Score Your Seats: The SecondTicket Blog

We Review Live Entertainment, Office Pools and Fantasy Sports


Big Monday Night Upset Makes Big Week 14 Winners of Two Fans With Near Perfect Predictions

Two long time SecondTicket fans nearly picked the exact score of the Miami Dolphins' 27-20 upset of the New England Patriots in Week 14 of the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS). Only one of them would win the week and clinch a $10,000 berth, but the other one is the new overall pool leader.....


Big Leaderboard Shakeup Averted as McAdams_Fan Wins Week 13 in Monday Night Pool

For 59 minutes on Monday night, it looked like the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) leaderboard would get a major shakeup and a new highest single-week score might be posted. But the Pittsburgh Steelers kicked a last second, game-winning field goal to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 and keep things, well, 'normal'.....


Fans Danieljdesign and JTTrout the Big Winners in Week 12 of Monday Night Ticket Score

The Baltimore Ravens beat the Houston Texans 23-16 on Monday night, making big winners of two SecondTicket fans in Week 12 of the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS).

Congratulations to....


New Pool Leader and Probable $10,000 Qualifier in Week 11 of the Monday Night Ticket Score

The week 11 winner in the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) narrowly missed a perfect prediction but still likely earned a $10,000 berth, and there's a new 2017 pool leader as the Atlanta Falcons beat the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football.

Congratulations to....


32 Fans Win Tickets in Toughest Game of the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score

Despite the Carolina Panthers' 45-17 win over the Miami Dolphins in week 10 of the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) being this season's most difficult game to predict, 32 fans won tickets.

Congratulations to....


Fan 'Lippesq' Takes All-Time Lead in Weekly Wins in Week 9 of the Monday Night Ticket Score

The perplexing Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers 30-17 in week 9 of the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS), so of course the week's best prediction was likely to come from a long-time (and long-time suffering) Detroit Lions season ticket holder with a deep knowledge of the team.

Congratulations to....


Historical Results in Q2 and Week 8 of Monday Night Ticket Score

Several statistically unique outcomes occurred in week 8 of the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) as the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Denver Broncos 29-19 on Monday Night Football.

First, we congratulate....


Bold Statements Made by the Philadelphia Eagles and the Week 7 Monday Night Pool Winner

The Philadelphia Eagles and a second year SecondTicket fan boldly announced themselves as contenders for their respective championships in week 7 of Monday Night Football and the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS). The Eagles soundly defeated the Washington Redskins 34-24 and fan BADDGUY broke through with....


Perfect Prediction and $10,000 Berth Likely Zapped in Final Minute of Week 6 of Monday Night Pool

One fan was 47 seconds away from a perfect score prediction and potential $10,000 berth in the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) when an unexpected play altered the final score of the week 6 game between the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football....


There's a New Overall Leader After Week 5 of the Monday Night Ticket Score

A fan in his 6th pool season won a week for the first time and there's a new overall leader in the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) after the Minnesota Vikings beat the Chicago Bears 20-17 in week 5 of Monday Night Football.....


Unusual Game Ending Play Makes a Week 4 Winner of a Pool All-Timer in Monday Night Ticket Score

One of the more unusual conclusions to an NFL game made big winners out of an 11 year veteran and a rookie, and resulted in a historically easy final score to predict,....


SecondTicket Fan 'Pingouin' Perfect in Week 3 of Monday Night Ticket Score

Thanks to some questionable time management by the Arizona Cardinals late in their 28-17 Monday night loss to the Dallas Cowboys, SecondTicket and Mega Pool fan Pingouin won week 3 of the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) with a perfect score prediction.....


Fan Predicts Exact Score of Lions' MNF Win Over Giants to Score Free Tickets

SecondTicket and Mega Pool fan Jredd1970 won week 2 in the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) and recorded the first perfect score prediction of this year's pool as the Detroit Lions beat the New York Giants 24-10.....


2nd Year Fan Wins Opening Week in our Free Football Pool

SecondTicket and Mega Pool fan Daddy Rick won the opening week of the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) with a 28-21 prediction of the Minnesota Vikings' 29-19 win over the New Orleans Saints.....


Preview of the 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score

The 2017 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) is now open! Football fans and live event lovers will love it: Predict the Monday night game's final score to grab your share of free tickets on our unique marketplace and have a shot at Big Money. How big? $10,000 Big.

....

First Time Fan Wins All-Star Ticket Slam as 88% of Fans Score Tickets

Robinson Cano's home run in the 10th inning of the 2017 MLB All-Star Game turned the 10th annual All-Star Ticket Slam (ASTS) upside down and made a pool champion of one of the three fans who chose Cano as their AL Reserve.

....

Our Annual All-Star Game Pool Preview

Home runs are on the rise again in Major League Baseball. That's obviously great for fans who like action and fireworks at the ballpark. It's also great for fans playing SecondTicket's annual MLB All-Star Game pool, the All-Star Ticket Slam. This is the pool's 10th year, and the odds of having a $5,000 payout have never been better.

....

Fan Tstuckrath Dominates the Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam as 94% of Fans Win Ticket Credits

Congratulations to SecondTicket fan tstuckrath, who dominated the 2017 Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam (BCTJ) to win $225 in free tickets, including the $200 First Prize. 94% of fans won nearly $1,000 overall during the tournament, which ended with the North Carolina Tar Heels' 71-65 victory over Gonzaga in the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. How much did tstuckrath dominate?....


Here Are The Four Fans Battling for First Place and the Five Fans Playing for $5,000 in the Bracket Challenge

SecondTicket fan tstuckrath is having a dominant run in the 2017 Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam, but three fans still stand in her way from being crowned as this year's pool champion. She and four others will also play for $5,000 during the NCAA Men's Basketball championship game between Gonzaga and North Carolina.....


The Top 10 Fans Most Likely to Win the Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam

Gonzaga, South Carolina, Oregon and North Carolina are the last teams standing in the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, and now is the time for fans playing the 2017 Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam to make a strong move toward free ticket credits and additional pool points.

All fans who submitted an eligible bracket may submit score predictions for up to 150 pool points and $30 in free tickets. Plus, score predictions are certain to determine the five fans who will play for $5,000 ....


2017 Bracket Challenge Week 2 Preview

The opening weekend of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament didn't go well for high seeds like Villanova, Duke, Florida State or Louisville, but it went great for 45% of fans who won ticket credits in the 2017 Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam. ....


Monday Night Ticket Score Finalist Wins $1,000 With Exact Super Bowl Score Prediction

A huge congratulations goes out to SecondTicket fan Lalarayneman, who won $1,000 as a finalist in the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) by correctly predicting the final score in New England's 34-28 defeat of Atlanta in Super Bowl 51.....


Thrilling Super Bowl Produces Nearly $1,800 in Free Tickets for Fans in 10th Annual WayCool Super Ticket Pool

The first overtime game - and largest comeback - in Super Bowl history produced a total of $1,767 worth of free tickets for SecondTicket fans in our 10th annual Way Cool Super Ticket Pool. Nobody won the $5,000 jackpot with a perfect prediction, but the $220 First Prize goes to....


Announcing the 2016 Mega Pool Champion and Previewing the 2017 Mega Pool

A record number of fans played the 2016 Mega Pool and, by doing so, saved a record $6,858 off sport, concert and theater tickets in the SecondTicket marketplace. As we look ahead to the 2017 pool, we first say congratulations to....


Week 16, Q4 and Season Champions Crowned as Fans Win Nearly $2,000 in Tickets

SecondTicket's largest pool ever, the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS), concluded with fans winning a total of $1,949 in ticket credits and a second year fan winning the season's grand prize of $324 in free tickets.....


First in Ten: Three Fans Submit Different Winning Monday Night Score Predictions

For the first time in the ten year history of the Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS), three fans tied for the best prediction of the week with three different score predictions. All of them also happened to be first year fans.....


Familiar Names Dominate Week 14 in the Monday Night Ticket Score

One of the things fans like about Mega Pool contests is that beginners can do well in them, and typically the top of any given weekly leaderboard features a mix of pool rookies and veterans. But for some reason, week 14 of the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) was dominated by long time fans, two of whom predicted the exact final score of the game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.....


First Time Fan Wins Week 13 and Takes Early Q4 Lead as Fans Save $84 Off Tickets

The week 13 game between the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets was the most difficult game to predict of the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) pool, and only one fan correctly predicted either team's score.....


Q3 Champion Crowned and New Overall Leader in the Monday Night Ticket Score

One fan made a big jump to win Q3 and another made a small leap to take the overall lead in week 12 of the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS). Plus 38 other fans....


New Monday Night Pool Leader as #2 All-Time Fan Wins Week 11 and Fans Win $91 Off Tickets

Monday's game between the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders was the first NFL game played in Mexico City in 11 years. Since that time, the Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) has built its own 10 year history,....


The Mega Pool Announces Affiliate Partnership with FireFan

By now you may have seen ads on our site for FireFan, a hot new sports prediction app coming soon.

WHAT IS FIRE FAN?....


One Fan Picks Exact MNF Score on Eve of Millions Picking Exact Presidential Winner

One way or the other, tens of millions of voters will pick the exact winner of the 2016 US presidential election on their ballot today (albeit as a selection rather than a prediction).

Last night on Election Eve, one fan predicted the exact final score of the Seattle Seahawks 31-25 win over the Buffalo Bills in week 9 of the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS).....


Winner of $32 in Free Tickets Appears Like a Ghost in Halloween Edition of our Football Pool

Halloween night was spooky in the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS), as one fan swooped in like a ghost (playing for her first time) and posted the biggest single week score ever in the history of the pool. She came from nowhere to win Q2 and take the overall pool lead.....


Three Fans Predict Winning Score as Fans Win $105 in Easiest Week of 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score

Three fans posted the winning score prediction in the easiest week of the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS), as 23% of the pool correctly predicted one team score. But who became the 7th fan to qualify for a chance to win $10,000 in February?....


Week 6 Winner in Monday Night Pool Clinches $10K Berth for First Time in 21 Tries

The week 6 winner in the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) posted her first weekly win in 3 seasons of pool participation to become the fifth fan who will play for $10,000 during the Super Bowl.....


One Fan Predicts Exact Final Score of Bucs/Panthers as Fans Win $101 Toward Tickets

Fans won $101 toward tickets and there's a new pool leader after one fan predicted the exact final score in week 5 of the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS).....


Fans Win $141 and Q1 Winner is Crowned in Week 4 of Monday Night Pool

SecondTicket fans won $141 toward tickets and the Q1 winner was crowned in week 4 of our biggest ever Monday night pool, the Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS).....


Fans Win $117 in 12th Most Difficult Monday Night Game Since 2006

SecondTicket fans won $117 toward tickets in the 12th most difficult Monday night game to predict in the 10 year history of the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS).....


Week 2 Monday Night Winner Narrows Gap in The 2016 Mega Pool

The Week 2 winner in the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) just barely missed an exact score match and made some noise at the top of the 2016 Mega Pool leaderboard with her 28-14 prediction of the Philadelphia Eagles' 29-14 win over the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.....


Week 1 in the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score is the Pool's Biggest Ever

Monday Night Football's TV ratings on ESPN may have declined in Week 1 of the 2016 season, but our 10th annual Monday night pool, the Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) was more popular than ever. And a long time SecondTicket fan topped the field for her 2nd career weekly win.....


Preview of the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score: Wake Up Happy on Tuesdays!

The 2016 Mega Pool resumes with the opening of its fourth and final contest, the 2016 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS), which features scoring changes that will make it and The Mega Pool competitive to the very end.

....

Fan Chilln4425 Wins the 2016 All-Star Ticket Slam as 97% of Fans Win Tickets

Our 9th annual All-Star Ticket Slam (ASTS) was our biggest ever, with 70% more fans playing than last year, and was highlighted by a potential $5,000 8th inning payout and a back-and-forth battle for the $358 First Prize among fans who had chosen Kris Bryant, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez. Ultimately, First Prize would go to a first time pool participant in a pool that was much closer than the final point totals would indicate.

....

Fan Misses Winning $5,000 by Four Points but Wins $500 in Free Tickets in 2016 Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam

SecondTicket fan BByers did not pick Villanova to win her bracket, but she wins the $500 First Prize as the 2016 Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam champion. How did she do it?....


WayCool Super Ticket Pool Champion Narrowly Misses $5,000 Jackpot as Fans Score Nearly $2,000

SecondTicket fan and Mega Pool contestant mb10 won the largest ever Way Cool Super Ticket Pool to score $518 in free tickets - and he just missed the $5,000 jackpot. How close was he?....


These Super Bowl Score Predictions are Worth $10,000!

Here are the halftime and final score predictions from finalists in the 2015 Monday Night Ticket Score. A correct halftime score prediction only wins $100. A final score only wins $1,000, and correctly predicting both wins $10,000!....


Our Free Super Bowl Pool Preview

With a week to go before the 2016 Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers, our 9th annual WayCool Super Ticket Pool is on pace to be our biggest ever. Here's why it should be a part of your Super Bowl weekend:....


How The Mega Pool Changes the Game of Online Gaming

Office pools and fantasy sports continue to be one of America's fastest growing pastimes, but there's one big problem with them. The Mega Pool fixes that problem - and goes one step further.....


Whodatfan Wins $400 First Prize as Champion of The 2015 Mega Pool

Congratulations to SecondTicket fan Whodatfan, the winner of the 2015 Mega Pool. He led a record number of participating fans in total points between our four recurring sports pools to be....


Weekly, Quarterly and Season Champions Crowned in Biggest Ever Monday Night Pool as Broncos Beat Bengals

A weekly win in the Monday Night Ticket Score is big for any fan, but for the week 16 winner in the 2015 pool, who posted his first such win in 32 career attempts, it wasn't even his biggest victory of the day.....


New Leader in Monday Night Pool as Lions Top Saints

For the first time since week 10 and only the fifth week all season, there's a new overall leader in the 2015 Monday Night Ticket Score, thanks to the Detroit Lions' 35-27 win over the New Orleans Saints in week 15 of Monday Night Football.....


Perfect Week 14 Score Prediction Lifts One Fan into Second Place of Monday Night Pool

For the second consecutive week, a new fan has jumped into second place overall in the 2015 Monday Night Ticket Score and narrowed the gap at the top of the leaderboard.....


Week 13 Winner in Monday Night Pool Jumps From 8th to 2nd Place Overall as Cowboys Edge Redskins

The 4th quarter of our 2015 football pool began Monday night with another strong performance by the 3rd quarter (Q3) champion and a mildly surprising 19-16 win by the Dallas Cowboys over the Washington Redskins.....


More Than $100 Awarded as Ravens Shock Browns in Week 12 of Monday Night Ticket Score

The Baltimore Ravens returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown with no time on the clock to stun and disappoint the Cleveland Browns, 33-27, in week 12 of Monday Night Football.

But it was the extra point they didn't attempt that caused the biggest disruption in week 12 of the Monday Night Ticket Score.....


Perfect Prediction and Perfect Team in Week 11 of Monday Night Football Pool

The New England Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football to remain undefeated in 2015 and SecondTicket fan Tuckfury posted the first exact score match in the last six weeks of the Monday Night Ticket Score to win week 11 of the pool. Her 20-13 prediction scores her $5 in free tickets, launches her into contention for....


Texans' Upset of Bengals is Most Difficult MNF Game of Season and Produces New Pool Leader

At the same time the Houston Texans knocked the Cincinnati Bengals from the ranks of the NFL's undefeated teams, they also knocked Monday Night Ticket Score pool leader Brannan out of first place in the most difficult MNF game to predict of the 2015 season.

But before we get to that,....


Four Way First Place Tie Ends in 4th Career Weekly Monday Night Win to SecondTicket Fan

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Other times, it's better to be early and lucky than good.

