US 7216109: "System and method for reallocating and/or upgrading and/or selling tickets, other event admittance means, goods and/or services"



The above example shows the number of issued patents in USPTO Class 360 by filing date. The year that US Patent 4131919: "Electronic still camera" was filed appears in orange. Learn more about Patent-In-Context


Patent Overview

Patent Title: System and method for reallocating and/or upgrading and/or selling tickets, other event admittance means, goods and/or services
Patent Number: 7216109 Filing Date: Oct 31, 2003
Application Number: 10697089 Issue Date: May 08, 2007
Back to Search Results

Claims

(click to expand)

1. A method of dynamically at least one of allocating, upgrading and awarding admittance to events to an event customer via a data communication network, said data communication network optionally comprising a server, workstations operably connectable to said server, one or more databases operably connectable to said server and said workstations, said workstations optionally including a web browser interface facilitating communication with said server, a point of sale server operably connectable to the server, a point of sale system operably connectable to the point of sale server, and wireless devices operably connectable to said server, said wireless devices including at least one of a smart card, a personal digital assistant, a mobile telephones, and a mobile data device, said wireless device comprising at least one of transmitting and receiving means and transceiver means for receiving and transmitting signals, said method comprising the at least one of the sequential, non-sequential and sequence independent steps of: (a) at least one of receiving a communication from and transmitting the communication to the event customer, the communication including a request to obtain admittance to at least one event, the communication optionally including an identifier associated with with the communication; (b) at least one of updating and creating an account associated with the request; (c) at least one of accessing and verifying the account optionally by utilizing the identifier stored on the identification device at the point of sale system upon presentation of the identification device to verify the request; (d) admitting the event customer at the point of sale system after verification of the request; (e) determining an available allocation associated with the event and notifying at least one of the event customers that are at least one of currently attending the event, and registered for at least one of allocating, provisioning, upgrading and awarding responsive to said determining the available allocation; (f) accepting by at least one of the event customers said at least one of allocating, provisioning, upgrading and awarding in accordance with predetermined criteria; (g) transmitting a confirmation to the at least one wireless device confirming to the at least one event customer the at least one of said at least one of: allocating, provisioning, upgrading and awarding; (h) determining event customers to be notified via the at least one wireless device, and notifying the event customers responsive to customer profiles comprising at least one of communication, patron satisfaction communication, additional revenue, additional advertising, and advertising sponsorship for advertising on the wireless device; (i) polling the wireless devices of a plurality of users for additional communications including additional requests for at least one of additional movie tickets, additional sporting event tickets, additional concessions, additional services, additional offers, additional entertainment services and additional merchandise; (j) billing the at least one of the event customers in at least one of real-time or at a later time for said at least one of allocating, provisioning, upgrading and awarding in accordance with the second predetermined criteria; and (k) paying by the at least one of the event customers responsive to said billing step (g).

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the communication includes at least one of payment information, an event selection, a venue selection, a concession selection, and a merchandise selection.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein said identification device comprises a memory medium for storing the identifier, and wherein said accessing step further comprises reading said identifier from said identification device with a reading device.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the account is stored in at least one of the server, the identification device, and the point of sale server.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the account includes a list of purchased items.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the request comprises at least one of a movie ticket, a sporting event ticket, a concession, or merchandise.

7. The method of claim 1, further comprising receiving demographic information from the event customer.

8. The method of claim 1, further comprising generating at least one of a physical receipt, a confirmation, and an electronic confirmation with at least one of the identification device and the point of sale server.

9. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of generating at least one of a physical receipt, a confirmation, and an electronic confirmation with at least one of the identification device and the point of sale server, and the at least one of the physical receipt, the confirmation, and the electronic confirmation comprises at least one of reserved seating and purchase information.

