Chances are, most people have gone online to purchase a ticket to an event. In this age, where most everything has gone digital, online ticketing has become the preferred way for consumers to attend their favorite entertainment. The days of cash sales at the ticket gate are becoming increasingly few, and soon will be completely obsolete — -unless you’re attending a high school event, where cash sales remain the primary method of payment. Nate Nale, co-founder of HomeTown Ticketing, is working hard to change the game for those high schools as well.
HomeTown Ticketing, a division of Easy Peasy Ticketing, provides high schools with an all-encompassing system that not only allows fans to purchase online, but also gives the school’s athletic department a sales summary in real time. Gone are the days of Excel sheets and bank runs to deposit cash. With HomeTown Ticketing leading the way, school events are receiving the same treatments as a Beyoncé concert or a Buckeye football game.
Beginning with Pickerington Central’s Theatre department last year, HomeTown Ticketing has simplified everything about attendance at school functions. With Pickerington Central serving as a guinea pig of sorts, Nale and his team were able to see just how many issues school administrations face, and were able to adjust accordingly.
“Pickerington Central has been instrumental in helping guide us in what the different problems are with the school systems in general,” Nale says. “That has enabled my team and I to develop the technology and processes to automate everything and save them the time and headaches.”
Near the top of the list of headaches would be the chance for miscounting or misplacing of the money received, among so many other things that could go wrong during the process of getting the money and it reaching its destination. Nale is certain an automated system would alleviate any and all concerns at a school’s department and district levels.
“We can provide a better fan experience, get people in their seats faster, as well as provide invaluable data and peace of mind to the schools.”
“There’s so much that can happen from the time you get the money at an event to it reaching the district office,” says Nale. “We can provide a better fan experience, get people in their seats faster, as well as provide invaluable data and peace of mind to the schools.”
The fan experience is as simple as visiting the school’s website, where HomeTown embeds their software. The buyer never leaves the site throughout the entire process, providing an added sense of security and comfortability. There is no sacrifice in the quality of the transaction either, as the HomeTown experience even offers to-scale seat maps of a school venues, allowing buyers to either purchase general admission seats or pick specific reserved seats in the same way they would on Ticketmaster.
HomeTown’s technology has been developed entirely in-house, a luxury that allows them to have full control over their product as they continue to advance, as well as if any issues were to arise.
“Farming out development on the platform to a third party might have helped us get some of our software to market faster, but potentially at a much higher cost,” says Wesley Haines, co-founder and CTO at HomeTown. “That would put me in a position to manage a team who isn’t invested in the success of our platform. I prefer to be in the trenches with my team, envisioning and then building new concepts, and being very responsive to feedback and any issues that arise.”
With everything HomeTown Ticketing brings to the table — -the extensive data collected for districts, the hands-on construction of their systems, and the simple buying experience for fans — -the obvious questions remain: what does it costs a school to use this system, and what fees are attached to each ticket? The answers to those questions could be HomeTown’s most effective sales point available.
“There is zero money taken from the schools, and we don’t make them sign a contract.”
“There is zero money taken from the schools, and we don’t make them sign a contract,” Nale says. “Our fee is one dollar per ticket, which gets pulled out automatically. The school’s funds get sent straight to the district’s bank account. Everyone thinks that’s too good to be true. It costs us money to onboard a new account, but we’re in this for the long haul.”
HomeTown’s value to a school doesn’t stop at athletic, music or theatre events. They handled tickets for Pickerington Central’s prom last year, and have had schools approach them about dances this year as well. There is an added layer of security built into the HomeTown system as it pertains to attendance at school events. Their system gives real time updates of who is entering the events, based on their scanned tickets, and they can also do exit scans, marking the names and times as students leave a function.
Shortly after Pickerington Central jumped onboard, three more schools integrated: Lima Senior High School, Shelby High School and Willard High School. Nale sees those additions to their network as just the beginning for HomeTown Ticketing.
“We get in there at the administrative level, and once they see how well it works, it gets pushed up to the district level,” he says.
“Once we’re integrated at the district level, it really spreads. We want to get to entire conferences, and then eventually statewide.”
The potential to move throughout Ohio, as well as into other states, has taken a big step forward after the partnership with Shelby High School. Kevin Calver, who is the vice principal at Shelby, is also the founder and president of the High School Athletic Director Network. After seeing how efficient their programs operated, Calver made HomeTown the official sponsor of the HSAD Network. The partnership puts Nale in front of 600 schools across six states.
Their goals don’t end with high schools, however. HomeTown is currently going through the necessary compliance requirements as they ready to add their first Division 1 college in Bowling Green State University. Nale has also been in talks with local schools, such as Otterbein University, who still relies on cash ticket sales.
From single-game tickets to season passes, and every other school function in between, HomeTown is taking the ticketing game by storm. With in-depth data offered to their clients, and essentially no risks involved, Nale and Haines appear to be on the verge of something special at HomeTown Ticketing. They have the confidence to match the product, and Nale makes no qualms about where he sees the company spreading in years to come.
“Everywhere,” he says emphatically. “We’ve only just begun. We know once a school is in, they’re not going to leave. Why would they?”