The Chicago Bears upset the San Diego Chargers 22-19 on Monday night, and four fans submitted the winning 23-20 score prediction in week 9 of the Monday Night Ticket Score.

....

First Timer Wins Week 8 and Q2 Champ Completes All-Time Best Quarterly Performance in Monday Football Pool

The Carolina Panthers needed overtime to defeat the Indianapolis Colts 29-26 on Monday Night Football, and SecondTicket fan Jessica Lynn won week 8 of our free football pool by being the only fan to ....


Fan Schira69 Qualifies to Play for $10,000 in Week 7 of Monday Night Ticket Score

The week 7 winner in the Monday Night Ticket Score made her score prediction last Tuesday, but it was an offseason decision that indirectly contributed to SecondTicket fan Schira69's first career weekly win in the pool.

....

Eagles Thump Giants as 23 Percent of Fans Match One Team Score in Week 6 of Monday Night Football Pool

It's good to be in the "one percent".

20 percent of fans in our free football pool correctly forecast the Philadelphia Eagles' final score of 27 points in week six of the Monday Night Ticket Score.

None of them, however, won the week.

....

Week 5 Outcome in Monday Night Football Pool Altered by Final Play of Game as Steelers Beat Chargers

Two fans predicted the exact final score of Pittsburgh's 24-20 win over San Diego in week 5 of the 2015 Monday Night Ticket Score. One of them won the tiebreaker and could score $10,000 in February.

More on that in a minute.

With five seconds remaining in the 4th quarter and the Chargers leading 20-17, Pittsburgh had the ball on San Diego's one yard line. At that point, 11 different fans could have won week 5. Who needed what to happen?

....

Q1 Winner Crowned & First Time Weekly Winner on Monday Night as Seahawks Edge Lions

The Seattle Seahawks' Kam Chancellor saved the game by knocking the ball loose from the Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson at the goal line on Monday night, preserving Seattle's 13-10 victory and making a week 4 winner out of first time SecondTicket fan Secu. He was one of seven fans to correctly pick Detroit with ten points and becomes the 4th fan to qualify for a chance to play for $10,000 during the Super Bowl.

....

Two First Timers Submit Winning Prediction in Week 3 of our Monday Pool

Two SecondTicket fans submitted the winning score prediction in Week 3 of the Monday Night Ticket Score as the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 38-28 on Monday Night Football.

Unfortunately, only one can win, and the tiebreaker is earliest submission, so congratulations go out to....


Jets Upset Colts and Make Winner of Fan 'Brannan' in Week 2 of Free Football Pool

Nothing went right for the Indianapolis Colts against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.

But they went oh-so-right for SecondTicket fan Brannan.

In the Colts' 20-7 loss to the J-E-T-S, all of the following happened:

....

First Time Fan Captures Week 1 Win Among Largest Ever #MondayNightTicketScore Field

The Atlanta Falcons surprised the favored Philadelphia Eagles with a 26-24 victory on Monday Night Football, and first time fan Alecdegen123 pulled the rug out from under three longtime SecondTicket fans to win the biggest ever week of the Monday Night Ticket Score.

....

2015 Monday Night Ticket Score Preview: Our Biggest Pool is Open and Better Than Ever

If you're not already playing the 2015 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool, now is a good time to begin. The fourth game in the Mega Pool, the Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS), is officially open and promises to be our biggest ever.

....

All-Star Game Pool Goes Down to the Wire as 87% of Fans Win Tickets

For the first seven innings of the 2015 MLB All-Star Game, it looked like the champion of the 2015 All-Star Ticket Slam would come from the 28% of fans who picked game MVP Mike Trout as their American League starter.

But then the 8th and 9th innings happened.

....

MLB All-Star Game Roster Updates & Pool Suggestions

As of Sunday morning, July 12th, several roster changes have been made to Major League Baseball's All-Star Game since rosters were announced and our fans could begin choosing their four players in our free baseball pool, the All-Star Ticket Slam. We recommend that fans monitor their player selections and revise them accordingly.

(Note: There are other players who were named as All-Stars but who are not playing, such as ....


31 Years, 31.3 Games: Our Annual All-Star Game Pool Preview

Whether you think "fantasy baseball" is a game in which participants compete for awards by managing a simulated roster of players or a way to describe the movie Field Of Dreams, you'll enjoy our 8th annual MLB All-Star Game pool. And as with most fantasies, there's an almost unbelievable statistical oddity heading into this year's contest.

....

How Many Grand Slams in 2015? 37 So Far

That's one grand slam every 31 games. But those 37 grand slams don't win you anything.

On the other had,....


32 Grand Slams Hit So Far in the 2015 Baseball Season

That's one grand slam every 30.4 MLB games in 2015. Why are we keeping track? Because if a grand slam is hit in the 2nd or 8th inning of the All-Star Game on July 14th in Cincinnati, $5,000 will be split among fans who picked the player to hit it in our free baseball pool.

....

Frequency of Grand Slams in Major League Baseball in 2015

Through June 1, 2015, there have been 26 grand slams hit in this year's Major League Baseball season. The two most recent were hit by Derek Norris of the San Diego Padres, against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees against the Seattle Mariners.

....

24th Grand Slam Hit by Angels' Catcher

Chris Iannetta of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hit the 24th grand slam of the baseball season Thursday night against the Detroit Tigers.

....

22nd and 23rd Grand Slams of the 2015 Baseball Season

Steve Pearce of the Baltimore Orioles and Justin Upton of the San Diego Padres are the latest major leaguers to hit grand slams this summer, raising the total number to 23. Pearce hit his on May 21st against the Seattle Mariners; Upton's belt came on May 24th against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

....

A Grand Slam on 7/14 Could be Worth $5,000; 21 Slams So Far in 2015

With our annual free baseball pool a couple of months away, it's time to get excited about grand slams hit during the 2015 baseball season.

Jace Peterson of the Atlanta Braves, Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants, and Wilmer Flores of the New York Mets are the latest to clear the bases with one swing. Each of them hit a grand slam on May 16th, bringing the total number of slams hit in the 2015 professional baseball season to 21.

....

Fans Win $1,371 in Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam as Pool Winner Predicts Exact Duke/Wisconsin Final Score

SecondTicket fan whodatfan is the 2015 Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam champion after correctly predicting the exact final score in Duke's 68-63 victory over Wisconsin in the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball championship game.

Despite having picked Kentucky to win the tournament in his bracket, whodatfan was in 22nd place heading into last night's game and was among....


Five Fans to Play for $5K and 14% Still Alive for First Prize in Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam

With Wisconsin and Duke ready to play for the NCAA Men's Basketball national championship, most fans are out of their college basketball bracket contests. But fans in our 9th annual Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam, who have already won $783 in free tickets, still have a lot to play for.

....

Final Four Score Predictions Likely to Determine Bracket Challenge Winner

Three games remain in our 9th annual Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam, and with Kentucky, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Duke comprising one of the strongest Final Four fields in history, now is the time for fans playing in our free pool to make a strong move toward points and tickets.

All fans who submitted a bracket by the deadline are eligible to submit....


One Fan Stands Alone Atop Day 1 Bracket Challenge Standings

SecondTicket fan bigsis is the only one who correctly picked 14 of 16 games on day one of our 2015 Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam, and she currently leads our largest pool field ever.

At 236 fans, participation in this year's college basketball pool is more than twice as many as in our previous high year; 110 fans played in the 2013 pool.

6.7% of fans correctly picked 13 day one games, which slots them between 2nd and 17th places because of the varying point totals for correct picks. For example, correctly picking the winner of a 7 vs. 10 game is worth more (1.9 points) than correctly picking a 2 vs. 15 game (1.1 points). 17.3% correctly picked 12 games.

At the other end, one fan sits alone in last place after picking just five of 16 games, and 2% picked just six correct. As we'll remind you many times during the tournament, however, your bracket is never really busted in this pool until you are more than 150 points out of first place. That's the maximum number of points you can tally with successful score predictions of the Final Four. We'll write about that more later.

Kentucky is the most popular champion selection, with 53% of fans riding the Wildcats. Wisconsin (11%), Arizona (10.6%) and Duke (7.6%) are the next three favorites. You can view everybody's Sweet 16 picks - and obviously, their champion - and compare them to yours on the Standings By Champion page.

As a result of Kentucky's pursuit of a perfect season and their potential status as one of, if not the, greatest college team ever, more fans chose a #1 seed as their champion (74.5%) than the historical Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam average (67.3%). 20.5% chose a #2, #3 or #4 seed (down from 31.1%).

We hope you're enjoying the pool and encourage you to check the standings frequently! Standings are updated at the conclusion of most games and we invite you to follow us on Twitter for immediate notifications about that. 


NCAA Tournament Pool Preview: Now In Its 9th Year, Our Bracket Challenge is Bigger Than Ever

Every year, websites introduce new college basketball bracket contests, each trying to create a better game, with bigger prizes, than all the others. Meanwhile, our Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam (BCTJ) continued bouncing along with its unique scoring system, second chance feature and relatively realistic grand prize.

For example, last year at this time, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced a $1 billion bracket contest that became the darling of the gaming and college basketball worlds. But nobody won the billion (of course), and this year, you can't play it again. Why? Because Buffett's not offering it. Why? Because the parties are suing each other.

Other websites, including ESPN and CBS, have changed their free bracket contests from rewarding the best bracket to rewarding a random 'good' bracket. Why? Because the NCAA wanted them to. You read that correctly: You can lose the pool even if you won the pool.

But like a well-executed pick-and-roll, the BCTJ never goes out of style, and as of 6pm today, already had more fans playing than ever before. And we're still accepting new brackets, until 12p ET on Thursday.

Why should you play the BCTJ? Because we designed it with fans in mind rather than for shock value.

We knew a long time ago that, while fans love the idea of million and billion dollar prizes, they perceive smaller prizes, such as the $5,000 grand prize in our contest, as more achievable - and more worth their time.

And it's not just the perception of the grand prize that matters; it's also the reality of winning it. Our $5,000 grand prize isn't conditional on picking a perfect bracket, which, although fivethirtyeight's Nate Silver says is technically easier to accomplish this year than last, is still virtually impossible at more than 1-in-1.6 billion. Instead, to win $5,000 in the BCTJ, you just have to be one of five eligible fans to correctly predict the final score of the championship game on April 6. What are the odds of that? Only about 1-in-250. Don't think it can happen? This fan won $5,000 in our 2012 WayCool Super Ticket Pool, and the odds of that were longer than 1-in-250.

Finally, we wanted our pool to have a distinguishing feature and knew that most fans lose interest when a their Sweet 16 or Final Four teams lose. So we built in a unique second-chance-to-win component that keeps an average of about 90% of fans mathematically alive until the end. After the Final Four teams are determined, we'll invite you to make score predictions of the tournament's last three games. 36% of available pool points (and 85% of the tickets you can win) are awarded in this stage of the pool. So like in those pools where a random winner is chosen, our champion isn't necessarily the fan who makes the best game predictions. But unlike those other pools, our winner isn't randomly selected; it's the fan who makes the best combined game and score predictions. It's very unlikely that you can win the pool without making score predictions, and it's possible for a fan outside the top half of the standings to pull off a surprise, last minute shocker to win the pool - kind of like a full court, hail mary shot.

But don't just take our word that we built a better bracket challenge. Submit your bracket now and let us know later, in our post-tournament survey, how much it enhanced your March Madness experience.

So enjoy the tournament, enjoy the games, and just in case, start your list of things you'd do if you won $5,000. Good luck!


Fan Diegobub Wins Super Bowl Pool as Fans Score More Than $1,400

Congratulations to SecondTicket fan Diegobub, who won the 2015 WayCool Super Ticket Pool by correctly picking the coin toss, first team to score, type of first scoring play, and final score of the New England Patriots' 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. If he had also correctly predicted the minute of the first scoring play, he would have become the second fan to win $5,000 in the pool. Mjohnson hit the jackpot in the 2013 pool.

In addition to taking home the $252 first prize, Diegobub led all fans in tickets won with $24. Overall, fans won $1,170 worth of free tickets, and every fan tallied at least $1 by virtue of having at least one correct prediction or a final score prediction within 10 points of the team's actual score.

After the coin toss (tails) and first scoring play (a passing touchdown by New England in the 2nd quarter), two fans still had a chance to win the $5,000 grand prize. But Knight32kc and SFASON missed the final score and settled for 7th and 11th place, respectively. They won a combined $35 in free tickets.

Two other fans, dollabills407 and dbpetrel02, also guessed the exact final score but missed at least two of the prediction elements. Among past champions, Mjohnson had the best showing, finishing 25th and scoring $13 in tickets.

A few fans also won bonus tickets by engaging in our #waycool #footballpool game on Twitter. Since we are moving much of our news delivery to Twitter, we recommend following us there.

Within the next 24 hours we'll also be sending you a very short pool survey and would love it if you'd take a minute to share your thoughts with us.

The 2015 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool standings are now live, with Diegobub obviously taking the early lead. Remember that points in all 2015 pools count toward the $400 Mega Pool first prize.

Credits won are available for redemption toward any tickets on our site, although we are currently experiencing credit calculation issues for fans whose accounts have been created since October. Those balances may be displaying incorrectly but we expect to have it rectified later today.

Thanks again for playing! As always, contact us with questions and we're excited about your next chance to win, in March, with our 9th annual Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam!


How to Win Bonus Tickets During the Super Bowl

Whether or not you are playing our 2015 WayCool Super Ticket Pool to win up to $250 in tickets or $5,000 cash, you can win bonus tickets during Super Bowl XLIX by following @SecondTicket and playing #waycool #footballpool with us on Twitter.

At the beginning of each quarter of the game, we'll post a YES/NO question and invite you to Tweet us with your prediction. Each correct prediction wins $2 in credits that may be applied to the purchase of any tickets on our site, subject to our credit terms and conditions.

Participation is free and a free SecondTicket fan account is required. To create one, click here. Credits you win will be posted to your account at the conclusion of the game. Good luck and enjoy the Super Bowl!

NOTE: This post was updated on 1/28/16 to reflect that this bonus applied to the 2015 WayCool Super Ticket Pool.



Our Position on the Super Bowl Ticket Problem

The current situation with football fans not receiving their Super Bowl tickets is a disaster for everybody involved, and the kind of thing our industry should have figured out how to prevent from happening. Obviously it hasn't, and the time has come for all parties - including well known exchanges such as Stubhub, Ticket Network, Vivid Seats, Razorgator, and Ticket Evolution, ticket futures sites such as TeamTix, and the hundreds of individual brokerages that participate on those exchanges, including SecondTicket - to figure out how to fix it.

The Super Bowl problem, specifically, is about one component of the secondary ticketing industry called short-selling. For a detailed piece about how short selling works, please read this blog from 2010 or this current piece by ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell. Generally speaking, short selling provides value for consumers by enabling fans of high demand, late-delivery events such as the Super Bowl, The Masters and the Final Four to buy tickets at whatever time or price they need to in order to achieve cost certainty and initiate planning. And 99.9% of the time, short selling is conducted professionally by sellers.

But as is the case with short selling in other types of markets, when short ticket selling goes wrong, it goes spectacularly, calamitously, heart-breakingly wrong. Everybody loses, especially consumers, and it brings the resale industry overall into the sharp focus of the public, consumer advocacy groups, and legislators.

SecondTicket formed eight years ago with the promise of helping to improve the ticket resale industry. Early on, we experimented with short selling the Super Bowl on a limited scale, taking a one-year-at-a-time view of it. Despite moderate success over a three year period, we discontinued short selling after determining that the risks outweighed the rewards. We saw companies succeed wildly and others go out of business. Ultimately, we did not feel we could add enough customer value or contribute to the improvement of our industry through short selling. It was best left to others.