10. A method of dynamically at least one of allocating, upgrading and awarding admittance to events to an event customer via a data communication network, said data communication network optionally comprising a server, workstations operably connectable to said server, one or more databases operably connectable to said server and said workstations, said workstations optionally including a web browser interface facilitating communication with said server, a point of sale server operably connectable to the server, a point of sale system operably connectable to the point of sale server, and wireless devices operably connectable to said server, said wireless devices including at least one of a smart card, a personal digital assistant, a mobile telephones, and a mobile data device, said wireless device comprising at least one of transmitting and receiving means and transceiver means for receiving and transmitting signals, said method comprising the at least one of the sequential, non-sequential and sequence independent steps of: (a) at least one of receiving a communication from and transmitting the communication to the event customer, the communication including a request for at least one of a movie ticket, a sporting event ticket, a concession, or merchandise to obtain admittance to at least one event, the communication also including an identifier associated with an identification device; (b) updating an account associated with said identifier to reflect the request; (c) at least one of accessing and verifying the account, optionally by utilizing the identifier stored on the identification device at the point of sale system upon presentation of the identification device to verify the request; (d) admitting the event customer at the point of sale system after verification of the request; (e) determining an available allocation associated with the event and notifying at least one of the event customers that are at least one of currently attending the event, and registered for at least one of allocating, provisioning, upgrading and awarding responsive to said determining the available allocation; (f) accepting by at least one of the event customers said at least one of allocating, provisioning, upgrading and awarding in accordance with predetermined criteria; (g) transmitting a confirmation to the at least one wireless device conforming to the at least one event customer the at least one of said at least one of: allocating, provision, upgrading and awarding; (h) determining event customers to be notified, and notifying the event customers responsive to customer profiles comprising at least one of communication, patron satisfaction communication, additional revenue, additional advertising, and advertising sponsorship for advertising on the wireless device; and (i) polling a plurality of users for additional communications including additional requests for at least one of additional movie tickets, additional sporting event tickets, additional concessions, additional services, additional offers, additional entertainment services and additional merchandise.

11. A system of dynamically at least one of allocating, upgrading and awarding admittance to events to an event customer via a data communication network, said data communication network optionally comprising a server, workstations operably connectable to said server, one or more databases operably connectable to said server and said workstations, said workstations optionally including a web browser interface facilitating communication with said server, a point of sale server operably connectable to the server, a point of sale system operably connectable to the point of sale server, and wireless devices operably connectable to said server, said wireless devices including at least one of a smart card, a personal digital assistant, a mobile telephones, and a mobile data device, said wireless device comprising at least one of transmitting and receiving means and transceiver means for receiving and transmitting signals, said system comprising: (a) means for at least one of receiving a communication from and transmitting the communication to the event customer, the communication including a request for at least one of a movie ticket, a sporting event ticket, a concession, or merchandise to obtain admittance to at least one event, the communication also including an identifier associated with an identification device, and said means for receiving step further including equivalents thereof; (b) means for at least one of updating and creating an account associated with the request; (c) means for at least one of accessing and verifying the account, optionally by utilizing the identifier stored on the identification device at the point of sale system upon presentation of the identification device to verify the request; (d) means for admitting the event customer at the point of sale system after verification of the request; (e) means for determining an available allocation associated with the event and notifying at least one of the event customers that are at least one of currently attending the event, and registered for at least one of allocating, provisioning, upgrading and awarding responsive to said determining the available allocation; (f) means for accepting by at least one of the event customers said at least one of allocating, provisioning, upgrading and awarding in accordance with predetermined criteria; (g) means for transmitting a confirmation to the at least one wireless device confirming to the at least one event customer the at least one of said at least one of: allocating, provisioning, upgrading and awarding; (h) means for determining event customers to be notified, and notifying the event customers responsive to customer profiles comprising at least one of communication, patron satisfaction communication, additional revenue, additional advertising, and advertising sponsorship for advertising on the wireless device; and (i) means for polling a plurality of users for additional communications including additional requests for at least one of additional movie tickets, additional sporting event tickets, additional concessions, additional services, additional offers, additional entertainment services and additional merchandise.

