When I first read about ScoreBig in the Wall Street Journal, I was nervous: I was scared that ScoreBig.com made it to market with the same idea that I was working on. But before providing my ‘critical‘ review on Score Big, I want to applaud them. ScoreBig has changed their tag line (a lot), but they’ve never veered from their original mission statement, which is to sell tickets below face value. This is evident by the numerous slogans that ScoreBig has used and tested over the years:
- Great Seats For Less.
- Always below box office price.
- Always below box office price. Guaranteed.
- Great Tickets. Below Box Office Price.
There’s one BIG problem (well maybe a couple), the tickets that we usually want to buy (from ScoreBig and other secondary ticket sites) are the tickets that are sold-out and not below face value. So with my experience, about 75% of the events that I want to attend, are unavailable on ScoreBig. I live in NYC, so for example, when I search for tickets to a NY Giants home game, there are no ScoreBig tickets or listings available.
ScoreBig.com has done a good job replicating the Priceline.com model, however, Priceline has a “buy it now” option and shows you what the current market price is. Unfortunately, Score Big treats face value as the same thing as the market price, which isn’t fair or true.
To play devil’s advocate (with myself), ScoreBig is not the only one that treats the face value as the “real price” or fair price. Consumers typically revert to the face value price because it gives them a basis for the initial cost of the ticket, however, with the proliferation of dynamic ticket pricing the “face value price” can change daily or hourly, thus blurring the lines of face value and market value even further.
Here’s the kicker, even if ScoreBig has the event that you are looking for and you can bid on those tickets for below face value, whose to say those same tickets aren’t cheaper elsewhere? The ticket industry is a dynamic market, and believe it or not ticket brokers are reacting and changing tickets prices a lot faster than teams can. So you can bet that if tickets are available for below face value on ScoreBig than they are certainly available on Stubhub and TickPick.
Plug: It’s important to note that TickPick shows All-in ticket prices and has no buyers fees, thus helping consumers save an average of 10% on live ticket purchases.
Inspecting How ScoreBig Works
Assuming you are able to find the event you want to attend, here’s how ScoreBig works:
- Select quantity.
- Select seat rating (typically 1 to 5 stars).
- Examine retail price and the deal you can expect: typically 10%, 25%, or 50% discount from face.
- Enter “bid price” and assess probability of success.
- Enter credit card info and submit your bid.
- Receive an instant answer.
- If bid is not accepted, review / accept counter offer.
My biggest issue with how ScoreBig works, is that it’s a black box and you never truly benefit from their system. You benefit from Priceline because they have their own hotel & flight inventory and they’re willing to sell their inventory at lower prices verses the competition.
Roughly 90% of ScoreBig tickets come from ticket brokers. Ticket Brokers provide thousands of ticket listings to ScoreBig, Stubhub, TickPick and other ticket sites. The only way ScoreBig can add real value to the system is if they convince professional sports teams and other original primary ticket issuers to sell their unsold tickets at prices below the current market price. And although ScoreBig provides a solution for sports teams, companies such as Ticket Market Solutions sell unsold inventory on behalf of sports teams at prices below face value already.
If you are just trying to figure out a ScoreBig bidding strategy then I also have a couple tips for you. First, it’s important to know that 70% of the time sports and concert ticket prices decrease as the event date get’s closer. So unlike most bidding strategies I wouldn’t suggest starting with one price and then increasing your price every 24 hours. The most important thing to do is to price shop, so you should take a look at the ticket listings on Stubhub (
make sure to account for their 10% fees which now shows all-in ticket prices, but still charges 20% in total fees) as well as our tickets on TickPick (which are all-in prices, so no math needed). These current market prices will provide you with a bar and you should obviously never bid more than the current market price.
