Introducing SwapSeats: A marketplace exclusively for season ticket holders.

Kurt Cunningham
Jul 24, 2018 · 6 min read
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Just a heads up, I’m going to start this post off with a personal story. If you’re not interested and just want to learn more about the product we are working on, please feel free to jump forward. 😄

In 2013, after years of waiting, I won the lottery. Well, not the lottery, lottery. But the season ticket waitlist lottery. Finally, I received the opportunity to purchase tickets for the upcoming Chicago Bulls season.

Having just come off of a Derrick Rose-less second-round playoff loss the previous season to Lebron James and his Miami Heat, I couldn’t have been more excited. The Bulls would be getting their MVP back and were primed for a deep playoff run. Beyond my excitement to own tickets to such a prestigious organization, I saw dollar signs — 💵.

“What an investment,” I told myself the entire summer.

Having done my research, I found I could sell just over half of my tickets to cover the cost of the entire season, make some money and see plenty of good basketball.

Those good vibes lasted exactly 11 games. After making a quick cut, Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee and for the next several seasons thereafter he never regained his MVP form — yes, we can debate his stats and whether or not he should have really won the MVP in a different thread.

What’s the point of this story?

For the past five years, I’ve been a Chicago Bulls season ticket holder and during that time I’ve only recouped the cost of the tickets once and even then I didn’t break even as they made the playoffs — these tickets are extra, but mandatory if you plan on keeping your tickets for the next season.

This past season the Chicago Bulls organization decided it was time to fully rebuild the roster. 😱

As a fan, I said, “It’s about damn time.” As a season ticket holder, I said, “Damnit!”

With no big stars on the team and only owning two seats, it was going to be difficult to sell my tickets. I didn’t have enough seats to entice my friends with kids to purchase my tickets and my single friends had better things to do with their time. Totally understandable.

It was time to get crafty, I thought. That’s when I started to talk to the individuals who own season tickets around me. Some own two seats like me, others own four. They too were having a difficult time finding people to buy or take their tickets.

Then it hit me, why not just trade or swap tickets?

The Big Idea.

Re-selling, donating or giving tickets away, are the three primary ways of offloading games a ticket holder doesn’t plan on attending. While in most cases, this is fine. But what happens when the team isn’t any good, the game happens to be on a Tuesday night or you only own two instead of four seats?

The tickets go to waste more often than not.

What if there was a better way? What if there was a way to attend games for a different franchise or sport without having to pay any extra money?

This is where SwapSeats comes into play.

Its goal is to provide season tickets holders with a cashless marketplace to trade, swap and barter their tickets.

I know. I know. Seems a bit crazy and pointless. But hear me out.

In a given league, there are a handful of teams that bring true value to their season ticket holders. These teams are typically coming off a championship season, a deep playoff run, or struck gold during free agency. Their ticket holders have little to no problem making money during the season off their tickets because their stock is high. The other franchises, however, rely on gimmicks and giveaways to excite fans.

With the exception of the NFL, sports seasons are long. MLB teams play 162 games. NBA teams play 82 games. NHL teams play 82 games. MLS teams play … I don’t know, but you get my point. This count doesn’t include the playoff games for each sport if a team makes it.

As a season ticket holder, you’re on the hook for all of the home games. From personal experience, I can tell you I have not attended all 41 home games in a single season. Though, if you are a season ticket holder veteran and do attend all of the games, please contact me. I have so many questions.

Living just outside of Chicago, I’m fortunate enough to have access to 2 MLB teams, 1 NFL team, 1 NBA team, 1 NHL team, and 1 MLS team. This stat doesn’t even take into consideration the college teams in the area.

But it’s not just Chicago that has multiple sports teams. Almost every major city in the United States has more than one sports team. It’s important to note this because this means there are thousands of season ticket holders who face the same problems.

Instead of letting your tickets go to waste or taking less than their face value, while not swap them with another certified season ticket holder? This would give you the opportunity to:

  • Bring additional friends or co-workers to a game
  • Upgrade your seats for a night at no additional cost
  • Experience a sporting event or venue you’ve never been to
  • Catch a game when you’re on vacation
  • Build a network of friends who are interested in maximizing their tickets

Why build this product?

Not sold yet? Let’s take a look a few use cases we have considered while building features for this product.

Need extra seating

By far the most common use case we have run into when planning the design and development of this product is users who say they need extra seats for one or two games a year.

While it’s not worth it or it’s not in their budget to own four seats for the entire year, it would certainly be nice to be able to double date, bring extra friends or have a night out with co-workers once a year.

How do we solve this problem? SwapSeats allows users to build a network of friends who they trust. Then users can initial trades to obtain more seating for a game. In my case, I’m lucky enough to have met the individuals sitting next to me. We swap tickets all season long. It allows us to have four tickets for a given night vs the two we typically occupy.

Traveling for business or vacation

Wouldn’t it be great if you could meet season ticket holders who live in different states? I travel to Indianapolis several times a year and each time I visit my co-worker and I attend a Pacers basketball game. We end up buying tickets each time and something always felt wrong about that to me.

I already pay to see the Pacers play at least twice a season. I’m sure there is a season ticket holder in Indianapolis who is going to travel to Chicago at some point during the season. What if we could connect and just swap tickets. They can take a January game and maybe I take a December game from them.

Experiencing a sporting event

The last use case, though there certainly are hundreds more, is exchanging tickets across leagues. Really want to go to a baseball game? I’m sure there is someone willing to trade for hockey or basketball tickets.

Final Thoughts

On the surface, the concept seems easy and straightforward. Use your tickets as currency and find other users willing to trade one, two, three, etc. games with you.

But we are sure issues will arise and that’s why we want to hear from you.

What do you think?

Interested in signing up for the beta release, add your name to our waitlist. Head over to and sign up. We will reach out to you when you have been selected to test the product out.

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