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The Math Behind Ticket Bargains | SeatGeek

Greetings from SeatGeek Research & Development!

I'm here today to take you behind the curtain of one of SeatGeek’s major features, Deal Score. For the uninitiated, Deal Score is a 0-to-100 rating that reveals whether a ticket is a great bargain or a major rip-off. We humbly believe it’s the best way to find tickets. I’d like to quickly tell you why and then spend most of this post discussing some of the math behind Deal Score’s calculation. This is the first in a series of two blog posts, the second coming soon.

Sorting vs. Searching

Why have Deal Score? The standard across ticket sites is, of course, sorting by price. On most ticket sites, a prospective buyer can select sections they want to sit in, filter tickets by price range, and spend a solid chunk of their day trying to figure out the best seats for the money. On most aggregators, listings from several ticketing websites are lumped together... and then sorted by price, whereupon the experience repeats itself with the added pleasure of more noisy data.

SeatGeek, however, is more than an aggregator, we’re a search engine. Using Deal Score, we sort tickets by value rather than price. As a quick example, let's try to find some tickets for the Red Sox-Indians game May 12th at Fenway Park. If I sort the tickets by price, I need to wade through dozens of cheap listings for standing room only tickets and obstructed view seats. Cheap for sure, but anybody who's been to Fenway Park can tell you there are some places you just don't want to sit. I need to be vigilant in order to notice a listing for two tickets in the grandstand behind home plate for $53, the same price level as a listing in the back of the bleachers and in two neck-straining outfield grandstand seats.

How good of a deal is this? Sorting by price these three listings look the same, but behind the scenes SeatGeek's proprietary price prediction has pegged these bleacher seats as being worth $29, the outfield grandstand seats at $34, and the infield seats at $69. Deal Score compares every ticket's expected price to its listed price and takes the mental leg work out of ticket shopping.

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