Many others do it well, and many in the industry, especially the exchanges, do have measures in place to prevent this from happening. We commend the exchanges and brokers who fairly and handsomely overcompensated customers who were willing to accept a buyout. But clearly, there is still work to be done. The time has come for exchanges to self-regulate before government does it for us by requiring bonding and licensure of sellers, reducing the maximum number of allowable per seller short sales, and imposing stronger, scalable penalties on brokers who default. For their part, brokerages need to be more responsible to their customers and each other or get out - and stay out - of the business.

Only then will we be able to stop reading about the disappointment of fans who think they are about to cross off a bucket-list item, only to be told that mysterious 'suppliers' failed to 'deliver'. Enough is enough.


Our Take on Super Bowl Tickets, Pools and Commercials

Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots is this Sunday, and here's what we know for sure:

-The footballs will be properly inflated
-Super Bowl tickets are more expensive than they've been in a few years
-The best commercial will probably feature a baby or animal (although not this animal)
-Americans are expected to make $3.8 billion in illegal Super Bowl wagers
-Our Super Bowl pool is free and completely legal

First things first: Deflate-Gate. Did you know there's a pretty lengthy list of scandals that have taken on the -gate suffix? If we put the Over/Under on the number of items on that list at 100, would you take the Over or the Under? We'll reveal the answer at the end of this blog.

Several fans have asked us why why Super Bowl tickets cost more this year than in recent years. There are a few reasons. For one thing, it's a compelling game, with the defending champion 'Hawks and quasi-dynasty Patriots facing off to lay claim to being the team of the era and one of the best teams of all time. Another is that, while Patriots fans generally always travel well, the fact that it's a West Coast game makes it easier for Seattle fans to make the trip.

But here's the hidden reason for the price escalation. Since Super Bowl demand exceeds supply until a couple weeks before the game, most resale exchanges permit 'zone' seat sales year-round, which means that, at any time, fans can buy tickets within certain stadium areas such as 'Upper Endzone' (most common because it's the cheapest) or 'Lower Sideline'. Zone seats sellers, who are usually licensed ticket brokers but may also be fans operating on the side, take the risk that they'll be able to find seats within those zones, and usually, by scouring Ebay, Craigslist, or arriving in the Super Bowl city a week or two prior to the game, they'll be able to do so. But this year's Super Bowl site, University of Phoenix Stadium, has less upper endzone seating than most other Super Bowl stadiums, so sellers are having a difficult time filling the high number of upper endzone orders they received - and upgrading customers into better locations. That's having an upward spiral affect on the whole market.

In the annual fan poll we ran from 2009 to 2012, commercials were fans' second favorite thing about Super Sunday other than the game. Here are a few of the best, and here is Fansided's best-of list. Since we're fans of live music, we're partial to the best musical Super Bowl commercials. We've brought back the fan poll and welcome you to place your vote (right column), no SecondTicket account necessary.

An account is necessary to play our 8th annual Super Bowl prop bet pool, and it's free, which is a lot better than not free. Just pick the coin toss, first scoring play and final score, and you'll be in the running to win up to $250 in free tickets and $5,000 cash. And #ICYMI, this fan won $5,000 in the 2013 pool. Here are some statistics about the first scoring play, and we'll also be handing out bonus tickets on Twitter (@SecondTicket) during the game with hashtag #waycoolpool.

But if you like 'not free', here are some of the unique prop bets you can place on the game. (Here are some more.) And while you can bet on just about anything in Vegas, you can't bet on whether the balls will be properly inflated. That's because Nevada casinos are limited to bets that can be verified in the box score.

Ok, if you took the Over on the number of -gate scandals, you'd be right. Here are 118 societal scandals since Watergate; not surprisingly, most of them have been coined since the advent of internet.

Enjoy the game, call us if you need help with tickets, and play our Super Bowl pool! You may not win it, but you can't lose!


Free Super Bowl Pool is Now Open and We Launch the 2015 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool

Our 8th annual free Super Bowl pool and 3rd annual fan of the year competition are officially open and full of improvements in 2015! Just as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks will attempt to repeat their 2014 victory, SecondTicket fans lily89 and Fgreenslate will attempt to defend their titles in the WayCool Super Ticket Pool and Fan Of The Year Mega Pool, respectively.

First things first. In our unique Super Bowl prop bet pool, all fans are invited to submit a prediction of Super Bowl XLIX's coin toss, first scoring play and final score. Prizes include a $200-500 First Prize (the more fans who play, the bigger the prize), up to $27 in free ticket credits, and a conditional Grand Prize of $5,000 for a perfect prediction. Don't think it can be done? This fan hit the jackpot in the 2013 pool. The deadline for 2015 WayCool Super Ticket Pool entries is 4:00pm ET on 2/1/15.

Everybody who plays is automatically entered into the 2015 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool, which is the umbrella competition encompassing all of our 2015 pools. The fan who collectively scores the most points across all of the pools will score a $400 bonus as the Fan Of The Year.

We're excited about the improvements to each pool. Most significantly, points across all of the pools will be more directly tied to an event's actual odds. Last year we scaled them to more accurately reflect their difficulty; this year we're resetting them to be more commensurate (though not quite exact) with their actual odds.

Here's an example from the upcoming WayCool Super Ticket Pool. In 2013, you earned 30 points for a correct prediction of the minute in which the game's first scoring play would occur, regardless of the minute. In 2014, different minutes became worth different amounts; the 6th minute was worth 20 points and the 12th minute was worth 55. This year the number of points is closer to the actual odds of it occurring. A 6th minute score, with odds of approximately 1:8, is worth 8.5 points; a 12th minute score is worth 22 points. Similarly, points from correctly predicting the coin toss have been reduced from 10 to two (since the odds are 1:2).

The end result of these Mega Pool points adjustments will be a more compelling competition as a result of less point inflation. High point values - but fewer of them - will still be available, especially in the Monday Night Ticket Score.

But don't worry - the number of points is being reduced, but the number of ticket credits you can win is growing! We'll continue awarding bonus credits to fans who engage with us on Twitter (the next hashtag will be #waycoolpool) and later this year we'll introduce at least one new pool.

Maybe the improvement you'll like most of all is the debut of Mega Credits, which are not subject to minimum purchase requirements or expiration dates. For a complete explanation of ticket credits and how to save money using them, please visit our ticket credit terms and conditions page.

Some things won't change. As always, we encourage you to visit our unique supporting content to give yourself the inside edge in any of our pools. For the WayCool Super Ticket Pool, you may find this Super Bowl prop bet information helpful. And you can always find statistics about how often fans have correctly predicted the coin toss (40.5%) or minute of the first score (7.9%) on the pool's All-Time Leaderboard.

One final thought. No youth organizations applied for our 2014 GiVE grant, so the $598 will be carried over and added into the 2015 grant. As a result, the estimated amount of the 2015 grant for a worthy youth organization will be more than $1,000.

Thanks and we'll see you in the pool(s)!


Fgreenslate Wins the 2014 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool

Congratulations to the winner of the 2014 Fan Of The Year Mega PoolFgreenslate, who scored the $600 Grand Prize - $500 cash and $100 in free tickets.

Fgreenslate posted one of the most dominant annual performances in the history of our four annual pools (the Mega Pool was born in 2013, but we've operated the four pools annually since 2008). He finished 2nd in three of the four - the WayCool Super Ticket PoolBracket Challenge Ticket Jam and Monday Night Ticket Score - by a remarkable total of 25.7 points. His only hiccup, if you want to call it that, came in the All-Star Ticket Slam, when he finished 7th.

His average finish was 3rd place; by comparison, the 2nd place finisher, Valenti, averaged a 19th place finish and scored in the top 10 only once. Three fans - jscohen30, scoochnew, and Huber - placed in the top 10 twice. His year was even considerably stronger than the one posted by 2013 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool champion tbonefl, who averaged a 9th place finish and placed in the top 10 twice. He also won a combined $44 in free tickets in the pools.

Thanks for making 2014 the biggest year ever for SecondTicket pool participation. By playing, you help us drive down the cost of live entertainment and have some fun along the way. We hope you enjoyed it and we've got some cool announcements coming soon about the 2015 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool. As always, we welcome your feedback by phone, email, or in post-pool surveys. Thanks!


WEEK 16, Q4 AND SEASON WINNERS CROWNED IN MONDAY NIGHT POOL

The Cincinnati Bengals' 37-28 victory over the Denver Broncos clinched them a playoff berth and earned honors for three SecondTicket fans in the final week of our 2014 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS).

Lippesq's 34-27 prediction was the best of the week, for which he wins $5 in free tickets and a second entry into the First Prize pool, in which fans can win $10,000 during the Super Bowl. He is the third fan to win twice this season, joining Brannan and melissamd, and this is the first time three different fans have won multiple times in a season. He also takes sole possession of the career lead for weekly MNTS wins with eight, breaking the tie with ckmendels which he set earlier this season.

Week 15 winner Oranget93 claims his first career quarterly win, snatching the $65 Q4 prize from Joegigliotti despite having the 6th highest average point differential (8.625) of a quarterly winner in the eight year (32 quarter) history of the MNTS. But that's not a reflection on Oranget93's picks. It's actually a reflection of the fact that Q4 graded out as the 4th most difficult quarter in the pool's history (based on the average difficulty score of the individual weeks within the quarter, thanks to unlikely game outcomes). By contrast, Q2 of this year's pool was the 2nd easiest quarter in the pool's history; Q2 winner Kenny Powers posted the third best quarterly winner average point differential (3.875).

Congrats to season winner Chrishill_8, who holds on to win the $281.20 Grand Prize over Fgreenslate. But he did so... barely. The 1.7 point margin between first and second place is approximately the equivalent of a half point prediction difference over the course of the entire season. Chrishill_8 becomes the second pool champion to win without having won a week, although he did win Q3 and nobody has ever won the pool without winning at least a week or a quarter. His average weekly finish was 26.1, fifth best of the eight pool champions. The all-time best was Profoster's 17.5 average finish in 2008.

The season win guarantees Chrishill_8 one of 20 spots among fans who will play for $10,000 during the Super Bowl. Joining him are the 16 weekly winners (including three who each won twice), Kenny Powers (Q2 winner), AJNoble12 (Q1 winner) and llbh20 (highest score as a weekly runner-up who lost the tiebreaker).

And finally, congratulations also to Fgreenslate, who wins the 2014 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool. We'll write about that in a separate blog later.

WEEK 16 DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY ANALYTICS
2014 Season: 4th Most Difficult
Eight-Year All-Time: 49th Most Difficult (of 132)
Actual NFL Score Frequencies: 37 (25th most common); 28 (14th most common)
Average Fan Point Prediction Differential: 9.82


The Amount of our 2014 Grant for a Youth Group is $598

The pledge drive for our 2014 GiVE grant concluded on September 30th and we are excited to announce this year's award amount is $598.

The grant will be awarded in December to a youth sport, choral or theater group affiliated with an eligible SecondTicket fan. No purchase is necessary to be eligible; fans simply need a free SecondTicket account and all are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is November 10th and the award will be announced on December 2nd. For more information about GiVE, please click here.

Ticket credits won in SecondTicket pools are generally good for a year and may be donated in their final month of validity. $598 is the total amount donated to GiVE by SecondTicket fans who enjoyed our 2013 pools but did not redeem their credits toward tickets. September 30th was the expiration date of credits won in the final and largest 2013 pool, the Monday Night Ticket Score.

Past winners of the award include the ArtReach Foundation in Atlanta, Saints Peter and Paul School in Buffalo, the Norwich-Oxford Little League in Norwich, NY, and the East Cobb Baseball Astros 9U team of Atlanta.

Meanwhile, fans continue winning new credits in the 2014 Monday Night Ticket Score which may be redeemed for tickets or donated to GiVE in September, 2015. Credits won in the other three pools that compose the 2014 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool may be redeemed anytime through their expiration date or donated to GiVE in each of their respective 2015 expiration months.

Since SecondTicket's launch in 2006, fans have won more than $40,000 in tickets and cash awards.


Most Common NFL Scores

And now it's time for our most popular football pool preview, the one in which we reveal the most common NFL scores and which scores you should pick more often. This is the last of our 4-part 2014 Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS) preview.

PART V: Most Common NFL Scores
* * *

PART IV: Most Common NFL Scores

Being aware of the historical rate at which comparable NFL underdogs and favorites have won games and covered the spread, as we outlined in Part III, can definitely help you make smarter Monday night score predictions. They may also help in other football pools. But the MNTS, obviously, is a score prediction pool, so you need to know which scores fans pick too often, which scores they don't pick enough, and how to gain an edge when you may not know anything about the teams in the Monday night game.

As you'll see in the graph below, 20 has been the most common NFL score over the past eight seasons (7%) - but 24 is the most popular score picked by fans (nearly 14%):  

Most Common NFL Scores, Actual vs. Perceived

Compare this with the graph from our 2013 preview and you'll see that, during the 2013 season, 20 points overtook 17; 27 surpassed both 13 and 10; 23 became more common than 31; and 21 jumped above 16. These are relatively moderate changes which don't impact the pool very much.

What's more relevant to the pool is the gap between how often fan pick certain scores and how often they actually occur. In this regard, not much changed; the most popular scores were 24, 17, 27, 21 and 31 (represented by the green lines above). Fans typically stick to scores which result from two to four touchdowns and one to two field goals per team; they account for about half of all score predictions. But they only account for about a quarter of all actual NFL scores.

The most underpicked scores are those on the graph above in which the red bar is taller than the green bar, such as 10, 23, 7, 38, 19, 3, 6, 22, 9 and 0.

It may seem awkward picking a team to score, for example, 6 or 22 points, but the Monday Night Ticket Score rewards fans who take risks by submitting unusual score predictions. Matching a common score definitely helps you in the pool, but it doesn't separate you from the pack like matching an uncommon score.

The reason is that the overpicked scores carry negative Team Match Bonus Point equity. Correctly predicting a team's score produces a bonus tied to the number of fans who pick that score. If more fans than expected pick the same score, the bonus is lower; if fewer fans than expected pick the score, the bonus is higher.

If you choose  the strategy of guessing conservative scores, which in the long run can be effective, you should submit your predictions early and make sure you pick winning teams. If you are one of many fans who correctly pick a common score, your odds of winning will depend on your other score and the time stamp on your prediction (earlier time-stamp wins).

But two factors put a premium on hitting on an underpicked score: 1) Doing so is more likely to win you a week, which earns you a berth among the 20 fans who will play for $10,000 during the Super Bowl; and 2) This year's shift of some of the prize money from the Season to the Quarterly Award. Last year, the Quarterly Prize was always $50; this year it will be between $50 and $100 depending on the number of quarterly predictions. Meanwhile, the Season Prize goes from $500 to $250-$500, depending on the number of season predictions.

Hope that helps... good luck in the pool!


Preview of Our Free Monday Night Football Pool (And Why It's Awesome)

WRITER'S NOTE: The NFL's long offseason is nearly over (it's been 209 days since the Super Bowl, but who's counting) and score predictions may finally be submitted in our 2014 Monday night football pool, the Monday Night Ticket Score (MNTS). Over this 4-part blog series, we'll introduce this year's new pool features and update previous year posts to help you make smarter score predictions. (Some of the following requires a basic understanding of odds and betting lines).

PART I: Why The Monday Night Ticket Score is Awesome (and How the 2013 Champ Won It)
PART II: Introducing #MNTS2 on Twitter
PART III: New Tools to Help You Pick Upsets and Win Your Football Pool
PART V: Most Common NFL Scores

PART 1: Why the Monday Night Ticket Score is Awesome (and How The 2013 Champ Won It)

Well, we may be biased, but according to this article, office pools in general are awesome. So there.

