In 2016, both the Chicago Blackhawks and the Buffalo Sabres decided to do away with physical tickets. Dan Gigante, who not only held season tickets for both teams but also liked to save them, recalls jotting a note in his phone:
I wonder if there’s a market for keepsake tickets.
The idea lay dormant until January 2022 when Gigante and wife Katie Krawczyk—owner/operators of marketing agency 19 Ideas—tested it out. After the Buffalo Bills’ “perfect game,” the pair released a commemorative souvenir ticket through 19 Ideas. “It did really well,” Gigante says. “We were like, ‘Okay, there’s something here.’”
That success spurred the formation of their new company, Went, which allows fans to commemorate sports games, concerts, and other special events through artist-designed, souvenir tickets. Fans can enter in-person seat locations, bar names, or even home addresses to customize where they watched, and also add game stats or gift messages. “It’s not just replacing the fact that there’s no ticket,” Gigante says. “It’s making it better.”
The first ticket, released for the Buffalo vs. Los Angeles game, debuted September 8 with artwork by Jarek Pulit, who also designed the January 2022 test ticket. Each ticket this season is designed by a different local artist. Artists receive one dollar per every $18 ticket sold.
Inspired by TOMS, a shoe company with a history of philanthropy, Gigante tries to incorporate giving back into his business ventures. As such, Went donates ten percent of its Buffalo football ticket sales to the Patricia Allen Fund supporting John R. O’Shei Children’s Hospital.
Went is currently focused on football, but the company is primed to soon expand to concerts and other special events. Says Gigante, “We’re trying to go slow [but] the sky’s the limit.”
For now, fans can look forward to a new ticket for each Buffalo football game. “I think everyone can feel that this season is going to be special,” Gigante says. “I think we’re going to want to remember [it] forever, and that’s what this helps you do.”
Tickets are available online at went.co.