We got into ticketing for a lot of reasons, but near the top of the list was our belief that ticket buyers are woefully deprived of data.  Data begets transparency, which the ticket industry lacks.

Over the past 18 months we’ve tried to attack the data dearth with a bunch of tools (e.g. Deal Score, price forecasts, all-in pricing, and historical price graphs).  Today we’re pumped to launch another data-driven search feature: a “Below face value only” filter.

This appears to the right of the “E-tickets only” filter (see below) on our map pages.  Clicking it will hide all tickets except those selling below their original retail price.  It’s currently available for nearly all events in the four major pro sports.

A lot of folks assume that tickets on the secondary market always cost more than face value.  That, thankfully, is decidedly untrue–about 40% of secondary tickets are sold below face value.  For certain types of events, such as MLB, the percentage is much higher.  Till now, fans have had no straightfowrad way of isolating tickets selling below face.

Gathering the face value for pro sports events is, frankly, a major PITA.  Ticket offices have been trying to use more precise pricing that reflects actual market demand for a ticket, causing an explosion of complicated face value schemes.  Take, for example, the New York Mets. Not only do the Mets have 37 ticket price levels but they also have 4 different pricing “tiers” ranging from “Value” to “Marquee” depending on the demand on the opponent, time of the game, and day of the week.  Further, the Mets do not assign a sigle face value to each section; they often assign different prices to different rows.

This level of face value complication is not abnormal, particularly in MLB.  Fortunately, our data team is up to the task.  Every season they spend hundreds of hours canvasing websites and talking to ticket offices to gather all the info.

Unfortunately, Ticketmaster doesn’t release face values for most of the concerts for which it sells tickets.  So at this point we don’t have the face value filter for concerts.  That will change for a subset of concerts in the near future, and hopefully for a much larger group of concerts if Ticketsmaster becomes more open about pricing.

In addition to the filter described above, we’re also showing a ticket’s face value in other parters of our interface.  For example, when you examine the details for an individual ticket, you’ll see this (assuming the face value is available):

Over overall goal is to give fans more information and make the ticket-buying experience delightful rather than a chore. As always, we crave feedback.  If you think this feature is cool but could be changed for the better, please let us know.   If you think this sucks, please let us know that too.  Hit us up at hi@seatgeek.com or @SeatGeek on Twitter.

Resellers, please see our blog post on ticket resale laws here.