Qcue attracts key teammates in dynamic pricing for sports
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.’