Aside from that, of the four annual pools we've run since 2007, the Monday Night Ticket Score is by far our largest. 32% more fans have played the MNTS than our next largest pool (the WayCool Super Ticket Pool). Why? Three main reasons:

It's the easiest to play. The pool's fundamental premise is the same: Just guess each team's final score, which takes 30 seconds per week - and this year it might even take less than that. We've built on the NFL win and cover data we began showing last year and added a cool new tool to help you analyze the game even quicker and more efficiently. More on that in Part II.

It offers the most prize money. Fans have won more awards than in all other pools combined - despite the fact that one fan won $5,000 in our 2013 Super Bowl pool. The 2014 pool still maintains the highest payout potential of all four pools. We've shifted some of the Grand Prize cash award into the Quarterly Prizes, but more fans will win ticket credits because we've increased the depth of payouts from 30% to 35% and added an extra credit opportunity (more on that in Part III). Plus, as always, 20 MNTS finalists will play for $10,000 during the 2015 Super Bowl.

Enhanced analytics. Last year's MNTS was the first of our pools to go all Big Data. Fans liked it, and this year's pool leaderboards will continue showing compelling game and prediction stats. We've excerpted some of those numbers into the graph below to show how great of a year the 2013 pool champion ckmendels experienced:

NFL score and game prediction percentages in SecondTicket's Monday night pool

How To Read This Chart:
Ckmendels matched a team score on a whopping 16% (5 of 32) of his picks; the average fan matched 5.4% (1.7 of 32) and the historical average is 5.6%.

He was within 1 point on 19% (6 of 32) picks, within 7 points on 56% (18 of 32), picked the correct winning team 63% (10th best among fans who played all 16 weeks) and correctly picked the underdog to win 50% (also 10th best).

Coming Next: Cool New Tools to Help You Win the Pool (and be the 2014 version of ckmendels).


Preview: Our 2014 All-Star Game Pool

So you love baseball. Or maybe you just like baseball, but you love the thrill of the most exciting play in baseball: the grand slam. Or maybe you just enjoy small doses of baseball such as the All-Star Game (the rosters for which were announced yesterday). Or maybe you don't even like baseball, but you love competitions such as board games, office pools, or the casual bet with friends. Or maybe you just like the idea of winning $5,000.

If you fit any of the above descriptions, we think you'll love - and we invite you to play - our 7th annual baseball pool, the 2014 All-Star Ticket Slam. As with all SecondTicket pools, it's free to play and there's no obligation to buy tickets on our site. There's a good chance you will win credits toward tickets, but you may either spend them or donate them back to us. More on that in a minute.

For now, what you need to know is that, to win the pool's Grand Prize ($5,000) or First Prize ($250-500), you need to pick four players in the MLB All-Star Game and try to guess how many total runs, hits and errors (RHE) will occur in the game. The deadline for entries is 4:00pm ET on Tuesday, July 15th.

Which players should you pick? The ones you think will hit home runs, or even better, the ones you think will hit a grand slam. There hasn't been a grand slam in the last 30 All-Star Games (the last one was hit in 1983), but so far in 2014, grand slams are being hit once every 26 games.

If a grand slam is hit in this year's All-Star Game, fans who picked the player who hits it will have a great chance to win the First Prize, and if the grand slam occurs in the 2nd or 8th inning, those fans will win an equal share of the $5,000 Grand Prize. So far in 2014, 29% of all grand slams have occurred in the 2nd and 8th innings; the normal odds are 22%. Meanwhile, 24% of this season's grand slams have been hit by players in this year's All-Star Game.

If no grand slam is hit? You'll also be scoring points - and winning tickets - for every hit, run, RBI and stolen base recorded by your four players, with extra value for stats recorded in the 2nd and 8th innings. This introduces some strategy into your selection of one starter and one reserve from each league. Lineups have not been announced yet, but for the purposes of this post, let's assume Derek Jeter bats leadoff for the American League. Obviously, he'll be batting in the 1st inning, so he's not a good candidate to bat in the 2nd inning, but if he does, he would be a good candidate to be batting with runners on base - and to produce valuable 2nd inning stats (or a 2nd inning grand slam). Since this is Jeter's final All-Star Game, he's also a good candidate to play a little longer and receive more at-bats than other American League starters. The 8th inning is impossible to predict, of course, but, for example and for the reasons just mentioned, you may want to avoid picking the American League's backup shortstop.

Plus, you'll receive bonus points based on your RHE prediction, so you may want to review our blog post about the frequency of runs, hits and errors in Major League Baseball. The RHE bonus is important because you could double your points - and potentially win the pool - with a good guess, even if you don't make the best 4-player pick combination. Here's one tip we cover in our RHE blog post: this year's All-Star Game stadium, Target Field in Minneapolis, is the 4th best "hitters park" in baseball this season.

As with all of our other pools, points also apply to our 2014 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool, and as we mentioned earlier, you don't even have to spend the credits you win. If you haven't redeemed them by the end of July, 2015, you may donate them back to us and we will count them toward our 2015 GiVE grant.

So we'll see you in the pool... and we hope you love it too!


Who Will be the Fan of the Year? Analyzing Our 2014 Mega Pool

The 2014 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool resumes in July with the third of four competitions, the All-Star Ticket Slam, and despite one fan's impressive start, there's a long way to go before the $600 grand prize is awarded.

SecondTicket fan fgreenslate sits atop the Mega Pool standings after being the only fan to finish in the top 10 of each of the first two pools, the WayCool Super Ticket Pool and the Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam; he's the first to achieve that since 2011. He's on a good run, as it's the second consecutive year he's posted two top 10 finishes in the first three competitions, a feat accomplished only seven times since 2011. He's the only one to do it twice; the others are FoldPocketAces in 2013, rolpol and scoochnew in 2012, and julesschneider and Jasonlug in 2011.

Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam winner K-Rich sits 57.3 points behind Fgreenslate, in 2nd place, and WayCool Super Ticket Pool champ lily89 is 19th. But the Mega Pool is a marathon, not a sprint; last year's leader at the halfway point was lippesq, and he finished 28th. The eventual champion, tbonefl, was in 4th place in June. And the pool with the highest winning point total, the Monday Night Ticket Score, begins in September and runs through December.

The All-Star Ticket Slam usually produces the lowest winning point total of the four competitions, but its large point separation potential makes it unique and indispensable to any fan with an eye on the Mega Pool prize. The winning point total is usually low, but because of a point multiplier bonus, it could produce the largest gap between fans at the top of the standings and everybody else. We'll blog more about that as it gets closer; fans may begin picking their All-Stars on July 7th.


GiVE Grant Donations are on a Record Pace

The 2014 SecondTicket GiVE grant could be our biggest ever.

Fans who won ticket credits in our 2013 Super Bowl and college basketball pools - but did not redeem them - donated them to GiVE at a record pace this spring. During our pledge drive in April, 21% of eligible fans converted their free tickets into cash for the program, pledging a total of $338. That's the highest total in any single month other than September, when credits from our largest pool (the Monday Night Ticket Score) expire.

....

Fan 'K-Rich' Scores First Prize & 93% of Pool Participants Win Tickets in 2014 Bracket Challenge

On Monday night, the UConn men's basketball team became the first #7 seed to ever win the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament with a 60-54 win over Kentucky while fan K-Rich posted his first ever SecondTicket pool victory and scored the $250 First Prize in our 2014 Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam.

K-Rich finished in the top 25% of fans in three of the first four rounds, but primarily rode a strong round three and semifinal score predictions to the victory. He was one of only two fans to correctly pick 12 of the 16 round three games and one of two fans to pick two final four teams AND at least double-digit round three games.  He then put a stranglehold on the leaderboard by posting the second best semifinal score predictions, matching one score and coming within three points of two others.

The only fan with better semifinal predictions was joe, whose two correct semifinal matches posed the biggest threat to K-Rich going into the championship game. If joe had matched either UConn's or Kentucky's championship game scores, he would have posted the 150 maximum point total and attained an almost insurmountable lead. (K-Rich could still have caught him, but only by matching both scores.)

K-Rich's winning point total of 225.7 was the second lowest winning number in Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam history, higher only than Nina's 2010 win with 215.5 points. This was the first time ever that everybody's bracket was finished after the Final Four games; zero fans picked either finalist. Interestingly, fans had a premonition that this year's tournament would be unpredictable (and therefore, low scoring) because their average Final Four seed was 2.6 (vs. 2.1 historically), and their average finalist seed was 2.1 (vs. 1.6).

Unfortunately, none of the five fans who were playing for $5,000, including K-Rich and joe, correctly predicted UConn's 60-54 win.

Fan fgreenslate also had a good tournament, finishing 2nd and vaulting to the top of the 2014 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool standings. K-Rich comes in at #2; the next opportunity to scale that leaderboard will be in July, with our 2014 All-Star Ticket Slam.

Thanks for playing! We hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoy giving away money. 93% of participating fans won a total of $492 in tickets, boosting the total amount of awards won in SecondTicket pools since 2007 to over $40,000. As always, we welcome your feedback and hope that you'll follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


45% of Fans Win Tickets in Opening Weekend of Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam

The first weekend of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is in the books; how you'd do? It's been a tough year for game predictions in our 8th annual Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam and the final point total projects to be a little lower than usual. Fans correctly picked an average of 22.7 games in round two (vs. 22), but the round three average was 8.4 correct (vs. 9.3) and only 1.9% picked at least 38 correct. The historical average is 3%, and the all-time record is 40 games.

The two fans who got 38 correct are the round three leader, K-Rich, and round two leader jkulaga23. Sandwiched between them in 2nd place, three points out of first, is Fryman. Click here for the standings and here for each fan's Sweet 16 picks.

Fans also expected this year's tournament to be more difficult; the average seed of all fans' Final Four teams is 2.6 - and historically it's been 1.9.  The average championship game seed is 2.1, vs. 1.5.

Remember that rounds two and three feature variable point totals because it's much easier to predict a 1 vs. 16 game than an 8 vs. 9 game, so that accounts for minor point totals between fans who picked the same number of correct games; they just didn't pick the same games. Variable point totals end after round three; the points per round moving forward are 8 in round 4, 12.5 in round 5, 20 in round 6 and 30 for picking the tournament winner.

And don't forget that you can post up to 150 points with score predictions beginning next Monday. So even if you think your bracket is busted, it's not. 100% of fans are still within 150 points of the lead and 91% are within 50 points of the lead. Plus the fan with the best Final Four score predictions becomes one of five fans who will play for $5,000 on April 7th. You will receive an email notification when score predictions may be submitted.

In all, 45.3% of fans won ticket credits on opening weekend; they are valid for redemption immediately, so please contact us if you need assistance or if you have any other questions about the pool.

Thanks and good luck this weekend!


Here's Why You Should Skip Buffett's Pool and Play our Free Bracket Challenge

Warren Buffett's announcement of his $1 billion pool officially launched bracket mania into the marketing stratosphere, but he's late to the game - and you shouldn't play it. And it's not just us saying that.

Instead, play our 8th annual Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam (BCTJ), which features several cool differences.

First, our big money prize isn't conditional upon picking a perfect bracket, which is virtually and essentially impossible. (The odds are approximately 1 in 9 quintillion.) To win our $5,000 prize, you just have to be one of five eligible fans to correctly predict the final score of the championship game on April 7. (The odds are approximately 1:200.)

Later today, we'll also share game and score prediction statistics from the first seven years of our pool to help you make smarter predictions. The Buffett pool has no such history.

And did you know you can still win the $250-500 First Prize even if your bracket is busted?! 29% of the pool's points are available with our unique 'second chance' element: Make good score predictions of the Final Four games after those teams are determined, and even if you didn't pick those teams, to pull off a surprise upset. Think of it as a last-second, full court, hail mary shot. Plus, you can score up to $36 in free tickets just for playing; fans have won more than $38,000 since we introduced our pools in 2007.

So click here to fill out your bracket online by Thursday, March 20th at 12p Et.  You may save an incomplete bracket, revise a completed bracket, or print your bracket anytime before the deadline. Our pool requires far less personal information than Buffett's: Just be 21 years of age and provide a valid email address and phone number - so we can contact you if you win!

And that leads us to our final good reason to skip the Buffett pool: If you win, you'll save time! It's much easier to spend $5,000 than $1 billion.

So enjoy the pool and let us know if you have any thoughts or questions!


Free Super Bowl Pool is Now Open as We Launch the 2014 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool

We're excited to invite all fans to play our 7th annual WayCool Super Ticket Pool! Last year, fan Mjohnson hit the jackpot and won $5,000 by correctly predicting the coin toss, first scoring play and final score of Super Bowl XLVII. Will there be another Grand Prize winner this year as Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos battle Russell Wilson's Seattle Seahawks in the first cold weather, outdoor Super Bowl? We'll see.

What we know for sure is that there are some cool new features in this year's pool. For starters, the First Prize (to be awarded if nobody wins the Grand Prize) will increase from at least $250 to a maximum of $500 depending on the number of players. So invite your friends to play too!

We've also modified the pool's scoring structure to accurately reflect the difficulty of predicting the first type, and the minute, of the game's first scoring play and the final score. For example, prior to this year, you earned 30 points for correctly predicting the minute of the game's first score. Now, if you predict the 6th minute, it's 20 points; if you predict the 12th minute, it's 55 pool points.

We didn't stop there. We also compiled information about Super Bowl prop bets and the frequency of types and times of NFL scoring plays - so you can see all those frequencies and pool points.

On the pool's All-Time Leaderboard, you'll also find prediction statistics such as how often fans have correctly predicted the coin toss (43.8%), type of 1st scoring play (28.6%) and final score point differentials (on average, fans have missed a team's score by 8.1 points).

Over the next two weeks we will update our pool blog series with additional statistics and analysis of these particular predictions and other Super Bowl prop bets to help with other pools.

The WayCool Super Ticket Pool is the first competition in our 2nd annual Fan Of The Year Mega Pool, which will culminate in December and continue featuring the largest award of all the pools.

The deadline for WayCool Super Ticket Pool entries is 4:00pm ET on February 2, 2014. Thanks and we'll see you in the pool!


Fan 'tbonefl' is the 2013 SecondTicket Fan Of The Year

Congratulations to SecondTicket's 2013 Fan Of The Year, tbonefl, who has won our first ever Fan Of The Year Mega Pool and scored the $600 Grand Prize - a $500 AMEX Gift Card and $100 worth of free tickets.

An Orlando resident, tbonefl had an outstanding Mega Pool year. He finished 6th in the WayCool Super Ticket Pool11th in the Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam16th in the All-Star Ticket Slam, and 3rd in the Monday Night Ticket Score. He was one of only five fans to post two top-10 finishes; he had the highest average finish (9th) of anybody who played in at least two pools; and his 922.9 points was 86 points better than 2nd place finisher ckmendels. By comparison, 12 fans finished within 86 points of 2nd place.  He also won a combined $108 in free tickets in the pools.

An admitted "glutton for punishment" by way of being a Tampa Bay Buccaneers season ticket holder, he says SecondTicket pools "are fun and give you a lot to root for when your team is nowhere near the playoffs (LOL)." When he's not busy serving as President of the Orlando Chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild or running a pool himself at his local restaurant, you may also find him at a Tampa Bay Lightning game, supporting the new Orlando franchise in Major League Soccer, or enjoying Mumford and Sons, Sara Bareilles and even Frank Sinatra.

He looks forward to defending his Mega Pool title in 2014 but has some unfinished business first. He is one of 20 SecondTicket finalists in the 2013 Monday Night Ticket Score who have a chance to win $10,000 during the Super Bowl by guessing the halftime and final score.  "Hopefully it works out that some of us come out the other end with a smile."

