptide.

This shift to a more experiential approach to group ticketing by professional sports teams is due to the fact that people, particularly the millennial generation, want more of the experience than just a game, Elmajian says.

“Partly it’s demographics,” he says. “I think that the millennial generation wants more experiences. I mean everyone wants a better price too but they want something to take a photo of.”

Elmajian says Spinzo would like to continue expanding its client-base of professional teams. But they’re also getting in position to enter a new group ticketing market: Concerts.

“People I think always viewed concerts as if you want to go, you buy your own ticket. But now with multi-date appearances in some cities, you’ve got some concert tours that have two dates in one city but then they’ll add a third date,” he says. “Well, then you should add some group experience aspects to it to make sure you could sell the third date.”

Since many concerts don’t have half-times or intermissions, Elmajian says group ticketing “perks” for concerts could include things like backstage passes and getting to meet the band. It’s still very early yet, but with Spinzo’s long-standing partnership with Ticketmaster, he says they will be ready to break into that market.

“We’re at that stage now where the concert promoters are trying to figure out what kind of group experience functionality can be embedded into the concert experience,” he says. “Once that’s figured out, we’re ready to power all aspects of group experiences for them.”