review: the Priceline of event tickets

Score small, score little? No way! Score BIG! Any sports fan would attest to that. With that in mind, an online ticketing website has labeled their service apropos. The aptly named ScoreBig sent us a $100 voucher to test out their service, where they flaunt the tag line “Save on every ticket. Guaranteed.”

So what is ScoreBig? It’s a website and service that aims to offer discounted tickets direct to consumers, without any added taxes or fees tacked on. They claim that you can save up to 60% off the regular price of tickets, versus going through TicketMaster, the venue or via other ticketing sites.


Here’s how they describe the service themselves:

“Well, we make fun affordable! At ScoreBig, you can save on sports, concert, and theater tickets without ever paying any fees or shipping charges for the privilege.

How do we get such great savings?
Around 40% of live event tickets go unsold every year – even for events you think are “sold out”. That’s a lot of empty seats! And the ticket industry can’t offer big discounts on some seats and not others in a way everyone sees. So to get those seats filled they give them to ScoreBig, which allows us to pass on those huge savings directly to you!”

Searching for tickets and events on ScoreBig

Naturally, the availability of events on ScoreBig will vary greatly by your location. To take the service for a test drive, I searched around for events in my area (Salt Lake City, Utah). I couldn’t find much around here, but I did find an upcoming concert for Journey and Steve Miller band listed on the site. Unfortunately, no tickets were available. The site said it was “Sold out for now”.

Thankfully, ScoreBig offers an Alert Me button that you can use to be notified if and when tickets become available again for an event that you’re interested in. A few days after I clicked the Alert button for this Journey concert, I received an email from ScoreBig to let me know that they now had tickets available.

Bidding on tickets with ScoreBig

On the Journey event page, I selected 2 tickets and clicked the Make Offer button as shown in the screenshot below.

(click to enlarge)

This is the point where ScoreBig resembles Priceline, in that you can bid on what price you would like to pay for a ticket. For this Journey concert, ScoreBig listed the “full price” of the tickets at $54.72. But how did they come up with this full price figure? I don’t know, so I checked the venue website, which directed me to to purchase tickets. Smith’s Tix has the lawn seats listed at $44 per ticket (+taxes & fees), so there’s a big discrepancy ($54.72 vs $44) in what ScoreBig advertises as “full price” and what you can actually purchase the tickets for, from the official event ticketing site.

On the “Name your ticket price” screen, ScoreBig displayed that the average savings on this event was 10%. I entered a bid of $25 per ticket and the site showed a color coded bar underneath my price labeled “Potential”. With the $25 bid entered, my potential was in the red, with a low chance of my offer being accepted. Nonetheless, I went ahead and clicked on the Review Offer button to proceed with this bid amount.


I was then greeted with a Want to change your offer? box as shown above. It advised me that my chances of scoring an offer at this price were low and that I would need to wait 24 hours to bid on these seats again if my offer was rejected. I clicked No thanks, I’ll go with my original offer and submitted my bid.


Ohhhhhhh, REJECTED! But wait, the site had said that I would have to wait 24 hours before I could make another bid. Instead, ScoreBig gave me the chance to Make another offer now!, as shown in the screenshot above. I clicked on Let’s do this! for my chance at a redemption bid.


This time, I took the conservative approach and input a bid for $40, a mere $4 off the real full ticket price shown at the official event ticketing site.  Again I was greeted by the color coded POTENTIAL bar below my bid, as shown above. This time around, the color bar was stretching into the yellowish-green area, suggesting that my offer had a chance of being accepted.

I clicked on REVIEW OFFER, I was asked again if I wanted to change my offer, again warning me that I wouldn’t be able to bid again for 24 hours if my offer was rejected and then submitted my bid at $40 a ticket.



This time, I received an Offer declined screen (shown above) that  included a counter offer from ScoreBig. The site offered up a price of $43.56 per ticket, with a 2 minute count down clock that would expire the offer once it reached zero. I went ahead and clicked Buy Tickets Now, purchasing the tickets for $43.56 each (no added taxes or fees).

Ticket Delivery

Ticket delivery will vary by event and venue, but in this case, ScoreBig informed me that my tickets would be shipped “on or around 7/3/2014”, in time for the concert date of 7/17/2014. In reality, I received my tickets in the mail about a week later. This was months before their estimated delivery time frame.


I’d like to see ScoreBig offer the option of email ticket delivery for all events, as I prefer to print out and save my event tickets myself rather than having to worry about physical tickets arriving or getting lost in the mail.

Final thoughts on ScoreBig

ScoreBig is a worthwhile consideration for your event ticketing needs. Their availability of events can be sparse in certain areas, but events do come and go from their system, so you’ll need to check their site occasionally or subscribe to their email updates if you want to stay apprised of their catalog. I did find many more listings when I did event searches for Phoenix, Arizona and the Los Angeles, California areas.

Their advertised “full price” was certainly misleading for the event that I purchased tickets for, so you may want to do some research on your own to determine what the real full price is for an event that you’re interested in. In my case, I was able to purchase tickets from ScoreBig for $43.56 when the regular price was actually just $44 on the official event ticketing site. Now granted, ScoreBig doesn’t charge fees and other ticketing sites do. So the official event ticketing price total would have been $54.45 per ticket whereas with ScoreBig it was just $44 total per ticket. A small savings, but nothing near their “up to 60% off” maxim that they advertise.

The warnings that “you must wait 24 hours before making another bid” were also misleading, since the site allowed me to make 2 separate bids in the same session and then allowed me to purchase a counter offer after my second bid. I’m sure ScoreBig does that to discourage lower bids, but it’s still a underhanded tactic that I didn’t appreciate.

About Wes Novack

Wes is a Technologist working in the software industry, with extensive experience building and managing highly available applications, services, and systems in the public cloud. He has extensive experience with online publishing and building internet communities. Wes enjoys hanging with his family, getting outdoors, skateboarding, hiking, pickelball, tennis, the vegan lifestyle, and a good cup of tea. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) @WesleyTech.

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