Three-quarters of a million fans will have found their way to the Union of European Football (UEFA) Champions League matches by plane, rail and bus by the end of 2017, generating an estimated €237 million in tourism and travel revenue.
Sports tourism is large and growing fast, from a $1.41 trillion market in 2016 to a projected $5.72 trillion market in 2021, according to a recent study by Technavio.
Add to that the phenomenon of music fans flying around the world to see their favorite artists in concert, and you have a huge opportunity — not only in tourism and hospitality but also in ticketing. After all, everyone attending a match or show has to buy a ticket and it’s not always easy to do from abroad.
Here we look at three Israeli companies with unique high-tech solutions for different challenges in the ticketing space.
Sports Events 365
Based in Tirat Hacarmel in northern Israel since 2006, Sports Events 365 is a search engine and ticket provider for 60,000 sports matches, concerts and shows worldwide every year.
The company operates websites in 19 languages and has customers from 150 countries — both individuals and B2B partners from the sports and music tourism industry.
“When we started we were the first to offer a location-based search engine for upcoming sports events,” founder and CEO Sefi Donner tells ISRAEL21c. “At that time, there were very few places to find tickets for overseas events.”
Sports Events 365 later pivoted from transferring people to other websites to selling tickets on its own site. About 95 percent of sales are sports-related, mainly football (soccer), as well as American football, basketball, rugby and European motor sports.
“We still have the unique search engine but we also became an expert on sourcing multiple tickets [to the same event] for tour operators and travel agents, which is not so easy to do from other authorized suppliers,” says Donner. “We give our travel partners options for white-label or API technologies to implement our product in their website.”
In 2016, Sports Events 365 sold 35,000 tickets to approximately 5,500 events in 50 countries, and expects 2017’s sales to top 45,000 tickets. The company has 50 employees.
“We cover 15 of the 19 languages from Israel, and the other four are managed by local representatives in Albania, Poland, Austria and Turkey,” says Donner.
Sports Events 365 now is rolling out dynamic hotel-and-ticket packages in hundreds of cities. “We also plan a subsidiary in China and are looking for a Chinese partner,” says Donner, as Chinese sports tourism is increasing rapidly.
“At the end of the day it’s about getting good prices so we can be competitive for our B2B market,” he says.
MytiGO is the world’s first platform for trading tickets and ticket reservations by European leagues and teams, ticket providers and consumers. And it’s the first platform connecting primary markets (such as Euroleague Final Four) with secondary markets (such as StubHub).
The Jerusalem-based company began as Ticket2Final in 2010, selling ticket reservations directly to consumers in 25 countries. Rebranding as MytiGO this year heralds a fresh approach that uniquely allows teams and leagues to profit from the $15 billion secondary market while enabling fans to reserve and purchase tickets from the secondary market at official prices for a low fee.
MytiGO users buy a reservation to a specific team well before a major playoff. They can sell the reservation to another buyer any time before qualification or purchase the ticket at face value should their team qualify.
“It’s a kind of stock exchange for reservations. Usually our service generates 60-80% more than the ticket’s official price and we split it with those who upload the tickets. Maybe 10 people will purchase reservations for each ticket,” says CEO Eyal Bechor.
“It’s also a kind of insurance to get a ticket at face value with no obligation. Fans always have a dilemma about buying a ticket before they’re sure if their team will qualify, knowing that after the team qualifies the tickets are more expensive. We have solved this dilemma.”
MytiGO uses sophisticated algorithms to offer multiple reservations per ticket. For example, if 24 teams are competing in qualifiers and there are 1,000 tickets for the final game (500 for each team), MytiGO can sell 500 options multiplied by 24.
MytiGO collaborates with official organizing bodies such as Euroleague Basketball, European Handball Federation and FC Barcelona Football Club. Leagues and teams can control bidding, pricing, wait lists and other aspects through a management interface.
The four-person company is looking to raise $10 million and expand operations to the United States.
Eventer was founded three years ago in Tel Aviv to offer inexpensive, customized online and offline smart ticketing solutions to small venue owners, promoters, independent festivals and artists in Israel who were previously selling paper tickets.
“We focused first on festivals and grew really quickly because we had a lot of demand. We have grown 200% each year,” founder and CEO Julien Azoulay tells ISRAEL21c.
Eventer now has 850 B2B clients in Israel and has started beta operations in Japan and Mexico. “Our Israeli clients also host events in those countries with local partners so they wanted us to follow them there,” says Azoulay.
The company of 17 employees is testing new products and technologies, and shifting more exclusively to mobile because 80% of ticket buyers today use mobile devices for their transactions.
The Eventer staff visits each client venue to understand its needs before opening a tailor-made account and training the client how to use it to create events and seating maps, and manage agents, credit-card transactions and analytics. Offline solutions are available for events in areas with no Internet access.
“We have a lot of events happening in the middle of a forest, for example, and they still need to scan all the tickets and handle cash on site,” says Azoulay.
Eventer is now analyzing data to determine which European countries have the biggest potential demand for its product. “Based on this data we’ll plan in which countries to expand in mid-2018,” says Azoulay.