2013 was the biggest year ever for fan participation in SecondTicket pools, so thanks to everybody for helping us build our fan community! Soon we'll announce details about our 2014 pools, which promise to be bigger, more interactive and more engaging than ever. If you have suggestions, we'd love to hear them and invite you to contact us anytime by phone or email.

Happy New Year!


Art & Athletic Based Organizations are Co-Recipients of Third GiVE Grant

Atlanta-based ArtReach Foundation and Saints Peter & Paul School in Buffalo, New York have been chosen as co-recipients of the third grant made possible by donated credits from SecondTicket fans. The $689 award will be split evenly between the two organizations.

ArtReach Foundation uses various forms of art therapy to help children who have experienced post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It will use the GiVE funds to help kids develop performance based skills, such as musical training, and to secure supplies for endeavors such as painting and writing. According to SecondTicket fan BifferBacon, who serves on the foundation's board of directors and submitted its application, "ArtReach's most important asset is its ability to empower professional caregivers such as teachers, psychiatrists and public health workers to deliver the foundation's programs."

ArtReach Video application

Located just outside Buffalo, in Williamsville, NY, Ss. Peter and Paul School serves 400 students in grades 3-8. SecondTicket fan pjotto serves as the president of the school's Home School Association (HSA, or parent-teacher organization) and submitted its application. The school's physical education budget is $100 annually, so the funds will enable them to purchase a Pillo Polo game set to permit kids of all ages to develop hand eye coordination. Pillo Polo nets may also be be used for handball and soccer.

SSPPS Video Application

SecondTicket awards GiVE funds on behalf of its fans and customers who donate back their expiring ticket credits won in free SecondTicket pools. Beginning in 2014, funds will be disbursed upon reaching a minimum of $1,000.


Even Congress Would Agree: Next GiVE Grant Will be SecondTicket's Largest Ever

There's no need to shut down the government, but you might want to stop the presses: The next SecondTicket GiVE grant will be our largest ever, at $689, thanks to the generosity of SecondTicket fans who donated their expiring credits won in our 2012 pools at the highest rate ever in September.

Of the $689, 58% of the grant was donated by fans who played in our 2012 Monday Night Ticket Score. The next largest share, 18%, came from fans who played our 2012 Super Bowl pool, followed by 16% from our 2012 college basketball bracket challenge, and 8% from our 2012 All-Star Ticket Slam. SecondTicket pools are always free to play and also include cash prizes and a conditional grand prize element.

Any person with an active SecondTicket account who is affiliated with an eligible youth sport, choral or theater group is eligible and encouraged to review the program's scope and requirements and submit an application by November 1st.

The most recent GiVE recipient is the Norwich Oxford Little League in central New York, which used its $548 gift to pay for renovations and improvements to its fields.  You can follow the league's progress on its Facebook page.

As of this post, fans playing the 2013 Monday Night Ticket Score have won $418 toward future ticket purchases and new fans are welcome to begin playing anytime. A total of between $1,000 and $1,500 is expected to be won, and any unredeemed credits may be donated to GiVE in September 2014.


Fan 'Ndugu' Wins All-Star Ticket Slam & Fans Win $707

In a low scoring but competitive All-Star Game pool, long-time SecondTicket fan - but first time All-Star Ticket Slam participant - Ndugu beat 57 others to win the $500 First Prize.

It was Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis's 8th inning double that vaulted Ndugu past new SecondTicket fan katpempek, who had held the lead for most of the game. The game's low total of runs, hits and errors (RHE) almost gave her enough bonus points to win; her pool-low prediction of 12 was the closest prediction to the actual number of 15.  Without Kipnis's double, and/or if the total RHE had stayed around 12 or 13, she likely would have dominated the field and won easily.

Fans who chose Kipnis, Detroit Tigers infielders Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, New York Mets third baseman David Wright, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran and Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt scored highest. Fielder continued his All-Star success, as he's now produced almost twice as many points and free tickets for SecondTicket fans as any other player.

It was a rough night for defending All-Star Ticket Slam champion and GiVE grant recipient PinstripesNY - and for every fan who chose New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano - who left the game early after being hit by a pitch in the first inning.

In addition to the $500 First Prize, Ndugu led all fans with $10 in tickets won.  In all, $207 in free tickets were awarded, or an average of $3.63 per fan.  For the third time in the last five years - but for just the fourth time in 21 years - no home runs were hit in the All-Star Game.  So obviously there was no $5,000 payout for a 2nd or 8th inning grand slam.

We also have a new leader in the Fan Of The Year Mega Pool, as mjohnson recaptured the top overall position. The chase for that $500 award will resume - and conclude - with the Monday Night Ticket Score beginning in September.

We hope you enjoyed the pool and would love any feedback about the new scoring structure and player prediction form. Thanks for playing!


Preview: Our 2013 All-Star Game Pool

Our 2013 All-Star Ticket Slam is mostly unchanged from 2012. Your goal is to pick players who you think will hit home runs, and the big payoff is if one of your players hits a grand slam in the 2nd or 8th inning of the MLB All-Star Game.

This year's pool has four tweaks:
1. First Prize is $500, up from $200
2. Points count toward our Fan Of The Year Mega Pool; we discuss the impact of that change
3. New and improved standings pages
4. The biggest change is that your guess of the game's total runs, hits and errors (RHE) matters more than in 2012. Bonus points are awarded based on the accuracy of your RHE prediction; in previous years it was only used as a tiebreaker, if necessary.

How are you supposed to know how many runs, hits and errors occur in a baseball game? We did the research for you. Below is a graph showing the percentage frequency of games with specific RHE quantities, bundled into quantity groups of three.


How To Read This Graph
On the blue line, which represents a larger sample size of games*, the highest percentage is 14%, which means that 14% of games had total runs, hits and errors, by the two teams combined, of 25, 26 or 27.  By contrast, about 3% had an RHE between 10-12, and only 1% had an RHE between 52-55. Looking from a wider angle, 62.4% of games end with a total RHE between 19-33.

The red line is the results from the 30 MLB All-Star games between 1983 and 2012. It generally follows the same pattern; 46.6% of All-Star games have ended with a total RHE between 19-33, but there's more variance at the ends. The highest frequency was of RHE between 16-18 (nearly 17%), and nearly 7% fell within 52-55 RHE. 30 games is a much smaller sample size, so we caution you when making judgments from this data, but it might indicate that low or high RHE is a function of the extreme talent that plays in All Star Games. Either quality pitchers limits the number of runs and hits, or quality hitters dominate pitchers who don't stay in the game long enough to find any sort of rhythm.

How You Should Use This Data in Your Prediction
We estimate that the winning pool score will be between 135 and 175, but the maximum possible score is 800. Fans who score greater than 175 have an excellent chance of winning.

Fans who want to play it safe will make an RHE prediction between 19 and 31. Fans who want to take a risk will go outside that range. Bonus points are awarded as a percentage of your base points, so even if you correctly predict an RHE of, say, 45, you only receive a 100% bonus of your base points; if your base points were only 10, you end up with 20. But if your base points were 100, you end up with 200 - which might be enough to win the pool.

The MLB All-Star Game is July 16th; pool entries may be submitted beginning at 10:00am on July 8. As with all of our pools, it's free to play and we encourage you to invite your friends. Good luck and we'll see you in the pool!

*430 MLB games between June 1-17, 2012 and June 1-17, 2013


What's Better Than Giving Away $5,000? Giving Away $548

We're in a fun business. We help people cross items off their bucket lists or the bucket lists of their loved ones, getting them into events like The Masters, the Rolling Stones, or a Broadway show. We're motivated daily by conversations like a recent one with a man who described the Joe Bonamassa tickets he bought for his wife as "an awesome surprise for Mother's Day".

We also run football, basketball or baseball pools which result in a lot of winning - and that's fun too. Fans have won more than $36,000 in cash and credits redeemable toward tickets. Announcing pool winners is fun, and in February we even had the good fortune of announcing a $5,000 winner in our Super Bowl pool

But the best part of our business might not be what you think. It's better, even, than giving away $5,000.

About once a year, we announce a winner in our GiVE program - as we did this week with this story about the Norwich-Oxford Little League winning a $548 grant. GiVE is the soul of SecondTicket. Learning more about the youth organizations with which our customers are involved as parents, coaches, teachers and mentors, watching the video appeals from the kids, and calling the SecondTicket fan who does all the hard work which most kids and other parents probably don't even see - THAT is the best part of our job.

To all of our fans and customers who donated expiring ticket credits back to our GiVE fund, THANK YOU. We hope that, at least to a small degree, your soul is also fulfilled as a result of this announcement.

Our next credit donation drive is already underway. We currently have $236 toward our next grant and expect to hit the next $500 minimum goal later this fall.

In the meantime, back to the fun, and Happy Mother's Day!

Art & Athletic Based Organizations are Co-Recipients of Third GiVE Grant

Atlanta-based ArtReach Foundation and Saints Peter & Paul School in Buffalo, New York have been chosen as co-recipients of the third grant made possible by donated credits from SecondTicket fans. The $689 award will be split evenly between the two organizations.

ArtReach Foundation uses various forms of art therapy to help children who have experienced post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It will use the GiVE funds to help kids develop performance based skills, such as musical training, and to secure supplies for endeavors such as painting and writing. According to SecondTicket fan BifferBacon, who serves on the foundation's board of directors and submitted its application, "ArtReach's most important asset is its ability to empower professional caregivers such as teachers, psychiatrists and public health workers to deliver the foundation's programs."

ArtReach Video application

Located just outside Buffalo, in Williamsville, NY, Ss. Peter and Paul School serves 400 students in grades 3-8. SecondTicket fan pjotto serves as the president of the school's Home School Association (HSA, or parent-teacher organization) and submitted its application. The school's physical education budget is $100 annually, so the funds will enable them to purchase a Pillo Polo game set to permit kids of all ages to develop hand eye coordination. Pillo Polo nets may also be be used for handball and soccer.

SSPPS Video Application

SecondTicket awards GiVE funds on behalf of its fans and customers who donate back their expiring ticket credits won in free SecondTicket pools. Beginning in 2014, funds will be disbursed upon reaching a minimum of $1,000.

Norwich-Oxford Little League Wins GiVE Grant

The Norwich-Oxford Little League in Central New York has been selected as the recipient of the second grant from SecondTicket's GiVE program. SecondTicket fan PinstripesNY serves on the league's board of directors and led its application process for the $548 award to replace aging equipment and facilities.

The rural league is composed of about 235 boys and girls between the ages of seven and 14 on 20 baseball and softball teams. Its fields are maintained by the league through donations, advertising and raffles which have been hampered in recent years by high county unemployment rates.

Click below to watch the Norwich-Oxford kids appeal to SecondTicket fans for funding.

SecondTicket awards GiVE funds on behalf of its fans and customers who donate back their expiring ticket credits won in free SecondTicket pools. $236 has been raised toward the next grant, which will be awarded upon reaching a minimum of $500.

East Cobb Astros Win First SecondTicket GiVE Grant

The winners of our inaugural grant are the East Cobb Baseball Astros 9U Team, of Atlanta. SecondTicket fan Kennedy, a parent of one of the team's players, applied for the $500 award to cover equipment costs, competition entry fees and travel expenses.  ECB's mission is to teach the integrity of the game of baseball and help players learn life lessons associated with baseball.

Below is the team's video appeal to SecondTicket fans and check presentation. We'll follow up with them over the next 12 months to see how they're doing, and you may also visit the team's website.



SecondTicket's Scott Meach presents the East Cobb Astros with the first GiVE grant 


Norwich-Oxford Little League Wins GiVE Grant

The Norwich-Oxford Little League in Central New York has been selected as the recipient of the second grant from SecondTicket's GiVE program. SecondTicket fan PinstripesNY serves on the league's board of directors and led its application process for the $548 award to replace aging equipment and facilities.

The rural league is composed of about 235 boys and girls between the ages of seven and 14 on 20 baseball and softball teams. Its fields are maintained by the league through donations, advertising and raffles which have been hampered in recent years by high county unemployment rates.

Click below to watch the Norwich-Oxford kids appeal to SecondTicket fans for funding.

SecondTicket awards GiVE funds on behalf of its fans and customers who donate back their expiring ticket credits won in free SecondTicket pools. $236 has been raised toward the next grant, which will be awarded upon reaching a minimum of $500.


Fans Win $1,040 in Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam

One of the best basketball games you'll ever see resulted in Louisville's 3rd NCAA Mens Basketball national championship and long-time SecondTicket fan lippesq's first SecondTicket pool victory. Congrats to him for winning the $500 First Prize during Louisville's captivating 82-76 win over Michigan at the Georgia Dome, which culminated a tournament in which 95% of fans won free tickets in our pool - $540 overall.

Despite recording fewer overall Score Prediction points than scoochnew and sonyawc and being one of only three fans to pick Michigan to win last night after having picked Louisville in their bracket, Lippesq narrowly won out. His victory can be attributed to a few things - obviously, being one of only two fans to pick the Cardinals and Wolverines in the championship was a big part of it - but going higher on Michigan's score last night gave him eight points - and he won by four. Fans who had Michigan in the 70s scored an average of 12 score prediction points; those who put them at fewer than 70 averaged only three - for a 9 point gap. By comparison, going over 70 for Louisville produced only a four point gap. Whether you picked Michigan to win last night or not, their score influenced the outcome more than Louisville's.

Lippesq's win also vaulted him to #2 in the 2013 Fan Of The Year Mega Pool, behind the new leader, conehead433.

We hope you enjoyed the pool! We've already got some ideas for improving it in 2014 and would welcome your input and feedback on our Facebook page. If you're not already a fan of ours there, we'd love it if that changed today.


Final Four Ticket Update: Syracuse & Wichita State are IN

Syracuse and Wichita State earned their trips to Atlanta for the 2013 Final Four yesterday and we're already getting requests for tickets. SecondTicket is a nationwide resale marketplace (which happens to be based in Atlanta) and a State-of-Georgia licensed ticket brokerage. Of course we would love to set you up with tickets, but there are many sources for Final Four tickets. As a service to our fans, below is a preliminary review of the Final Four ticket market; you may also be interested in our blog from last week which provided some higher-level insight into the overall NCAA Tournament ticket marketplace.

Right now, depending on seat location, quantity, delivery method and whether you want a strip of seats for both days or just the Saturday games, pricing ranges from about $200 per ticket to several thousand. If you don't want to be in the 300 level, seats in the 100 or 200 level endzones start between about $375-500. Those seats are fine, but as we wrote in last week's blog, remember that the entire game occurs between what would be the 30 yard lines on a football field. The sight lines are fine, and of course you can see the players, but none of the action ever comes to your endzone and there are fewer players than in a football game. So if you'd like to get out of the endzones to be a little closer to the game, you can expect pricing to be about $500+.

Pairs are the cheapest; larger blocks of seats will cost a little more. Many of this year's tickets are only available electronically through a closed marketplace like Flash Seats; generally those cost a little less, but the ticket is stored on your credit card or driver's license and reselling it or transferring it to friends if your plans change - or if your team loses on Saturday - is more complicated.  But it CAN be done, and in fact, buying a strip of tickets (which is the same seat for Saturday AND Monday) might be more cost effective.  About 75% of the cost of the strip is tied up in the Saturday games.

And remember that pricing is dynamic - so it could change depending on the outcome of today's games and as next weekend gets closer. Wichita State's victory over Ohio State will probably have the effect of reducing overall demand and lowering pricing; but we're unsure whether the outcome of either Louisville/Duke or Michigan/Florida will have the same effect. Louisville and Duke fans both travel well and are close enough to Atlanta to do so. There's obviously a higher concentration of Florida fans around Atlanta, but its recent Final Four (and, for that matter, BCS Championship) success might dilute some of the Florida faithful's price tolerance; on the flip side, Michigan's fans are farther away but that school's Final Four drought might compensate for that - and drive prices up.

