Ticketmaster Transparency

I just want to sit in Sec 234 Row A Seat 1, is that so wrong?

Buying event tickets online has multiple points of frustration such as crazy high transaction fees. But others are just plain dumb. One of my biggest peeves is the lack of transparency around seat selection.

When I’m buying tickets for say, an A’s game, I should be able to pick my seats from all available seats at that time. Instead after giving a quantity and price level I’m returned some magic selection of supposedly “best available” seats for that combination. Of course best available is a terribly impersonal algorithm that basically assumes closest to the field and doesn’t take into account if there’s somewhere in particular I like to sit or if i rather be three rows back with an aisle seat.

As far as i can tell, the only thing you’d need to do is prevent one or two seat combinations from splintering larger rows. i.e. you want to minimize the occurrence of one empty seat between two other groups since most folks look for 2, 3, or four seats together. This is easy though – if you’re buying a single seat the chart will only open up selections that are contiguous to currently sold seats. No man is an island.

But because we have a near-monopoly situations for ticket sellers and venues I don’t think anyone feels the need to innovate all that quickly for soft features like this suggestion. So what if we made it revenue generating?

Airlines already have exposed seat selection like i describe above, but what seats you see as available are dependent upon your fare and status. What if you did the same thing with Ticketmaster – held back a certain number of locations for those who registered, paid you a premium, whatever.

On the other hand, so many prime seats are already out aside for various reasons that it would be a shame to further degrade the opportunity for the average fan.