Buying tickets for concerts and sporting events has never been the easiest process. Thanks to Rukkus, the hassle is gone and we can now use virtual reality to find the perfect seat.
“Anyone who’s attended a concert, musical, or sports event knows that buying a ticket can sometimes be a hassle,” says Manick Bhan, Founder and CTO of Rukkus. “Fees pile up, websites falter, and it’s hard to tell if you’ll be able to download the ticket to your phone or if you’ll have to track down a printer.”
After leaving a position as a quantitative analyst at Goldman Sachs in 2012, Bhan began building the first iteration of Rukkus based on his belief that there was a need for a more transparent and informative ticketing platform. In 2013, Bhan founded Rukkus as a next-generation ticket marketplace and this year he introduced VR to the $30 billion a year ticket industry.
In February 2014, the Rukkus app launched offering 2D views of seats while purchasing tickets. Their new, Seat360 feature utilizes gyroscope driven panoramic 360° seat views, allowing users to fully experience their seat location before purchasing.
The idea for Seat360 came about out after receiving an overwhelming response from customers who wanted to see an image of exactly where they’d be sitting.
“We saw it as a way to take Rukkus a step further and give customers the experiencer of sitting in the seat before buying,” says Jake Adelman, Digital Marketing Manager at Rukkus.
Adelman explains there is a lot of negativity toward ticket sites, such as StubHub, as being resellers. Rukkus wants to take that negativity away from the process, in order to make it as transparent as possible.
With the Seat360 feature, Rukkus is the first e-commerce platform to allow users to make a purchase with the aid of VR.
“This immersive functionality will be the single biggest innovation in the ticket buying space since the first seat map was introduced,” says Adelman. “150 million fans purchase tickets each year, taking a leap of faith that they’ll enjoy their seats. Nothing else exists to give more transparency to a ticket buyer. The days of showing up to an event only to find you have obstructed views is over.”
It took a year in the making of the Seat360 feature—Adelman says they used a combination of their team members and some “very dedicated fans out in venues.” Using their own 3D camera rigs, they were able to capture all the photos and stitch those images together using software.
In the app, you’re able to browse or search for sporting events, concerts and theater performances. When you click on the event you’re interested in, you’ll see a map of the venue with your ticket options, so it feels similar to the process you’re used to.
However, as you click on the tickets you’re interested in, you’ll see an image appear depicting what the view from that particular seat is like. It truly is an immersive VR, as you’re able to move around, see your surroundings, and make sure the view isn’t obstructed.
If you’re not into apps, the Seat360 feature is also available on the Rukkus website. For example, you can view seats at AT&T Park for an upcoming Giants game in San Francisco.
Depending on your location, the Seat360 feature might not yet be offered for all MLB stadiums and concert venues. If the VR feature is not available, you will instead see a 2D still image.
Adelman notes the Seat360 feature is live for all NBA and NHL arenas, but that only about half of MLB stadiums are currently up. The company is working on getting other stadiums up and will then move on to setting up views for large concert venues.
“It’s a long process and rather than waiting years we just push what we have ready to go and get it out there. As more and more venues come in we’ll push them live,” says Adelman.
The Rukkus app launched its Seat360 feature on April 14th and is on track to break $100 million in transaction volume. Adelman says their conversion rate in app is up 40% and average page views are 10x what is was before.
“In 2015 we grew 20x, in 2016 we’re going to break 100 million in revenue,” he says.
Right now Rukkus will continue to focus on sports, concerts and theaters in the U.S. They haven’t explored much else or have yet to go international, but Adelman says they may look to expand internationally in the future.