The bottom line with any ticket buying decision is that you should buy tickets whenever the time is right for you. Like with financial planning, timing the market isn't usually a successful long term strategy. To that end, we're happy to help you anytime.

Please let us know if you have questions, and thanks!


How and When to Buy NCAA Basketball Tournament Tickets

This is the time of year when fans ask us how and when they should buy NCAA Basketball Tournament tickets. March Madness isn't limited to the basketball court; it also applies to the ticket mayhem created by the combination of passionate fans, short purchase windows, last-minute scheduling, a ticket distribution model that forces fans to buy unwanted tickets, paperless tickets that are difficult to transfer, and the NCAA's current decision to stage all Final Fours in football stadiums.

"When Should I Buy?" and/or "Will Prices Go Down Later?"
In resale markets, prices generally decrease as events near, but not always, and the NCAA Tournament is a good example of "not always". Pricing is dynamic; after the teams are announced, or after any particular weekend of games, pricing increases or decrease depending on the teams playing at each venue. In the first two rounds, the top teams are assigned to venues close to home, but an unknown number of other teams may also be close to home, so it's difficult to project demand and pricing. For corporate clients who need tickets for a specific venue regardless of the teams, we generally recommend minimizing your risk and buying tickets before teams are confirmed. If you are buying tickets specifically to watch your team, we recommend waiting until you know where your team is playing. The cost may be higher, but you won't end up with unwanted tickets.

Tickets are sold through the schools, venues and sponsors as strips (the same seat for every game at a venue), sessions (the same seat for multiple games within the strip), and, after they've sold as many strips and sessions as possible, as individual games on Ticketmaster. The problem for fans is that individual game sales are not guaranteed to occur, and if they do, Ticketmaster is not required to disclose how many seats are available.

As a result, fans look to resale markets like ours (or Ticket Liquidator, or Stubhub), that are populated with individual game tickets that have been split off from strips and sessions by fans and brokers. Resale markets provide a valuable service for fans because they enable fans to buy exactly the games, locations and quantities you want or need, when you want to buy them.

If prices are still giving you heartburn, and/or if you don't have specific seat location or quantity needs - and if you have a high risk tolerance - you could try to buy tickets outside the stadium. An ample supply of tickets hit the resale market when fans of losing teams walk out and sell their remaining game tickets to street resellers and other fans. Of course we don't recommend buying from an unlicensed seller, but we also don't like hearing from fans who couldn't afford to see their team play. As we have written before, 40% of ticket resale occurs below cost; most of the below-cost opportunity with the NCAA Tournament occurs in the 24 hours before the game.

"Why Are Some NCAA Tickets Paperless?" and/or "What Are Paperless Tickets?"
Compounding the madness is paperless ticket technology, which means the ticket's bar code is stored on a credit card or driver's license. This isn't necessarily bad for fans, but it's not as good as the purveyors of paperless technology would have you believe. They say it's good because there's no risk of fraud and you can't lose your tickets. But the reality is that buying through any regulated and transparent marketplace carries no fraud risk either because purchases are fully guaranteed. And if you've ever misplaced your wallet, then you are aware that you can, in fact, lose your tickets. Furthermore, restricting ticket resale and transfer to a closed-loop resale ecosystem like Flash Seats reduces supply and choice - and drives prices up, not down.

"Are These Good Seats?"
Now that the basketball court is placed at midfield of the football stadium, customers ask us where the best seats are. Our take is that it's no different than in a traditional basketball arena; courtside and sideline seats are the best. The difference is that, in a football stadium, there are more seats up high, in the corners and behind the basket. So imagine a 5-on-5 football game played entirely between the 30 yard line; you can still see the players, but none of the game will occur close to you, in the "endzone". Most seats won't be intimate, but unless you are sitting behind the basket, which is no different than in an arena, the sight lines are generally fine.

One Final Recommendation for Enjoying the NCAA Tournament
A safer, less stressful way to save on tickets AND participate in this month's action would be to play our free Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam. Between Monday, March 18th and Thursday, March 21st, fill out your bracket here to win up to $5,000 cash and credits that may be applied to any tickets (not just college basketball) on our site. SecondTicket fans have won more than $35,000 in cash and tickets since 2007 in our free pools and with no obligation - and that's some madness that's definitely good for fans.


Grammys Deliver More Than Just Awards

Who took home the top prize at The Grammys? Someone who wasn’t even nominated.

Justin Timberlake won big even though he left Hollywood without a Grammy in his hands. How? His performance had a simple purpose…to launch his return to the music stage. And it worked. It will catapult ticket sales for a tour that hasn’t even been announced yet.

The Grammys opened up their stage to a pop culture superstar who wasn't even nominated - despite the fact that other nominated artists were sitting in the audience! Justin Timberlake’s big band Suit and Tie performance alongside Jay-Z was one of the highlights of the night.

While tour dates have not formally been announced, the impending tour has been carefully leaked so that the buzz will continue. And you can bet that The Grammys will reap the benefit of continued coverage of their breakout performance. Here’s an interesting article on Justin Timberlake's brilliant campaign

This is Music Marketing 2013. Artists use performances at major events as platforms for the sale of tickets to their upcoming concert tour.  Put Justin Timberlake in the same class as Beyonce, who used her Super Bowl performance to set album sales records.  Successful artists also weave their way into our cultural fabric in other ways, such as Justin Bieber's host and musical guest appearance on Saturday Night Live

These performances, in concert with well-choreographed social media campaigns, are a catalyst for substantial increases in album and ticket sales. It’s smart, will be repeated often, and will certainly influence ticket resale value, causing angst among fans who were unable to buy tickets immediately.  If you are wondering when you should buy tickets in a resale marketplace, there's no simple answer, but as we wrote in this 2009 post, tickets sell below their original cost far more often than many people realize.  We encourage you to do your research before buying tickets for such big events. If the box office or Ticketmaster does not have tickets you like, a resale marketplace is a good alternative for you. If you have any questions, call us; we'll be happy to help analyze the situation so you can make a smart ticket buying decision.


Jackpot! SecondTicket Fan Wins $5,000 With Perfect Super Bowl Prediction

Congratulations to SecondTicket fan mjohnson, who won the $5,000 Grand Prize in our WayCool Super Ticket Pool by correctly predicting the coin toss, first scoring play, and final score of Super Bowl 47! Against odds of 16,800-to-1, he won the pool's Grand Prize thanks to one of the most unlikely plays in Super Bowl history.

His path to success began when 'Heads' came up on the coin toss. Obviously, these odds are 1:2, but SecondTicket fans continue to favor 'heads' over 'tails' at a greater rate than other fans, as 64% of the pool was still alive for $5K; only 36% chose 'tails'. The industry average is about 51%-49% in favor of 'heads'.

It continued on the first scoring play, where the odds become longer. The odds of picking the first team to score (1:2), first type of scoring play (1:3), and minute of the first score (1:7) are approximately 1:42. Combined with the 1:2 coin toss odds, they become 1:84.  With 132 fans in the pool, 132/84 is about 1.5, meaning, mathematically, one or two fans would survive past this play. But after a short opening possession by San Francisco, Baltimore scored with a passing touchdown in the game's 5th minute (10:36 remaining on the game clock in the first quarter). Mjohnson and three other fans (conehead433theABE, and Seraph1sin) correctly picked those three elements.

If any of those four fans would go on to match the exact final score, they would win $5,000. Seraph1sin was the first to miss out on her score prediction; her low 16-12 prediction became impossible when Baltimore went ahead 21-3 in the 2nd quarter.

Baltimore's return of the 2nd half's opening kickoff for a touchdown to put Baltimore ahead 28-6 wiped out theABE's 24-21 prediction.

Late in the 3rd quarter, with Baltimore leading 28-20, Conehead433's 34-28 prediction was still alive, but when San Francisco kicked a field goal to make it 28-23, he was in trouble, and when San Francisco scored an early 4th quarter touchdown to make it 31-29, his Grand Prize hopes were dashed.

That 4th quarter touchdown put the Grand Prize within reach of mjohnson, but when San Francisco missed the 2-point conversion, he was really only alive mathematically. Logistically, he needed a Baltimore field goal and an unlikely San Francisco safety to win $5,000.

Sure enough, that's exactly what happened. Baltimore kicked a field goal with 4:19 remaining, and when the Baltimore punter took an intentional safety - one of the rarest plays in football - to make the score 34-31, mjohnson hit the jackpot. Had it not happened, he may or may not have even won the guaranteed First Prize; Conehead's prediction might have held up.

He wasn't the only winner last night. A total of $1,000 in free tickets was awarded.

Mjohnson also takes the early lead in our new Fan Of The Year Mega Pool. The fan with the most combined points in our four 2013 pools wins a bonus: a $500 AMEX Gift Card and $100 in free ticket credits.

Every SecondTicket pool has a guaranteed First Prize winner if there is no Grand Prize winner. We take out an insurance policy on the Grand Prizes, so we WANT somebody to win.

We hope you enjoyed the pool!  Our next one is the Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam in March.  The continued growth of our fan community helps bring down the cost of live entertainment.


Betting the Final Score of the Super Bowl

WRITER'S NOTE: This post, about betting the final score of the Super Bowl, is the last in a series about gaming and gambling leading up to Sunday's game, with supporting data from the six years of our free Super Bowl pool and our free Monday Night football pool.

What are the odds of predicting the Super Bowl's exact final score?

....

Betting the Minute of the Super Bowl's First Scoring Play

WRITER'S NOTE: This post, about betting the minute of the Super Bowl's first scoring play, is the fourth in a series about gaming and gambling leading up to Sunday's game, with supporting data from the six years of our free Super Bowl pool. For a much more complete review of prop bets, we suggest Bill Barnwell's piece published on Grantland on 1/28.

Predicting when the first scoring play (of any type, not just a touchdown) will occur is obviously subject to many variables, but based on the data from our pool, fans generally over bet the middle of the first quarter and under bet the beginning and end of the first quarter. (In our pool, fans pick from 16 options: Any single minute in the first quarter or anytime AFTER the first quarter.)

....

Betting the Super Bowl's First Scoring Play, Part II

WRITER'S NOTE: This post, about betting the Super Bowl's first scoring play, is the third in a series about gaming and gambling leading up to Sunday's game, with supporting data from the six years of our free Super Bowl pool.  For a much more complete review of prop bets, we suggest Bill Barnwell's piece published on Grantland on 1/28.

In our previous post we discussed prop bets about which team will score first in Sunday's Super Bowl.  Today we'll review the type of first scoring play.

Here are the rates of the first type of scoring play in the Super Bowl's 46-year history:

-Passing TD: 33%
-Rushing TD: 11%
-Field Goal: 46%
-Defense or Special Teams TD: 9%

In the six years of our pool, however, fans have overestimated the passing touchdown and underestimated the field goal:

-Passing TD: 56%
-Rushing TD: 14%
-Field Goal: 28%
-Defense or Special Teams TD: 2%

As a result, SecondTicket fans have correctly picked the type of first scoring play 27% of the time, which is lower than the expected number because of last year's surprise safety (Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was called for intentional grounding in the endzone). It's not surprising that fans underpick the defense/special teams option because our scoring model awards the same points for a correct pick regardless of the play type, but fans should more strongly consider the possibility of a field goal - especially considering the Ravens' and 49ers' combined rates from their 37 games in 2012:

-Passing TD: 27%
-Rushing TD: 22%
-Field Goal: 46%
-Defense or Special Teams: 5%

Which player will score the first touchdown is not an element of our pool but is a popular prop bet. More consideration than usual should be given to running backs and quarterbacks producing a rushing touchdown, especially since San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick set the NFL's single game all-time rushing record for a quarterback in the playoffs against Green Bay.


Next: Betting the minute in which the first scoring play will occur.


Betting the Super Bowl's First Team to Score

WRITER'S NOTE: This post, about betting the Super Bowl's first scoring play, is the second in a series about gaming and gambling leading up to Sunday's game, with supporting data from the six years of our free Super Bowl pool.

Type the words 'Super Bowl first scoring play' into a search engine and you will get results about prop bets involving which team will score first or which player will score the game's first touchdown. Today we'll cover bets regarding the first team to score; tomorrow we'll write about the first player and first type of scoring play (rushing touchdown, passing touchdown, field goal or defensive/special teams).

At Betonline.com, the official information source we use for our Super Bowl and Monday Night Football pools, the 49ers are -155 and the Ravens are +125 to score first. This means if you bet the 49ers, you would have to bet $100 to win $55; if you bet the Ravens, you would have to bet $100 to win $125. This season, each team scored first in its games about 60% of the time (10 of 17 for the Ravens and 10 of 16 for the 49ers); because that is relatively even, what other empirical data might be causing the 49ers to be favored to score first?

How about this: In the 46-year history of the Super Bowl, the team favored to win has scored first 67% of the time. As of this writing, the 49ers are favored to win by 3.5 points.

Here's another nugget: In the Super Bowl's 46 years, the team that won the coin toss has scored first 28 times (61%).

In the 6-year history of our pool, SecondTicket fans have picked the AFC team to score first 57% of the time - but have only correctly picked the first team to score 37% of the time. That's a significant statistical oddity which is likely to even out, but, interestingly, it's balanced by the fact that SecondTicket fans have correctly picked the the coin toss 69% of the time. Both of those numbers should be 50%, making the odds of correctly picking both 1:4; when combined, they actually are 1:3.9, which is within the expected variable range.


TOMORROW: First Type of Scoring Play and Player to Score


Betting the Super Bowl Coin Toss

WRITER'S NOTE: This post, about betting the Super Bowl coin toss, is the first in a series about gaming and gambling leading up to Sunday's game, with supporting data from the six years of our Super Bowl pool. While some of what follows is based on the premise that bets involve financial consideration, please note that our pool is free to play.

Proposition bets - or prop bets - enable fans who don't know much about the teams to get in on Super Bowl action. According to ESPN writer Chad Millman's nice summary on the history of prop betting, more than 50% of all action in Vegas will be on prop bets. And on every single one of those bets, the casino takes a vigorish, or 'vig', which is the cost of placing a bet. It's usually 10%.

So while prop bets democratize the gaming process, betting on the coin toss is not considered to be one of the smart bets because in the long run, you'll win 50% of your bets - but pay a 10% vig. You're generally better served placing prop bets with longer odds, so at least you'll win 3:1 or 10:1 or 100:1 on your money if you win at all.

But if you DO want to bet the coin toss, here are some interesting Super Bowl coin toss historical facts:

-In the 46-year history of the Super Bowl, heads and tails have each come up 23 times (exactly 50%)

-Surprisingly, the NFC team has dominated the coin toss, winning 31 times (67%), including an incredible 14 consecutive coin tosses between 1998 and 2011.

-Since we added the coin toss to our pool two years ago, SecondTicket fans have picked "heads" 69% of the time. (They were right; it was heads both years.)

-Winning the coin toss does not necessarily correlate to winning the game; the team that won the coin toss has only won the game 22 times (48%)

-However, there may be a correlation between winning the coin toss and being the first team to score. That is the case 61% of the time - and that is the prop bet we'll cover tomorrow.


MONDAY: Betting the first team to score and type of first scoring play.


Introducing our Fan Of The Year Mega Pool

Over our first six years, more than 1,900 SecondTicket fans have played in our four annual pools and won more than $30,000 in tickets and other awards. In 2012 we began posting your point totals across all four pools (like this), but there was no extra bonus for having the most points during a calendar year.

