SeatGeek is a ticket retailer that offers both primary ticket sales and resales, and has formal partnerships with organizations including the Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Cowboys and Manchester City F.C. The company was founded in 2009 as a mobile-first ticketing platform. Among its venture capital investors is Causeway Media Partners, whose principals include Boston Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck and Mark Wan; Eli and Peyton Manning; and Carmelo Anthony’s Melo7 Tech. Other investors include the rapper Nas and Elysian Park Ventures, the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
RedBall is a special purpose acquisition company formed by RedBird Capital founder Gerry Cardinale and baseball executive Billy Beane. The SPAC raised $575 million in an IPO last year.
Gerry Cardinale declined to comment. Executives at SeatGeek didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
Valuation of the deal wasn’t immediately available. SeatGeek competitor Vivid Seats is going public in a merger by SPAC Horizon Acquisition in a deal valuing that business $1.95 billion.
RedBall warrants surged 65%, to $1.22 early Friday, on a belief a deal was imminent. Midday trading volume was about 1.8 million warrants, more than 1,000 times the volume RedBall warrants traded Thursday. SPAC warrants typically rally on rumors as traders rush to profit on deals. RedBall shares were up a more modest 1% to $9.92. Bloomberg News first reported on the deal rumor Friday.
RedBall, the first sports-focused blank check in more than a decade, previously had a deal to bring Fenway Sports Group public in a deal valuing the Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. owner at about $8 billion. That deal fell apart due to valuation concerns by PIPE investors—additional investors brought into SPAC deals to help bring cash to close the deal. RedBall and Fenway Sports never officially acknowledged they had an agreement.
With assistance from Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams.
(This article has been updated throughout to include more background on RedBall and information on the market reaction.)