Qcue at­tracts key team­mates in dy­namic pric­ing for sports

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS & PERSONAL FINANCE - By Lori Hawkins AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN STAFF

Austin-based Qcue Inc. is part­ner­ing with Tick­ets.com and Ma­jor League Base­ball to sell soft­ware that lets teams change ticket prices based on con­sumer de­mand.

Qcue (pro­nounced “cue cue”) was founded in 2007 by Uni­ver­sity of Texas stu­dents Barry Kahn and Jiten Dalvi, who set out to cre­ate soft­ware that prices tick­ets based on fluc­tu­at­ing mar­ket fac­tors.

Qcue’s soft­ware an­a­lyzes vari­ables that af­fect de­mand, such as the date of the game, the weather, the op­po­nent, gate give­aways and whether the team is on a win­ning or los­ing streak.

The soft­ware then low­ers or raises prices ac­cord­ingly. That gives lever­age to sports teams, which typ­i­cally set ticket prices at the be­gin­ning of each sea­son.

The part­ner­ship with Tick­ets.com and Ma­jor League Base­ball’s In­ter­net com­pany, MLB Ad­vanced Me­dia, will al­low teams to process the in­for­ma­tion and update prices within min­utes with the push of a but­ton. The prices are in­stantly up­dated on each team’s web­site.

The man­ual sys­tem most teams use now can re­quire days to change prices, said Derek Palmer, chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer of Tick­ets.com, which is based in Costa Mesa, Calif.

“We’ve seen in­cred­i­ble in­no­va­tion in this space that is quickly chang­ing the way teams price tick­ets,” Palmer said. “We be­lieve this is the fu­ture of tick­et­ing, and we are on the fore­front of bring­ing it to more teams to ben­e­fit more fans.”

Qcue’s cus­tomers in­clude hockey’s Dal­las Stars and base­ball’s San Fran­cisco Giants. Qcue per­suaded the Giants to raise ticket prices for its Me­mo­rial Day game with the Colorado Rock­ies, based on a sud­den surge in sales. The team de­cided to charge as much

as $25 for a ticket that had been $17 be­fore a mar­quee pitch­ing matchup had been set, ac­cord­ing to a story in The New York Times last month about sports teams us­ing dy­namic pric­ing.

Even with the price in­crease, the story said, the Giants sold 10,000 tick­ets in the week­end lead­ing up to the game, and the sta­dium was sold out when the Rock­ies beat the home team.

Qcue has re­ceived $1 mil­lion from the Texas Emerg­ing Technology Fund, and prior to that raised about $1 mil­lion from pri­vate in­vestors in­clud­ing Rod Can­ion, co-founder and for­mer CEO of Com­paq Com­puter Corp.

Kahn said the part­ner­ship with Tick­ets.com and Ma­jor League Base­ball sets Qcue apart from its com­pe­ti­tion.

“They of­fer spread­sheets and e-mail, but they still change prices in a very man­ual fashion,” he said. “This lets us pro­vide more func­tion­al­ity to a base­ball team. Not only can we rec­om­mend prices, but we can help them change those prices and update their web­sites with a sin­gle click.”

Kahn said base­ball “is a very im­por­tant niche in the dy­namic pric­ing world. Across sports, it has the most games, and it has the most tick­ets sold on a sin­gle-game ba­sis. This ce­ments our com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage there, and that’s an im­por­tant step for us.”

Barry Kahn Co-founder says Qcue can help base­ball teams update web­sites and ticket prices ‘with a sin­gle click.’

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