StubHub is using augmented reality to help you buy Super Bowl tickets


StubHub thinks the solution to that uncertainty may be augmented reality.

The eBay-owned company plans to introduce an augmented reality feature to its app that allows potential Super Bowl goers to get an up-close look at Minneapolis' U.S. Bank Stadium.

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For serious football fans, there's no more prized (or pricey) ticket than the Super Bowl. But that ticket also often comes with a lot of the unknowns that accompany traveling to a massive event in an unfamiliar stadium and city.

Beginning next week, people looking to purchase Super Bowl tickets via StubHub's iPhone app will see a new "AR" option that lets them bring up a 3D model of the stadium and its surrounding area. The idea, according to StubHub CTO Matt Swan, is to give ticket-buyers a way to better plan their Super Bowl experience well before they ever set foot in Minneapolis.

Using the augmented reality experience, they'll be able to more accurately visualize where their seats are in relation to the rest of stadium, as well as check out locations of various parking garages and pre-game events in the surrounding downtown area. 

All that amounts to valuable information for an out-of-towner, Swan says. "We're solving for real pain points, not just tech for the sake of tech. For a lot of people, it's not an event you just show up for, it's kind of a bucket list item."

It's not the first time StubHub has experimented with mixed reality. In 2016, the company introduced a "virtual view" option, which uses virtual reality to let ticket buyers preview the view from their seats before they buy. 

That experiment proved successful. StubHub says engagement with its app more than doubled from 2016 to 2017.

Though it's still early days for ARKit and augmented reality, Swan says StubHub is already looking at how they can bring similar augmented reality features to other types of events, like concerts, as well as additional aspects of the event experience.

"When you think about adjacencies like parking, concessions, goods, there's all kinds of directions you can go with this. We know it's going to be a core part of the digital experience we're going to continue to invest in."

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