ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

NBA, NHL ticket sales on Rukkus jump after virtual reality integration

The National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League saw a spike in sales through ticketing application Rukkus after it was updated to provide a 360-degree view of venue seating locations.

NBA and NHL fans will now be able to get a more comprehensive feel for their seats at sporting events before attending through Rukkus’ new app, which features a virtual reality experience along with updates such as ticket-sharing via SMS and 3D Touch on iOS. the 360-degree ticketing experience comes at a time when imagery is a necessary aspect of purchasing on mobile and digital, and as users become more comfortable and excited about virtual reality, with a survey revealing that 81 percent of Rukkus’ customers would prefer a panoramic view.

“Our Seat360 feature started as a project after surveying our customers to see what was important to them when making ticket purchasing decisions,” said Manick Bhan, co-founder, CEO and chief technology officer of Rukkus. “Ninety percent said first-person seat views were very important to them, and 81 percent would prefer an interactive 360 panorama to a static 2D image to help choose their seat.

“From these surveys we learned that many customers are hesitant when buying tickets online because they are not confident in what their seats will be like,” he said. “We sought to alleviate these concerns and be as transparent in the purchasing process as possible with Seat360.

“As the sole ticket marketplace offering this immersive functionality, we have already seen a spike in app downloads in the days since its release. Based on our analysis we expect to see over a 30 percent increase in the conversion rate for customers using the app.”

Panoramic previews
Rukkus users can now take to their mobile devices to get a fully immersive preview of their seats for upcoming events for which they wish to purchase tickets. Users select the seating level they are interested in, and can move their mobile devices around the space to see what the perspective from the seats would seem like in person.

For instance, if a user is interested in purchasing tickets for an NHL game such as Buffalo Sabres versus New York Rangers for seats in the lower level, they can select available seats and see a panoramic view of the arena from that location.

The app also updated on iOS to include 3D touch, allowing users to peek into different events without having to open a new page. To peek at an event, users lightly tap on what they want to view, causing a preview version to appear. Ticket purchasers can also share event information with friends and family through an SMS integration, which shares the information through a text.

The update, geared toward sports fans, comes right before the NBA finals and the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoff, attempting to drive sales during the buzzworthy events. Rukkus is rolling out its panoramic view to a wide range of events sold through the app.

Mobile ticketing
Mobile has created interesting opportunity for ticketing services due to its on-the-go capability.

For instance, Regal Entertainment Group was recently the latest movie theater chain to adopt digital ticketing by teaming up with mobile app Atom Tickets, which enables consumers to send invitations to friends via social media, pre-order concessions and purchase advance tickets (see more).

Also, in a move to make mobile movie tickets available at more theaters, Fandango eliminated the need for scanning with a new format that asks moviegoers to swipe an unduplicatable ticket image on their phone to gain entrance to a film (see more).

“One of our main goals with Seat360 is to change consumer behavior in the $30 billion a year ticket industry,” Mr. Bhan said. “By integrating virtual reality into ecommerce for average consumers, we have created a practical application in a space where almost everything is currently gimmicky entertainment.

“VR is still being thought of as a fascination of the future, and we want to show that it has already arrived,” he said. “A huge conversation in tech right now revolves around how VR will drive commerce, and our goal is to answer this question with our product.”