Though many student sports fans at the University of Michigan choose to support Wolverine sport teams for a full year by purchasing student season tickets, others choose to buy individual tickets for specific games. However, many have found common ticket resale platforms such as Facebook and GroupMe groups to be sketchy jungles where scammers run wild.
Many other universities across the U.S. have faced similar issues regarding college sport ticket scams for years. According to Aventus surveys from 2018, 21% of U.S. millennial ticket buyers have been scammed when purchasing sports tickets online.
In response to ticket scams, Student Seats, a new ticket exchange platform for all U-M athletic events, announced that as of Jan. 10, U-M students can use their secure server to buy and sell tickets. The site is restricted to U-M undergraduate or graduate students who can make an account with the University email address. The platform protects student payments by temporarily storing their money with a third party until the transaction is complete.
“It’s not unusual for Wolverines supporters to have experienced dubious ticket exchanges and, worst case scenario, ticket scams,” Student Seats wrote in a press release. “To address this dilemma, Student Seats has launched its safe student ticket exchange platform for University of Michigan students.”
Student Seats was originally created by Jared Waller and John Ritondo, University of Alabama alumni, in the spring of 2020 as part of a class project. Since its launch three years ago, Student Seats has continued to grow, expanding outside of Alabama to include seven other universities including The Ohio State University, the University of Wisconsin and now the University of Michigan.
In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Ritondo said Student Seats has been surprisingly successful so far and has expanded to other universities. After COVID-19 restrictions lowered ticket sales when the platform first launched, Student Seats bounced back, Ritondo said.
“This past season was absolutely unreal,” Ritondo said. “We have a plethora of ticket listings we’ve secured at this point; just this past season we did $150,000 worth of transactions.”
In an interview with The Daily, Waller and Ritondo said they attribute their recent boom in success to student demand for reliable ticket selling sites as well as increasing ticket sale fees on platforms like StubHub and Ticketmaster.
“As we’ve seen with the whole Taylor Swift Ticketmaster fiasco, people are kind of getting fed up with (the process of) getting tickets to events,” Ritondo said. “All people want to do is go to a football game, go to a basketball game (or) go to a concert, right? They don’t want to have to worry about potentially losing money just from trying to buy a ticket.”
As Student Seats expands into the U-M marketplace, Waller said he was most looking forward to an increase in user feedback on the website. As of now, Waller and Ritondo still reply to each complaint, question and email themselves.
“Some people have ideas that we’ve never thought about, and they’re really good ideas,” Waller said. “I feel like user feedback is a huge thing for making the website way better and easier to navigate … stuff like that, it’s really valuable to us.”
LSA freshman Alexis TerBush told The Daily that she would be interested in using Student Seats in the future. She said she likes the idea of having an alternative platform for ticket transactions, especially because she has used Patio, a platform for interacting with fellow students, and has been concerned about getting scammed on the site.
“It’s hard to tell if somebody’s scamming you or not because, obviously, you don’t want to send a ticket before you receive the money,” TerBush said. “But you also don’t want to receive the money before, since some people are weird about that.”
DealDog, an app for Apple-users, is another secure marketplace for U-M students who want to buy and sell student tickets online without the added stress of wondering if they are talking to a scammer. DealDog was launched in September 2022, however, unlike Student Seats, DealDog is currently only available to Wolverines.
In an interview with The Daily, LSA seniors Noam Jacobovitz and Elizabeth Loeher — two of DealDog’s four founders — said they were not concerned about Student Seats competing with them, especially as they look to expand their service beyond just sports tickets to ensure the safety of other types of student exchanges like sublease agreements and clothing exchanges.
“The goal for us has always been to become kind of the all-in-one campus marketplace,” Loeher said. “So not just selling tickets, but things like subleasing, parking spots, clothing, furniture and all the stuff that students sell in those GroupMe and Facebook groups that are just miserable to use.”
Tickets for U-M events are starting to be posted on Student Seats, Ritondo said, but he hopes the platform will soon become a staple on campus.
“I’m looking forward to getting everyone else to find out about it, you know, kind of spreading our name out there,” Ritondo said. “Making sure that people know who we are, and making sure that people know that a better option is available.”
Daily Staff Reporter Madison Hammond can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.