StubHub for the Win

By Edward Cone  |  Posted Monday, March 14, 2011 17:03 PM

Credit StubHub, the online ticket marketplace, for a nimble approach to customer service that doesn't trip over lines between delivery channels.

StubHub has deals with professional sports leagues and certain venues that regularly host big events, which allow ticket-buyers to print out bar-coded slips and present them at the gate for entry.

But what about venues that are hosting huge, one-off events? A prime example: The Greensboro Coliseum, where the Atlantic Coast Conference held its storied basketball tournament last week. The facility doesn't have a bar-coding deal in place with StubHub -- yet the tourney format means that a large secondary market exists, as fans of the losing teams look to sell their ducats to fans of the teams advancing to later rounds.

Without the printing option, and with time too tight to FedEx tickets to purchasers as is commonly done when the clock is not ticking down, StubHub went with the simple solution of renting a room at a nearby Ramada for pick up and drop off of the physical artifacts. Three StubHub employees -- shipped in from Charlotte, Boston, and Philly -- handled things smoothly.

Not rocket science, to be sure, but a practical approach that blends the convenience of the web into the realities of the bricks-and-mortar world.

Soon enough, we'll all be downloading bits and flashing our smartphones at automatic gate readers, making paper tickets (and polite Southern ticket-takers) seem as quaint as jump balls and set shots. In the meantime, props to a company that blends delivery channels so well.

I was lucky enough to gravy-train on someone else's party, and found myself watching the final round from excellent seats. Too bad my team didn't play as well as StubHub.