Buying tickets just got a little bit easier thanks to the help of Frank Panko and wife Missy. The Passyunk Square couple and regular Phillies games attendees launched a site where fans across the globe can give people a glimpse of the view from each seat.
“We go to a lot of Phillies games, baseball games, downtown. We ran into the problem when we wanted to buy season tickets. It was hard to figure out where we wanted to sit and what sections,” Panko, 36, said. “You can go to the actual Phillies site and they have photos, but it’s one photo and it doesn’t give a good interpretation of what it’s like to be there.”
Panko’s solution was aviewfrommyseat.com, a website where fans everywhere can share photos taken from their seats at sporting events, concerts and the like. It went live a year ago and people started uploading photos the same day, Panko said.
“When we’d go to a game, we noticed how many people were taking photos around the stadium,” the Ninth-and-Wharton-streets resident said. “What if we can give people who are already taking photos with their camera phones a way to redisperse them back out again? We did it as an experiment to see how many people would do it. Then we made it an app.”
With an Android application — the main way people are sharing the photos — and an iPhone application in the works, the site currently boasts photos from the majority of North American venues, with Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizen’s Bank Way, the most uploaded site. All it takes is an e-mail address to sign up and start sharing.
“It’s still a long way from [what we want it to be]. We now have multiple photos from every section from Citizens Bank Park,” Panko said. “I’m hoping to let it grow and try and work something out with a ticket company to try and give people who are sharing discounts on tickets to those venues.”
Panko and his wife manage the site largely from their mobile phones and Panko said there have only been a few photos he has had to relocate to a different area of the site, as they were not true to the site’s mission. Eventually, Panko hopes the site will be a way for fans to have a better purchasing experience.
“We’re hoping to do more with this in the future, but we are still at the very beginning of it,” he said. “We want to work deals with the ticket agency and I’d like to try and work something out with the venues themselves, advertising at the venues, so more people, while they are there, know about it.”
Panko has been in Philadelphia since 1994 and moved into his Italian Market pad five years ago. The neighborhood has been the perfect pace for the young couple.
“My wife, at the time [of our marriage], was living [up] at Federal. We were walking around and it seemed nice and still affordable. [Pub on Passyunk East, 1501 E. Passyunk Ave.,] wasn’t quite here yet, but it was being built,” Panko said. “It was nice to find a neighborhood. Up and down Passyunk there is the feel of really old shops that have still been here for probably decades. It was affordable, but it was going through a lot of growth.”
Panko came to Philadelphia to study at Tyler School of Art, graduating in ’98 with a degree in design and painting. He translated his fine arts skills into graphic design for advertising agencies upon graduation and he found more than he expected on the job.
“[My wife and I] met at the job we are at now. We’ve been with this company for about 10 years now,” Panko said of his day job designing for the Web. “I’ve been drawing my whole life — middle school and high school. I thought I would go into some kind of art career, design or tech. I’m very good with numbers, so essentially, when it comes to design, I like writing code, writing code that looks pretty in the end.”
Painting has become a hobby, but aviewfrommyseat.com takes up the majority of Panko’s non-work hours. Working on the site is a passion project and Panko hopes it will grow into more of a commitment than it is now.
“I’m hoping to spend the next three or four months to actually grow it to see if we could get it into a small business so we could hire people. I want to see how far we could take it on our own,” Panko said. “I like where it’s at, but it’s got a ways to go before it’s at where I see it going next.” SPR
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