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Tickets Site SeatGeek Raising Another Giant Investment to Take On StubHub

With the new cash, SeatGeek is betting that it can wrest business away from Stubhub.

Sean Locke Photography/Shutterstock
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

SeatGeek, the for sports and concert tickets, is going long.

Less than six months after announcing a $35 million investment from Accel and the Manning brothers, the ticket-search site is closing in on a new investment at a valuation of more than $200 million, according to multiple sources. The fresh funding is expected to bring in more than the last round — perhaps as much as $50 million, they said.

SeatGeek’s founders did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

With this new infusion of cash, New York City-based SeatGeek is betting that it can wrest business away from StubHub — its giant competitor in the ticket resale space. StubHub has been hurt by Ticketmaster’s intrusion into the secondary ticket sale market, and is currently operating without a permanent CEO during a turbulent time inside of eBay.

SeatGeek’s great mobile app also gives it a potential leg up as people become more comfortable buying stuff on their phones. Right now, though, SeatGeek still redirects a lot of its customers to a different ticket site to complete a purchase of tickets they found on SeatGeek. The company has started to bring some of these ticket transactions onto its own site and app. It will likely need to do a lot more of that if it is going to take full advantage of its mobile app, since redirects on a mobile phone add more friction to a buying process than they do on desktop.

Other challenges remain. Ticketmaster now sells primary tickets and resale tickets, cutting into the secondary market that StubHub has previously owned and SeatGeek is going after. Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation previously discussed a potential acquisition with SeatGeek. The two sides couldn’t agree on a price, however, in part because of SeatGeek’s current business model, which sees it only keep a fraction of the ticket price when it sends customers off to make their purchase elsewhere.

Still, it’s common knowledge in industry circles that some of the sports leagues would love to see a real competitor to Ticketmaster emerge — another site that could be a primary channel for ticket sales. But that could require giving the leagues an ownership stake in the competitor company. And that’s something that neither SeatGeek nor its competitors have done.

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