This year there will be. When you play any of our pools - the WayCool Super Ticket PoolBracket Challenge Ticket JamAll-Star Ticket Slam, or Monday Night Ticket Score - your points will automatically count toward our new Fan Of The Year Mega Pool. The fan with the most combined points at the end of the year will be SecondTicket's Fan Of The Year and receive a $500 AMEX Gift Card and $100 credit that may be applied to any tickets on our site. Each individual pool will still feature its own prize schedule, including tickets, gift cards, and a conditional grand prize such as $5,000 or $10,000.  No additional Mega Pool registration by you is required.

Individual pool participation continues to be optional, of course, and we have structured each pool's point schedule so that even if you don't score well in all four pools, you could still win the Mega Pool. (On the Mega Pool page there's a chart showing the approximate point distributions.) The 2012 point leader was rolpol; he finished 94th in last year's Super Bowl pool. About 50-55% of the total points available during the year will be awarded in the Monday Night Ticket Score, and approximately 25-30% will be in the Bracket Challenge Ticket Jam. The scoring models for the WayCool Super Ticket Pool and the All-Star Ticket Slam have been reconfigured for 2013 to bring them closer to 8-10% each. The All-Star Ticket Slam is likely to be the lowest scoring pool but will also have the greatest potential for an enormous single-day point payoff and will likely have the largest gap between the highest scoring fan and lowest scoring fan. (For details, click here and scroll to 'All-Star Ticket Slam on Mega Pool').

We'd love your feedback about the Mega Pool and will continue posting about it during the year. It gets started next weekend; here's the registration link to our Super Bowl pool, which we'll begin writing about over the next couple of days. If you haven't submitted your five picks for the 49ers vs. the Ravens, now is a good time, as it's limited to the first 400 fans.

Thanks and good luck!


AL/NL Disparity Still Significant Despite Giants' Game 1 Win

The San Francisco Giants' mildly surprising win over Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series did little to affect the overall imbalance between the leagues.

Since the advent of the designated hitter in 1973 and the introduction of interleague play in 1997, the American League has won 52.5% of real games (non-All-Star games) between the leagues.

That number correlates pretty closely with the AL's win rate of actual World Series, which is 55% (21 of 38).

For all the talk about the need for instant replay, especially after the terrible call in game 2 of the ALCS between the Tigers and Yankees, we still say that the designated hitter remains the most serious compromise to baseball's competitive integrity.

We'd love your thoughts on our Facebook page.  Enjoy Game 2 tonight!


Ticket Resale is a Property Rights Issue

We've said all along that ticket resale, ultimately, is a property rights issue. We're pleased to read this article from the Daily Caller, which echoes our sentiments. We get that content producers must be compensated for their work, but we'll never understand why, once they have sold a ticket, they should be entitled to any downstream revenue from the sale of that ticket any more than any manufacturers of other goods are entitled to downstream revenue. Or why consumers shouldn't be able to do anything they'd like with a ticket.

Have a great weekend!


1st Time Winner in All-Star Ticket Slam

78 fans won a total of $490 in our 6th annual MLB All-Star Game pool, the All-Star Ticket Slam. The big winner was first time contestant PinstripesNY, of New York, who won the $200 AMEX Gift Card and $15 in free tickets. 

Melky Cabrera, Ryan Braun and Pablo Sandoval were the biggest producers for fans, winning them $10, $7 and $7, respectively.  ....

MLB's Problem with the All-Star Game

Every summer, fans debate whether Major League Baseball's (MLB) All-Star Game should determine home field advantage in the World Series. Some say that because it's an exhibition game, it's illogical to attach any importance to it. Others say it's good for casual fans because it makes the game more interesting. Our take is that until MLB addresses its bigger problem of competitive integrity, it might as well continue "making the game count".

It definitely makes it more interesting. When the Atlanta Braves' Brian McCann hit a bases loaded double to vault the National League (NL) to victory in the 2010 All-Star Game, his fist pump on 2nd base clearly illustrated the players' desire to win for their league. Any professional ballplayer worth his salt will take pride in his craft, even if his allegiance to his league over his team only rises to the surface one day a year.

So how much does it really impact the World Series? According to our calculations, one World Series out of every 100 is altered by it. How?

Other methods of assigning home field advantage, such as alternating annually between leagues, result in 50/50 distribution. Theoretically, even rewarding the team with the best overall record should yield a 50/50 result. So the question is, Does one league get home field advantage with disproportionate frequency because it's predisposed to win the All-Star Game more often?

Clearly, the answer is yes, although you wouldn't know it by studying recent history. Since MLB added home field advantage to the All-Star Game in 2003, the American League (AL) has won 78% of the All-Star Games but only 44% of the World Series. That's a negative correlation, but in a small sample size, so we dove deeper.

Since the designated hitter (DH) was added to AL rosters in 1973, the AL has virtually dominated head-to-head competition. It has won 53% of All-Star Games (20 of 38, with one tie), 54% of all World Series games (117 of 216), 55% of all World Series (21 of 38), and, since 1997, 52.5% of regular season interleague games (2,079 of 3,962).

At that rate, the AL will win 53 of the next 100 All-Star Games and have a 53-47 home field advantage rate in the next 100 World Series. Home field advantage manifests itself in Game 7 because games 1-6 are evenly split, so that translates to a total of six extra home games. The historical winning percentage of home teams in MLB is 54%. So if the AL wins four of those six Game 7s instead of three, that's one additional World Series title over a 100 year span.

Doesn't seem like much, but it underscores MLB's bigger problem of competitive integrity, two other examples of which include the imbalance caused by massive team salary disparities and the unbalanced schedule caused by having 16 NL teams and 14 AL teams. There are no easy answers to the complex salary disparity issue, and it's solving the schedule problem in 2013 by moving Houston to the AL. It's the DH rule that is the biggest problem, and it's time for MLB to fix it. Having AL and NL teams construct rosters differently - yet compete for the same championship - is like requiring half of a beauty pageant's contestants to compete in a bikini and the other half to compete in a one-piece suit. Regardless of the outcome, you're left wondering why they did it that way.

So until they figure out the DH thing, they might as well continue throwing competitive integrity to the wind and enhancing the fan experience by attaching additional significance to the All-Star Game.

Another way to enhance your All-Star Game experience is by playing our free baseball pool. Just pick four players in the game who you think will get lots of hits (and ideally, home runs and grand slams). Then watch the game and win stuff.


East Cobb Astros Win First SecondTicket GiVE Grant

The winners of our inaugural grant are the East Cobb Baseball Astros 9U Team, of Atlanta. SecondTicket fan Kennedy, a parent of one of the team's players, applied for the $500 award to cover equipment costs, competition entry fees and travel expenses.  ECB's mission is to teach the integrity of the game of baseball and help players learn life lessons associated with baseball.

Below is the team's video appeal to SecondTicket fans and check presentation. We'll follow up with them over the next 12 months to see how they're doing, and you may also visit the team's website.



SecondTicket's Scott Meach presents the East Cobb Astros with the first GiVE grant 


Do you own the tickets you bought?

Not Necessarily, so We're Supporting the Fan Freedom Project
I engage in conversations with fans about the legality and morality of ticket resale all the time, and they always boil down to a single question: Do you believe tickets you have purchased are your personal property, or do they remain the license and property of the event producer?  By extension, should you be able to sell, give away, or otherwise transfer them in any manner and at any price you wish, or should you be restricted by the resale or transfer restrictions imposed by the licensor?

New, paperless ticketing technology is causing the topic of ticket resale to reemerge in state and federal lawmaking assemblies.  For years, resale legislation was written primarily to protect event producers (for example, by implementing restrictions on reselling a ticket within a certain proximity to a venue).  Now, however, it's finally being considered - rightly, we believe - as a property rights issue.

Fan Freedom Project is a consumer rights initiative designed to educate consumers and legislators about the importance of sustaining a free market with regard to ticket transferability.  Its president, Jon Potter (bio here), previously advocated for consumer-friendly digital media innovators such as iTunes and YouTube.  Its website does a great job (especially this page) elaborating on the frustrating scenarios caused by transferability limitations.

Ticketmaster also advocates for its position in the name of 'consumer-friendliness', claiming its technology prevents consumers from being victims of 'overpriced' or fraudulent tickets.  But whether a ticket is 'properly' or 'over' priced is a term relative to the opinion of the buyer; as I previously blogged, 40% of all ticket resale occurs below the ticket's original cost, so in those cases, restrictive resale policies would prevent you from getting a 'good deal'.  As for fraudulent tickets, well, that can be an issue if you buy them on the street, but not if you buy them in a regulated resale market.

If you fall on the personal property side of the discussion and wish to support consumer rights, I encourage you to visit the Fan Freedom Project's take action page.  Join its mailing list, like it on Facebook, or write your legislator. 
 
We understand that some event producers attempt to restrict ticket resale because they believe resale dollars should flow to the artist or team and because they want to know the end-user of a ticket.  To argue, however, that third-party resale 'robs' the artist or team is counterintuitive to a free market system.  Third-party ticket resale does not 'rob' artists and teams any more than the resale of your car 'robs' General Motors or the resale of your blue jeans at a consignment store 'robs' Levis.  And it's fine if they want to create their own resale marketplaces so they may know the end-user; many have.  But don't prohibit me from selling my tickets elsewhere if I choose.

Dallas Super Bowl Ticket Snafu

The most common question I've received the past couple of weeks has been whether any SecondTicket fans were among the 1,250 jilted out of their Super Bowl seats in Dallas - 400 of which were not given alternate seats. The short answer: no.

All 1,250 seats were among several thousand 'auxiliary' seats constructed by the NFL and Dallas Cowboys solely for the Super Bowl. It's been reported that the buildout of those seats was a function of Jerry Jones' selfish interest in breaking the all-time Super Bowl attendance record. That may or may not be true, but what is true is that the NFL adds temporary seats to Super Bowl stadiums every year.  Temporary seating isn't limited to the most distant corners of a stadium, either; this year's configuration included auxiliary seats in the 200, 300 and 400 levels.

It might be helpful to read our 2010 blog about zone seats and the Super Bowl ticket market in general before reading further, but essentially, 'zone' seats are a way of enabling customers to buy tickets on their timeline, even if actual tickets are not yet available in the marketplace.  By purchasing zone seats, customers eliminate price uncertainty and are guaranteed seats within predefined categories such as Lower Level Midfield or Club Level Corner.  Brokers then secure those tickets, regardless of their actual cost, when they become available closer to the event.

The most common football zone purchase, and usually the least expensive, is Upper Level Endzone (ULE). Technically, by the week of the game, the 400-level auxiliary seats were located within the ULE zone, and they were available at a lower price point than adjacent non-auxiliary seats.  But for many of our customers, the auxiliary seats had not been announced at the time of their purchase, so in our opinion, they were ineligible for use as ULE seats.  We did not feel it was right to provide customers with temporary seating unless they had specifically purchased it.

As a result, we did upgrade one customer, at our cost, when a pair of ULE tickets we had already purchased became unavailable the night before the game.

Thoughts or questions?  We'd love your feedback.  Please contact us or post on our Facebook page.  Thanks!

Introducing GiVE

In the four years since SecondTicket launched, I have been privileged to contribute to many exciting events in our customers' lives.  Being a part of surprise gifts, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and father/son or mother/daughter bonding opportunities has been very gratifying.
 
But I've never been more excited than I am in announcing the fifth and final piece of our fan community: Give.  This new program enables you to donate unused ticket credits back to SecondTicket which we will award to youth programs such as teams, choirs and theater groups.  Buy. Sell. Play. Win. Give.

Give's exact details are still being finalized, but your existing credits - and any new ones earned in our Super Bowl pool, for which registration begins next week - will likely be eligible for donation within 30 days of their expiration date.  Application and award guidelines will be formally announced later in Q1.

Give has been in SecondTicket's plans since 2007 but has been really percolating recently.  Last year, we declined several worthwhile appeals from customers who were fundraising for their child's organization.  It's no fun saying no, but we knew we were getting close to yes.  The growth of our fan community has finally enabled us to put enough resources behind it to do it right.

SecondTicket enters its 5th year extremely grateful not only to our clients and customers, but also to our friends, partners and vendors who have helped us create a truly unique ticket marketplace.  Over the next five years and beyond, we look forward to being an active corporate citizen in the lives of our customers and their children through Give.
 
If you have thoughts or questions about Give or any other SecondTicket program, I'd love to hear them.  You may reach me by email, by phone at 404-474-0458, or by posting a comment on SecondTicket's Facebook page.

Long Lead Times? Get Used to It.

Tickets for Michael Jackson's Cirque du Soleil went on sale on TicketMaster last week.  Fans are ecstatic - for the most part.  The appetite for The King of Pop's material is insatiable; This Is It, the movie about his subsequently scuttled 2009 concert series, is the highest grossing documentary / concert film of all time and went on to earn $261 million.
 
Tempering the overall enthusiasm, however, is the fact that Cirque is asking fans to shell out cash 12 to 20 months in advance of the tour.  Twitter fans are commenting "Bought tickets...  Not too happy with the fact I have to wait a year to see it though," and "[MJ/Cirque] ... is 4/3/2012. Tickets on sale now wtf?" or "'When does it play in Miami? March 2012! WTF??'
 
Welcome to live entertainment's new business model.  Since nobody buys records anymore (or at least, most people don't), tours have become a more important part of the music industry's revenue mix.  That makes show production even more important - and expensive.  Advance ticket sales can help fund a show's production, or at least improve an event promoter's balance sheet by transferring some of the financial risk during production.  The 20 month lead time for the MJ/Cirque show is extreme, but other examples abound.  Tickets for Lady Gaga's 2011 North American tour went on sale 9-11 months early.  Tickets for Roger Waters' The Wall Live were available 6-8 months in advance.
 
Long-term sales windows aren't exclusive to the music industry.  In fact, it's been happening in the sports industry even longer.  Season ticket revenue is a critical piece of any professional team's cash flow because it is secured well before the season starts, often for games that won't be played for 8-10 months.
 
At some point, fans become unable or unwilling to absorb any more of an event's future cost.  One fan considering attending the Atlanta MJ/Cirque show in June, 2012, told us, "I can't buy those; I don't know what I'm doing in June."  And she thought it was in June 2011.
 
Event producers have become more strategic and sophisticated in ticket sales in recent years, but they understand there's a limit to how long fans can tie up their money.  So, increasingly, they are turning to a market segment that can 'buy and hold': ticket brokers.
  
Many teams and venues now have sales representatives at least partially dedicated to the broker market selling customized sales packages that are generally too large for most fans.  Usually these packages require a larger season ticket purchase in exchange for access to additional tickets for the best games on the schedule.  They may also include early access or first rights of refusal during other presale windows.
 
It's a risk-transfer game.  Event producers need to move tickets; fans are not ready to buy tickets; so a middle market emerges to satisfy that gap in supply and demand.  In this way, resale markets provide a valuable consumer benefit often overlooked in the conversation about an industry still frequently referred to by fans as 'scalping'.  Without it, some events couldn't be produced and some fans would be out their money longer.
 
If you are interested in seeing Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL tour, we recommend first checking ticket availability in the primary market (TicketMaster or the venue box office).  If you don't like what you see, turn to the secondary market, where selection and price are generally more transparent.  You may pay more than the ticket's original cost - or maybe not, as we discuss here - but there's also value in holding on to your money for an additional one or five or 18 months.
 
Of course, at SecondTicket we are happy to help whenever the time is right for you.

Value of a Dynamic Market

"Is the economy hurting your business?  I assume people have less money to spend on tickets these days."
 
This is a relevant question and natural assumption for any type of business.  The fundamental shakeup of entire industries and businesses has left many people out of work, or, at best, with less disposable income.  The secondary ticket market, as an industry, has not been immune to that.
 
