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SeatGeek snaps $238M after cancelling SPAC deal

Photo Credit: SeatGeek

New York-based SeatGeek, a mobile ticketing platform, has raised $238M after abandoning plans to go public. Long-time investor Accel led the round privately as part of a Series E funding round, with participation from Wellington Management, Arctos Sports Partners, and Ryan Smith, founder and executive chairman of Qualtrics and founder of Smith Entertainment Group (SEG), which includes the Utah Jazz.

SeatGeek is now valued at around $1.2B, down from as much as $2B in its proposed SPAC merger deal.

Fund utilisation

SeatGeek plans to invest the new funds in a variety of areas, including continued investment in its people, product, and partners, as well as additional investments in Rally, its personalised event-day experience platform; SeatGeek Swaps, the first return policy offered by a major ticketing platform; and its enterprise ticketing software, which supports the entire ticketing ecosystem by providing an end-to-end solution for teams and venues.

SeatGeek is a mobile-focused ticket platform and search engine that enables fans to buy and sell event tickets. It was founded in 2009 by Jack Groetzinger and Russell D’Souza.

SeatGeek serves over 200 clients in sports and entertainment, including the New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Pelicans, Washington Commanders, and Jujamcyn Theaters’ five New York Broadway theatres.

Did the merger happen?

The company had intended to merge with RedBall Acquisition Corp., a SPAC with Billy Beane, a well-known baseball executive, among its investors. When terminating the merger, SeatGeek cited the challenging market for businesses that are expanding quickly.

SeatGeek appears to be confident in its situation despite terminating its business combination agreement with RedBall, and the funding highlights its steady growth. According to the business, it expects to double its revenue this year. With $186.3M in net revenue, the ticketing platform outperformed expectations in 2021.

“Securing $238M in a volatile market speaks to the strength of our business and the incredible opportunity ahead. We have ambitious plans for the future and are approaching business expansion with extra diligence, care, and a long-term view of success in mind,” said Jack Groetzinger, CEO and co-founder of SeatGeek. “As a tech company purpose-built to reinvent the live entertainment experience, this new capital enables us to deepen our support for our customers because what we all want, and deserve, is to shake up this antiquated industry for the better. The pandemic has fundamentally reshaped the way people think about how they want to spend quality time outside of their homes, and we’re proud to have SeatGeek continue to play an important part in ensuring their live event experiences are memorable and life-changing.”

“Since we first partnered with SeatGeek in 2014, the team has stayed committed to transforming live events by consistently building terrific products for teams and fans,” said John Locke, partner at Accel and member of SeatGeek’s Board of Directors. “We’ve never been more excited about what’s ahead for the company, and we’re looking forward to working closely with Accel family and friends like Ryan Smith, Arctos Sports Partners, and Wellington Management in the years ahead.”

“SeatGeek stands apart in the live entertainment ecosystem. The company is driving innovation in a rapidly changing ticketing environment where teams and fans are demanding more flexibility and engagement,” said Chad Hutchinson, partner at Arctos Sports Partners and member of SeatGeek’s Board of Directors. “We look forward to working as a thought partner with Jack and the SeatGeek team as they continue to provide best-in-class ticketing solutions that ensure a superior experience for fans, teams, and venues.” 

StubHub, a rival of SeatGeek, was considering going public but has postponed those plans in order to monitor the market. Another SeatGeek rival, Vivid Seats, went public last year; given that its stock price is currently down 3.3%, this was probably a mistake.

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