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Perfect seats as close as your iPhone?

Could be, if a Chicago-based startup is on the mark

By Courtney Griffin

RedEye

9:50 AM CDT, September 3, 2013

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Are the Wrigley rooftops the best view of the diamond, or the most overrated seats in town? Is the United Center floor the place to be to catch the Bulls in action, or just a little too close for comfort?

Debates like these are alive and well at RateYourSeats.com, a Chicago-based startup founded by Keith Hanson, a West Loop resident whose bad seats at a White Sox game three years ago prompted more than bad memories—they proved life changing.

After his less-than-notable experience, Hanson, 28, left his job in the pharmaceutical industry to create RateYourSeats.com, a site that pairs ticket-buying services with user photos and reviews of seats at a variety of venues, including MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL games, NCAA basketball and football events, and a handful of concerts.

“It started as just a hobby,” said Hanson, who began collecting photos and reviews of venues before opening the site up to a larger market after launching in January 2012.

Today, the company is growing in popularity, prompting the release of its first iPhone app last week.

“We wanted people to initially rate seats and share photos, and that is best done with a mobile phone,” said Hanson, who began developing the app a year ago. 

The app touts the same features as the website, plus a mobile-exclusive “Dream Seat Selector” feature, which allows ticket buyers to find the best seats in their price range.

“It’s like an ice cream cone or a pizza,” said Hanson, a native of suburban Batavia. “You begin with the basics, as in your price range, and then you add all the toppings.”

Hanson said the future of RateYourSeats.com and the accompanying app will include more interactive content.

“We want to make it easier to buy tickets, make comparisons, search photos and read reviews,” he said. “It’s all about getting a good value for your tickets.”

The RateYourSeats app is available on iTunes. For information, visit rateyourseats.com.

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