But most people perceive sport, concert and theater ticket resale as a marketplace dominated by expensive, premium seating, which, at best, is an incomplete perception.  It is true that great seats are available in the secondary ticket market at price points above the ticket's original cost.  But most events also have seating in every level and corner, in rows near and far, of the venue.
 
Here's a surprising fact: 40% of all ticket resale occurs at or below the ticket's original price*.  So, depending on the event, the dynamic pricing inherent to the secondary ticket market can deliver tremendous consumer value.
 
Congruent to the struggling economy has been increased legislative attention toward the secondary ticket market, as this recent New York law demonstrates.  While scrutinizing the industry, legislators have realized that the secondary market provides an important free market function of dynamic pricing.  And because this has happened during a time in which disposable income is down across the board, the economy has actually been good for the ticket resale industry.
 
Difficult economies also inspire innovation, and at SecondTicket we engage our fans with a unique loyalty program that has helped fans win more than $20,000 in free tickets.  If you are on a limited budget or simply want to receive more value for your purchase, you can save money on tickets by playing in our free fan contests and registering your orders for our rebate program.  And saving money - that's a good idea in good economic times or bad.

*Sucharita Mulpuru and Peter Hult, The Future of Online Secondary Ticketing: A Forecast of US Online Secondary Ticket Sales, 2007 to 2012, Forrester Research, as reprinted by the New York State Department of State in its Report on Ticket Reselling and Article 25 of the Arts & Cultural Affairs Law on February 1, 2010.


Our Thoughts on Ticket Stuff

Marlins Sell Tickets to a Game That's Already Over
On June 1, the Florida Marlins began selling tickets to a game that had already happened.  Huh?
 
Three days earlier, Roy Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in baseball history, so the Marlins began selling previously unsold tickets as souvenirs.  Ahh, ok.  Makes sense, except that, usually, commemorative tickets are sold by the team that accomplished the feat.  But whatever.  The Marlins are a low revenue team, and if ideas like this help them retain some of their young talented players, we're all for it.  The Marlins sold more than 3,000 tickets in the first few hours - not bad.
 
We'll leave most of the commentary to others, such as this Miami Herald writer's take that the Marlins have finally figured out how to make money from people not attending their games.  And this piece is clever, but the author raises a question about the devaluation of tickets that people actually bought and used in advance that got us thinking.
 
Logically, the addition of additional items into a marketplace devalues existing items.  But by how much?  Would new, unused tickets be worth more or less than comparable tickets that fans actually used?  We decided to find out by analyzing actual sales from one of the internet's great marketplaces, Ebay, using the search "halladay perfect game ticket".  We reviewed 20 sales, which is not a big sample size, but for the sake of this column, it's enough to give us a general idea.
 
Three types of game tickets were issued: 1) full color card stock tickets with a photo of a Marlins player, generally only issued to season ticket holders (STHs); 2) generic TicketMaster versions, which are the only kind for sale now; and 3) electronically-deliverable tickets printed on standard copy paper.
 
There was no statistically significant cost differential between used vs. unused tickets of any of the three types.  However, if you are a collector, the full color card stock tickets are clearly the most desirable; most were selling for more than the original ticket price.  TicketMaster versions are mostly selling below their original cost, regardless of whether that ticket was at the stadium during the game.  So if you bought some as an investment after the game... it was probably a bad investment.

Would Officiating Perfection Be Good or Bad?
In the aftermath of the Armando Galarraga near-perfect game, we ask: If human officials were removed entirely from competition - and not just sports, but any competition, including, for example, American Idol - and 100% of all officiating decisions were made by technology (including, but not limited to, replay), would you be more or less likely to buy a ticket?
  • Argument for more: Games would take less time and the game's outcome would be more accurate.
  • Argument for less: The removal of a human officiating element is the first step toward completely desensitizing us to live competition.
  •  
    Another Fan Buys Fake Tickets on Craigslist
    Here's a story about another Craigslist ticket scam, this time for tickets to the NBA Finals.  Such occurrences are rare, but again we are compelled to suggest that, generally speaking, the money to be saved buying tickets on Craigslist is not worth the risks, time and inconveniences of doing so.  However, as a convenience, here is our guide to buying tickets on Craigslist, originally published last month.

    Risks of Shopping on Craigslist

    If you really must try Craigslist for tickets, at least let us share some advice, as two recent incidents underscore the risks associated with using online classified ad website Craigslist.
     
    The first story, reported on CNN.com, had a fatally tragic outcome.  The second involved a Lady Gaga fan purchasing fraudulent concert tickets.  Run a Google search on 'Craigslist risks' and more than one million results are returned.
     
    Incidents of crime conducted through Craigslist are low, and the intent of this blog isn't to disparage Craigslist; we even use it occasionally, and there are good deals to be had.  But considering the far greater value available through retail websites (including, but not limited to, SecondTicket), often at comparable prices, we recommend only dealing with legitimate ticket businesses.
     
    That said, if you still wish use Craigslist to buy tickets, here's our advice (in addition to Craigslist's general safety precautions):

  • To ensure the tickets are real, ask the seller for an original purchase order, invoice, or copy thereof (sellers may wish to darken out sensitive information such as credit card numbers).  Be wary of buying from anyone unable to produce this kind of document.
  • If the tickets are E-Tickets, ask the seller the process by which he took original delivery (such as logging in to a team or TicketMaster account, etc.).  Color copies of E-Tickets are easily reproduceable, so a seller unable to describe the original delivery process may not be legitimate.
  • Get a phone number where you may reach the seller at the time of the event.  If there is a problem with your tickets (which can legitimately happen), usually only the original purchaser is authorized to deal with the venue's box office or have them reissued.
  • Ignore sellers who suggest the only way to finalize a deal is 'through an Ebay agent'.  There's no such thing.  If there was, they'd be selling them on Ebay already!
  • A majority of Craigslist ticket ads are posted by professional ticket resellers anyway.  If you want to buy from them, fine, but if that's the case, you're better served buying from that company's website in the first place.
  • To filter through those professional sellers' listings, it's best to consider listings where the seller includes a name, phone number and a reason why the tickets are not being used.

    Thoughts or questions?  Email or call us at 404-474-0458.  Have fun!


  • Why Resale Markets Exist

    It is a fundamental economic principle that resale markets for any consumer product exist because of the popularity of the item, not the existence of businesses or individuals seeking to profit on the resale of the item.  Those entities emerge only as a byproduct, because it is safer for consumers to purchase items in resale markets from established, licensed operators than in an economic underground.
     
    This concept applies to tickets no differently than any other product, and we are constantly amazed by opponents of ticket resale who simply do not acknowledge this fact.  We will never understand why entities in the primary market of ticket distribution such as teams, artists, promoters, venues, and technology companies such as TicketMaster attempt to restrict ticket resale with new technology and policy.
     
    It's simple math!  Let's use the recent Miley Cyrus tour as an example and assume a venue holds 20,000 people, and in a major metropolitan city such as Atlanta, 40,000 'tweeners' want to see Cyrus.  Instantly, a market of 20,000 fans seeking to buy tickets in a resale market is created, before one broker or fan ever puts any tickets up for sale.  And that's before the promoter's 'holdbacks' (an allotment regularly withheld from public onsales for fan clubs, promotions, house use, etc.) are backed out.  Let's say that's 2,000 seats, which increases the size of the resale market to 22,000 fans.
     
    Maybe those estimates are high.  But even if there are 100 fans who get shut out of the original onsale, there's still a market.  And inevitably, fans who did get tickets will be unable to use them.  So of course there are going to be people willing to pay market value for tickets, and of course there will be folks who need to sell.  Restricting resale and transferability is anti-consumer and goes against the fabric of a capitalist economy.

    The Deal with Super Bowl Tickets

    EDITOR'S NOTE:  The premise of our position in this article is that resale markets exist because of the popularity of events, not because of ticket brokers or fans seeking to profit from tickets.  (To read our full length position on this topic, here.)
    One of the most important benefits of the secondary ticket market is that it fills two fundamental economic principles:
    1. It enables consumers to buy tickets on their timeline, not the timeline of the event producer.
    2. It enables consumers without access to a product by the event producer's terms to have access to a product.

    The NFL frowns on these principles by discouraging the resale of Super Bowl tickets and withholding their distribution for as long as possible.  We believe its efforts are misguided and that, in fact, its tightly controlled Super Bowl ticket distribution actually contributes to the high prices within the resale market.
     
    Super Bowl tickets are allocated in varying percentages to the following groups:
    1. League and Super Bowl sponsors
    2. Season ticket holders of participating teams
    3. The 30 non-participating NFL teams.  The host team receives about 3,000; non-competing teams get about 700
    4. NFL Super Bowl lottery winners
    5. Residents of the host city
     
    Distribution dates vary by group.  Season ticket holders from participating teams can not be given the opportunity to buy tickets until the participating teams are determined, so usually those tickets do not get into people's hands until the week of the game.  And it is reasonable for the NFL to hold back some tickets to fulfill unforeseen late developing league or sponsor needs.
     
    But it is also reasonable to suggest that the more predictable (or even fixed) quantities, such as those awarded via the random fan lottery and to local residents (if any), could be shipped well in advance.  Traditionally, they were shipped in mid-January, but this year, for the first time, the NFL is requiring lottery-winning fans to pick up the tickets in the host city (Miami) beginning four days before the game and capping the number of times the fan may change the name of the person picking up the tickets at one.  
     
    For fans unable to wait until one or two weeks before the game, there is little choice but to buy tickets before they're actually distributed - an environment the NFL exacerbates by withholding them longer than necessary.  Hence, the need for 'Zone' seating is created.  When you buy tickets within a Zone (not just for the Super Bowl, but for any event) you are essentially buying a promise of seats within a certain location or better.  For example, 'Upper End' refers to tickets in the upper endzone.  'Lower Side' refers to seats within a predetermined few sections no worse than the goal line in the lower level.
     
    This is a common practice in the resale market, but often causes consumer confusion as to how prices are established and why they can not be told the location of the seats until closer to the event.  Zone prices are established by sellers based on estimated acquisition costs closer to the game.  If they guess wrong, they can assume a significant cost hit, which is why consumers should only buy from trusted sellers such as licensed brokers.
     
    The benefit to consumers is 'cost certainty' - locking in a price before market conditions change in exchange for accepting a minimum seat location instead of particular seats.

    Our Take on Paperless Ticketing

    You may have heard about Miley Cyrus's recent tour announcement or the controversy surrounding her joint plan with TicketMaster to utilize paperless ticketing and 4 ticket purchase limits.  No tickets will be printed or mailed in advance.  Instead, the purchaser must show a photo ID and their credit card at the venue, at which time all members of their party must be present and enter at the same time.  (The purchaser does not actually have to attend the show.)
     
    Controversy surrounded Cyrus's 2007 Hannah Montana tour when tickets resold for many times their face price.  Some disappointed consumers and legislators held ticket brokers accountable for driving up prices and keeping out real fans.  Paperless ticketing is TicketMaster's attempt at introducing cutting edge technology which benefits consumers by keeping tickets out of the hands of brokers.
     
    Ticket Market Impact
    Paperless ticketing should reduce supply in the secondary market, but as a result, demand and prices may be higher.  For most high profile concerts and sporting events, the total number of interested fans exceeds the total number of tickets.  Making tickets paperless and nontransferrable will not change that.
     
    Let's assume a venue holds 20,000 people and in a major metropolitan city, 50,000 'tweeners' want to see Cyrus.  Artists and event producers regularly withhold some tickets from the public onsale for their fan clubs, promotions, house use, etc.  Neither they nor TicketMaster are required to disclose the number of tickets held back, but let's say it's 2,000.  In fact, this recent announcement that tickets in the first 25 rows of Cyrus's shows will be bundled with additional VIP benefits and made available through ILoveAllAccess.com is an example of tickets held back.
     
    So that makes 18,000 tickets available in the onsale, and let's say all 18,000 tickets go to fans.  That leaves 32,000 people looking for tickets in a secondary market.
     
    Let's also calculate that 10% of concert attendees will be guardians who would not have attended if tickets could have been transferred to a guardian who is a fan, such as an older sibling.  This is an ironic side effect of Cyrus's desire to keep tickets in the hands of 'fans', because it reduces the number of available tickets for 'fans' down to 16,200 and increases the number of fans locked out to 33,800.  That's the demand side.
      
    On average, only about 10% of the tickets for any major event ever reach the secondary market.  But for a paperless ticket event, resale activity is reduced because transferrability is restricted, so let's say only 5% of the tickets reach the secondary market.  This leaves 1,000 available tickets for 33,800 fans, not 2,000 for 30,000.
     
    Paperless ticketing also creates the possibility of longer lines at the venue and the inevitable situation in which some fans are unexpectedly unable to attend the concert - and left with no capacity for recouping their costs by reselling their tickets.
     
    SecondTicket's Opinion
    Obviously, we have no problem with technology that benefits consumers.  Our problem is with the argument that the secondary market is bad for fans and caused by unscrupulous brokers, when in fact the market is created by the artist's popularity and brokers serve an important market function.
     
    Cyrus herself acknowledges that her tickets have greater value than their face price, since ILoveAllAccess.com is owned by her management group, Front Line Management (which, in turn. is owned by TicketMaster)!  So she's withholding the best seats, marking them up, and selling them through a different distribution channel.  We have no problem with that; she is entitled to as much money as she can get. 
     
    But it is disengenous to position paperless tickets as an attempt to eliminate ticket resales (or at least reduce resale prices).  Nor should they position them as being 'fan-friendly' without acknowledging the limitations of nontransferrability.  And they should not hold ticket brokers accountable for keeping 'real fans' out of the shows.  We would ask it this way: Is a 'real fan' someone able to get in line at 10:00am on a Saturday or who is willing to pay whatever it takes to see the artist?
     
    Our Advice
    Parents hoping to take their children to a Miley Cyrus concert should try to get tickets during the primary market onsale.  We also suggest buying the maximum permitted (4) and allowing your child to bring a friend(s) or reselling them to finance the rest of your outing.  And if you have to go to the secondary market, buy from a licensed broker so you know they will be accountable for fulfilling the order.

    What Furniture & Tickets Have in Common

    By now you may have heard about Jordan's Furniture, the Boston-area chain which offered rebates to customers who bought furniture in the spring if the Red Sox won the 2007 World Series.  Well, now that it's happened, Jordan's will be paying out more than $20 million in rebates - but don't feel sorry for them.  They'll be cashing in on an insurance policy which they placed before the season.  Click here for another story about it.

     

    Why is this relevant to you as a SecondTicket fan?

    You may or may not be aware of this, but we're already doing the same kind of rebate promotion.  The conditional event is different, but we also have an insurance policy against it - and we WANT it to happen!

    What's the conditional event?

    The 2nd half kickoff of college football's championship game in New Orleans on January 7, 2008.

    If that kickoff is returned for a touchdown, every SecondTicket fan making a qualified purchase between August 13, 2007 and January 7, 2008 will receive a rebate on the 'second ticket' of their purchase.

    Some fans have commented how unlikely it is... but we would ask: would you rather have the chance at free tickets, or not?  It's worth mentioning - since this article was originally posted on Halloween - that buying tickets should be fun, not scary or intimidating like it is on many ticket websites.  SecondTicket adds fun into the ticket transaction.

    And not only have the Red Sox proven it can happen, but last year Ohio State returned the 1st half kickoff of college football's championship game against Florida for a touchdown!

    If you are a fan who has already made a qualifying SecondTicket purchase, you do not need to do anything further.  Your eligible rebate is on posted to your fan account, and additional future purchases are also rebate-eligible (up to a total of $50,000 in rebates).