Any college football fan will tell you that home-field advantage is crucial to winning. But maintaining that home-field advantage can be tough when opposing fans buy tickets to a home game, filling the seats with the wrong colors and the stadium with boos.
But that might not be happening this season thanks to one Greenville-based startup.
On Tuesday, BANDWAGON launched its online marketplace, allowing fans to resell their tickets to other fans of the same team. When users sign up, they join their favorite team’s platform or “bandwagon.” They can then select the “bandwagon only” feature, which restricts the sale to fans of the same team. That feature creates a “semi-closed resale market” that prevents scalpers and non-fans from stealing tickets, according to La-Vaughnda Taylor, vice president of brand strategy.
“The only thing better than a sellout crowd is a sellout crowd of your own fan base, and we’re working to make Clemson the hardest ticket [to buy] in the country unless you’re a true Clemson fan,” said BANDWAGON founder and CEO Harold Hughes.
In addition to buying and selling, fans can use social networking to plan and coordinate game-day tailgates. The platform features all 252 NCAA Division I teams, including Clemson University, Furman University and Wofford College.
WATCH: How BANDWAGON boosts home-field advantage >>
In 2014, Hughes, a Clemson alumnus, came up with the idea after he and fellow fraternity brothers wanted to see games in other stadiums but couldn’t figure out what to do with their season tickets.
“We tried to sell them on StubHub, but then we would be selling to opposing fans,” Hughes told UBJ in an interview last year. “What if you could control who actually got your ticket? You wouldn’t be selling it to a buddy, but you’re selling it to a fellow fan.”
Shortly after developing the business model, Hughes held an Indigogo campaign to raise $5,000 to build online stadium seating maps so that fans could find and list seats for sale. He raised about $7,000 through the online fundraiser and later put up a prototype site.
BANDWAGON has grown since then, climbing from 275 users to 950 users in just a year. It was also designated a “qualified business” by the state in late July, which confirmed the company’s decision to stay in Greenville rather than ditch it for tech-centric hubs like Silicon Valley or New York City.
“We’re really, really passionate about starting in the Southeast,” said Hughes. “We’d love to raise our entire round in the Southeast, showing we can not only be the Silicon Valley of the Foothills, but we can also raise the profile of the region.”
For more information, visit www.bandwagonfanclub.com.