Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise Austin FC have adopted virtual reality (VR) technology to drive season ticket sales at their new US$200 million stadium ahead of their inaugural season in 2021.
The strategy falls under a new multi-year partnership with US mobile ticketing platform SeatGeek, which is presenting a fully-immersive, 360-degree virtual stadium tour to help supporters decide their ticketing options.
In addition, SeatGeek’s ticketless technology will aim to provide a streamlined experience when buying, selling and transferring tickets, and will also enable supporters to scan into the stadium using the SeatGeek app.
Austin FC president Andy Loughnane said: “Our leadership conducted a thorough process to ultimately identify the best partner for this critical aspect of our fan experience infrastructure.
“SeatGeek’s advancements and commitments to create the most fan-friendly mobile ticketing experience across the sports and entertainment industry was the driving factor in our decision process.
“SeatGeek is best-positioned to fulfil the purchase and sharing capabilities that the modern ticket buyer demands, and Austin FC is excited to begin working alongside SeatGeek to harness their successful ticketing advancements and apply to a project that serves a region which takes great pride in innovation.”
Austin FC become the seventh MLS outfit to partner with SeatGeek, which also has relationships with 35 per cent of English soccer top-flight clubs, as well as the National Football League’s (NFL) Dallas Cowboys and the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) New Orleans Pelicans.
Among SeekGeek’s other MLS partners, Minnesota United also implement a VR tour experience before the opening of its Allianz Field stadium ahead of the 2019 season.
Minnesota, who have also gone ticketless, sold-out its season tickets by November last year – before construction on the venue was complete.
Austin FC are set to become the first major league team in the Texan capital, with the city having demonstrated heightened interest in soccer, including the highest TV ratings in the US for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Jeff Ianello, SeatGeek’s vice president for partnerships, said: “Austin FC is going to be a true representation of the city of Austin, and we can’t wait to work with them and their other partners to build a unique matchday experience.
“We know that Austin is one of the most innovative cities in the country, and it was crucial for the club that they work with the ticketing platform that can provide the best possible experience to their fans and the business community.”