- Darren Rovell, ESPN.com Sports Business reporter
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An online ticketing company named ScoreBig has scored big.
The company will announce Thursday that former Madison Square Garden Sports president Scott O'Neil has joined its board.
O'Neil resigned from MSG Sports in September after he successfully led the company in the first of three stages in an MSG transformation, as some of the most expensive seats were filled at top dollar.
ScoreBig -- which allows teams to discreetly unload their unsold tickets on the cheap without compromising their brands -- has been on the rise. CEO Adam Kanner, who worked at the NBA and attended Harvard Business School with O'Neil, said ScoreBig now works with one-quarter of all the professional sports teams and has seen its revenues grow sixfold in the past year.
The idea is simple. Teams go through ups and downs, but in those down times, they don't want fans to think they can buy tickets at the last minute on the cheap directly from the team. ScoreBig creates the necessary arm's-length transaction.
And while alternatives exist, like Groupon and Living Social, O'Neil says he doesn't like the fact that the number of items purchased are public and that there's "a flashing 50 percent off sign."
Fans who go on the ScoreBig site are given the choice of where they want to sit with a price range (up to 60 percent off) but are not shown the inventory. When the deal goes through, the price and the specific seat location are revealed.
Kanner says that although StubHub gets a lot of attention for the cheap tickets it resells, the majority of tickets it sells are above face value.
ScoreBig has been a hit in the investment community, scoring more than $20 million in funding led by Bain Capital and US Ventures Partners. O'Neil has the contacts and the experience to help this company.
If there's a challenge ahead for ScoreBig, it's that the site must try to brand itself into the minds of sports fans. So many people are conditioned to go to StubHub, and if they don't find exactly what they want, they decide not to go to the game. If ScoreBig can break into that mind share, it could be turned into a great business opportunity.