Look at ticket prices of seats in equivalent star ratings on TickPick; I would then place a bid at a 15% discount to the all-in ticket price seen on TickPick (for example if tickets are listed for $100, bid $85). If your bid is not accepted, repeat this decreasing the discount from 15% to 10% over time (check ticket prices each time as they change daily). Read on for more tips…
Why TickPick is Better than ScoreBig
TickPick is better than ScoreBig not only because of our transparent ticket ranking system, but because we allow fans to truly name their price. Scorebig only allows you to place bids on select events. For the events that are available, you’re forced to place bids on a star rating, which has predetermined sections which cannot be altered. With ScoreBig’s bidding platform you place the same bid price for all of the seats and you have to pay the same price for the first row or last row in your selected sections. What I tell people is that when you are bidding on ScoreBig, you need to be comfortable with receiving the worst seats in the selected star rating.
TickPick presents it’s users with the ability to buy, bid and sell tickets to all events, regardless if it’s below or above face value. We provide buyers with transparent information, letting them know what they can buy tickets for and we use algorithms to rank tickets to one another, helping you find the best deal (determined by price and seat location).
TickPick’s bidding platform is entirely different than ScoreBig. Users are able to customize exactly what sections they want to bid on and what prices they want to pay. You can set one price for your selected seats, or different prices based on the seat location, for example you can choose how much you want to pay for the best seats and how much you want to pay for the worst seats.
Unlike ScoreBig’s model, TickPick users know what they have to pay to purchase tickets today. Therefore users use TickPick to bid on tickets for different reasons. Here’s the most common reasons why someone would bid on tickets on TickPick:
- You expect ticket prices to go down in the future.
- You can’t or are not willing to pay current market prices and have a set budget in mind.
- You are hoping you can save additional money through TickPick’s (proprietary) negotiation process with sellers.
- If ticket prices do go down you want to insure you are the one who get’s that deal first.
Because of TickPick’s unique bid process there is no immediate answer as to whether your bid was accepted or not. Instead users select a bid expiration time (available all the way up until event time) and they can cancel their bids at anytime up until a seller sells them tickets. The fact that ticket prices for more than 70% of all events decrease as the event gets closer, makes TickPick’s bidding platform the perfect solution to help fans save money and get the best ticket deals.
ScoreBig Customer Reviews
“The question of whether ScoreBig is a service that I’d use or recommend is another story. My experiences with customer service and their so-called “deals” are questionable.” - George Gilmer
The Best ScoreBig Site Review from Yelp:
“It’s unfortunate that ScoreBig has received so many negative reviews so far. I’ve read some of them, and while all of them are true and not necessarily special to that person’s situation, I don’t think many people understand how event tickets work. I’ve been with ScoreBig since they were first in beta and when I received a hand-written note after my first ticket purchase. They have not disappointed since. The process is fun. And yes, while the face value of the ticket itself can often just match whatever you paid for AFTER the percentage marked down, it’s probably because ScoreBig’s tickets are from season ticket or group sale pricing (which are already marked down). You will regardless, be getting a discount.
Besides, with no fees and free shipping, how can you complain and say that you didn’t get ENOUGH of a discount?”
The Worst ScoreBig User Review from Yelp:
“ScoreBig is a scam in the sense that I have always been able to find a ticket of the same quality for any event that I have been interested in (sports, music concert) for less money than I would be able to aquire it for via ScoreBig and I assume that anyone else that is able to make a purchase on ScoreBig will be able to as well. Scorebig is no different than any other ticket agency except that is uses a gimmick by letting you “bid” on the ticket. Believe me, no bid will be accepted unless it is the price that the ticket will be sold for by other ticket agencies including any fees and other chargcues. There is simply no need to use ScoreBig.”
Other Similar ScoreBig Ticket Site Reviews
Disclaimer: Please note that ScoreBig and TickPick are competitors of each other.
Brett Goldberg is an entrepreneur, live event fanatic and ex-investment banker. He is the Co-Founder of Tickpick, a ticket marketplace that allows users to buy, sell & bid on tickets to sports, concerts and other live events. TickPick strives to increase transparency and efficiency within the ticket industry.