A local entrepreneur is changing the way event-goers get their tickets.
SeatGIANT is not only thinking big with major sports and concerts, but also making sure locals can access what they want in and around the city.
The venture is a market place that connects buyers and sellers all around North America, whether you live in the big city or small town.
Josh Matlow is the owner of the ticket giant and is not only a local guy, but helped provide the city with their first Intercounty Baseball League championship back in 2005.
“I played for the Baycats from 2005 to 2009 and I wear my 2005 championship ring to the ballpark when I can,” Matlow said. “I fell in love with Barrie while playing with the Baycats, that’s why I moved up this way originally. I bought a house up here, met my wife here as she was attending Georgian College and the crazy thing was, we were both from Thornhill and went to the same high school, but we met here.”
Matlow joined the Baycats again for this season. Not on the field, but behind the scenes. While you can still get your tickets from the regular in town spots for Baycats games, you can now order online and get your tickets without leaving the house.
Matlow said there was a need for the ticket company when he joined his brother in a sports tour business.
“My brother started a bus tour company, wine tours and specifically sports tours,” said Matlow. “If the Raptors were in Detroit or you wanted to go to Yankees Stadium, the bus would get you and many others there. It was great, but the problem was many people would get there and want to sit somewhere closer or leaving they’d say they wanted to go the following weekend, and we had to say no all the time because we were getting select tickets from the teams.
"We saw a real need for getting tickets to people and that we’d make the same amount of money as the bus tours without the stress of the bus breaking down or being held up at the border," he added.
Matlow and his brother founded SeatGIANT three and half years ago and have been enjoying the successes ever since getting past the hurdle of the almighty American dollar.
“The problem was we had to start in U.S. dollars because, honestly, 95 per cent of the brokers or sellers are in the U.S. That’s just the way it was forever,” said Matlow.
On June 1 2017, they launched seatgiant.ca.
"It took us 10 months of working with the banks and processers because they didn’t know how to convert the money as the process was happening," Matlow said. "Our U.S. team told us they didn’t know why it was such a big deal, so I told them to go to an NFL game and pay in euros and their response was, 'Why the hell would I do that?'. And all I said was, 'Exactly'.”
Despite dealing with music and sports fans all over North America, Matlow wanted something more and a feeling of giving back.
That was the reason the 34-year-old reached out to the club he loves.
“I’ve been so busy since leaving the Baycats with work and playing overseas, I hadn’t been back since leaving,” Matlow said. “It had been 10 years and I still thought about them so often and all the great experiences I had here, now I realized I could legitimately help them.
"My wife didn’t know me when that was a part of my life and now, she gets to see what is so special about this club," he added. "I remember being a player and how well (Baycats president) David Mills treated me and the others. As a young player, you appreciate it, but when you get older you really hold it dear to your heart.”
In the first two home games for the Baycats, SeatGIANT has sold more than 300 tickets online, which, combined with the local outlets and stadium box office, has made for some decent crowds already.
“Full stadiums in May is what everyone is happy about,” said Matlow. “More and more people are buying online and telling others. There was also a huge rush before the game as people can now buy on their way to the park and open on their phones.”
The next chance to see the Baycats at Coates Stadium is this Thursday as the team hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jason Maslakow, who gained popularity as 'Dart Guy' at the NHL Maple Leafs hockey games, will be throwing out the first pitch. Tickets for Baycats are 50 per cent off for the month of May if you buy online.