Kiwi reverse auction app goes live with Major League Baseball
A Kiwi company has sent its reverse auction idea into bat in front of thousands of fans at pre-season Major League Baseball games.
Dropit was founded in New Zealand in 2015 by brothers Peter and Brendan Howell, but moved to San Francisco last year to focus on the United States market.
The company called itself a fan engagement and live event entertainment platform company, which had developed a reverse auction app to sell products.
Auction prices drop each second, meaning items become cheaper the longer an auction lasts.
Last year, Dropit said it had landed a contract with the San Francisco 49ers, which would incorporate Dropit's software into its app.
The National Football League team would also use Dropit technology to run live reverse auctions on stadium big screens and on fans' mobile phones at games expected to attract crowds of up to 70,000 people.
On Thursday, Dropit said its first live stadium event had launched, but with a different sport: Major League Baseball.
Dropit reverse auctions ran at pre-season spring training games between the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers.
About 10,000 people engaged with the auctions at the games in Phoenix, Arizona.
Dropit had previously only done online reverse auctions.
"It's the first time we've had people playing the game on their phones in a stadium while it is running concurrently on the big boards," Peter Howell said.
"We believe there were at least 500 tickets sold on the second day to people who just wanted to take part in the auction."
Howell said mobile phones had created a challenge for live sporting events because fans were distracted and not engaging with sponsor advertising like they used to.
Big screens had advanced but the content they broadcasted was mostly the same, he said.
"We have combined the pace of a video game with the live action of a big stadium screen, the intimacy of the smartphone screen, and people's love of shopping for a bargain."
The two big ticket items auctioned were a Ducati Panigale 959 motorbike, worth US$15,400 (NZ$22,000) but sold for US$3904, and a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport which sold at half-price for US$11,850.