Q&A: StubHub president Scott Cutler on Super Bowl tickets, more
Everything is bigger for the Super Bowl, including the demand for tickets.
For the lucky few who can afford to see the game in person, there are many ways to secure a seat for kickoff. One of those is StubHub, the popular online ticket seller offering re-sale tickets for just about every event imaginable.
SI.com caught up with StubHub president Scott Cutler to discuss the demand for Super Bowl 50, who’s buying the most tickets and more.
SI.com: How much do you think Peyton’s last game is factoring into the ticket prices for this game?
Scott Cutler: Based on what we’re seeing with ticket demand for Super Bowl 50, Peyton is like a growth stock. Generally in past years, ticket prices have decreased the closer the game gets. This year, we’ve seen that decrease again, but not as much as normal, and while we believe there are a variety of factors behind the demand, one of them can absolutely be credited to the fact that Peyton is playing.
SI: Is Cam Newton a big draw for fans? Is he considered a big seller?
SC: Cam Newton has already had an impact on ticket sales. We’re seeing Carolina fans buying more Super Bowl tickets than Broncos fans, even though Colorado is closer to California. Chalk that up to the large fan base that Cam’s been building since high school, from Atlanta to Florida, and Texas to Alabama.
SI: Do you guys keep track of where most people are buying tickets from? Do you have any idea which city is responsible for purchasing the most tickets?
SC: Nearly one-third of Super Bowl tickets on StubHub were bought by Californians—this is a record level of in-state purchasers, just eclipsing New York levels, which we’re attributing to the Silicon Valley proximity along with the potentially historic moment for Peyton. If you look at the top five states from which fans are purchasing tickets on StubHub, after California we see North Carolina edging out Colorado, 10% to 9%, followed by Texas and New York.
SI: Do you think a lot of the buyers are from Silicon Valley? How does that affect the marketplace?
SC: Marketplaces break down barriers and create opportunity for nearly anyone to find what they’re looking for. Hot stocks, top tickets, nearly anything can be traded when there’s a platform to do so. And as more and more people have access to the technologies that power marketplace platforms, we can absolutely expect to see rapid advancements and significant shifts in a variety of industries where marketplaces have played a role, including at StubHub.
You can bet Silicon Valley plays a role in this year’s Super Bowl—the game is being played at the most technologically forward stadium in the country. It makes sense that the community here wants to be a part of this very cool moment.
SI: How much does the halftime show factor into ticket prices? Do you have any inclination as to which artist would be the biggest draw for Super Bowl fans?
SC: Halftime acts are selected more for in-venue entertainment and broad TV ratings, not necessarily for ticket sales.
According to our data, in general Beyoncé is more popular than Coldplay for concert tickets, and North Carolina buys more tickets for those two acts than Colorado.
While those are really fun facts, the important piece is that fans of any band from The Who in 2010 to Katy Perry and her left shark last year can access the experiences they want. And that only happens through open, trusted marketplaces—no hedging here.
SI: How does the ticket market work similarly to the stock exchange? What are the similarities between the stock exchange and the ticket marketplace?
SC: Marketplaces in general are about access and options, regardless of the “inventory” that each offer. They exist to provide people with opportunities to trade in one place, with simple transactions, in an open market, for nearly anything they want to exchange.
Although the stock market may have its ups and downs, at StubHub, we’re about offering our customers the most “bullish” experience possible, with anytime, anywhere, any screen access to tickets, and the world’s largest selection of event options for them to attend.
SI: How many Super Bowl tickets are sold on StubHub each year?
SC: As with many top events, the actual number of Super Bowl tickets that are available to the general public is very low. So StubHub is one of the only places where true fans have a shot at checking off an experience from their bucket list. By our calculations, in recent years StubHub has been responsible for 5% to 10% of total Super Bowl tickets sold.