12. A system to upgrade and award admittance to events to an event customer, said system comprising: a server comprising a processor and a memory medium, said server connected to a data communication network, said memory medium containing instructions for controlling said processor, wherein said processor receives a communication from the event customer, the communication including a request to obtain admittance to at least one event, the communication optionally including an identifier associated with the event customer, updates a database indicating that the request was processed, determines first predetermined criteria associated with the event indicative of at least one other event customer not attending the event, releases an allocation associated with the at least one other event customer responsive to said determining step, notifies at least another of the event customers to at least one of upgrade and award the at least another of the event customers with the allocation, transmits a confirmation to the at least one wireless device confirming to the at least one event customer the at least one of said at least one of: allocating, provisioning, upgrading and awarding, determines event customers to be notified via the at least one wireless device, notifies the event customers responsive to customer profiles comprising least one of communication, patron satisfaction communication, additional revenue, additional advertising, and advertising sponsorship for advertising on the wireless device, and polls the wireless devices of a plurality of users for additional communications including additional requests for at least one of additional movie tickets, additional sporting event tickets, additional concessions, additional services, additional offers, additional entertainment services and additional merchandise; and a plurality of wireless devices operably connectable to said server, said wireless devices including at least one of a smart card, a personal digital assistant, a mobile telephone, and a mobile data device, said wireless device comprising at least one of transmitting and receiving means and transceiver means for receiving and transmitting signals to and from said server, including accepting by the at least another of the event customers said at least one of the upgrade and award for the reallocation via at least one of said wireless devices.

Classifications

(click to expand)

US ClassificationDescription
705/005000 DATA PROCESSING: FINANCIAL, BUSINESS PRACTICE, MANAGEMENT, OR COST/PRICE DETERMINATION
^----AUTOMATED ELECTRICAL FINANCIAL OR BUSINESS PRACTICE OR MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENT
     ^----Reservation, check-in, or booking display for reserved space
705/067000 DATA PROCESSING: FINANCIAL, BUSINESS PRACTICE, MANAGEMENT, OR COST/PRICE DETERMINATION
^----BUSINESS PROCESSING USING CRYPTOGRAPHY
     ^----Secure transaction (e.g., EFT/POS)
          ^----Including intelligent token (e.g., electronic purse)
               ^----Including authentication
705/005000 DATA PROCESSING: FINANCIAL, BUSINESS PRACTICE, MANAGEMENT, OR COST/PRICE DETERMINATION
^----AUTOMATED ELECTRICAL FINANCIAL OR BUSINESS PRACTICE OR MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENT
     ^----Reservation, check-in, or booking display for reserved space
705/037000 DATA PROCESSING: FINANCIAL, BUSINESS PRACTICE, MANAGEMENT, OR COST/PRICE DETERMINATION
^----AUTOMATED ELECTRICAL FINANCIAL OR BUSINESS PRACTICE OR MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENT
     ^----Finance (e.g., banking, investment or credit)
          ^----Trading, matching, or bidding
705/026000 DATA PROCESSING: FINANCIAL, BUSINESS PRACTICE, MANAGEMENT, OR COST/PRICE DETERMINATION
(+ truncated)
340/825000 COMMUNICATIONS: ELECTRICAL
(+ truncated)
235/382000 REGISTERS
^----SYSTEMS CONTROLLED BY DATA BEARING RECORDS
     ^----Credit or identification card systems
          ^----Permitting access
235/384000 REGISTERS
^----SYSTEMS CONTROLLED BY DATA BEARING RECORDS
     ^----Transportation

References

(click to expand)

Patent Number Author Title Cited by:
4599490 Cornell et al. Control of telecommunication switching systems other
4700374 Bini Mobile telephone location system other
4724435 Moses et al. Bi-directional data telemetry system other
4740792 Sagey et al. Vehicle location system other
4754495 Kawano et al. Cell enhancer for cellular radio telephone system having bandpass filter arrangement other
4866732 Carey et al. Wireless telephone system other
4905301 Krolopp et al. Selective system scan for multizone radiotelephone subscriber units other
4951279 Hotta Transceiver for use in earth station in satellite communications system other
4956875 Bernard et al. Emergency radio alerting and message transmitting system directable to selected classes and numbers of receivers other
4972455 Phillips et al. Dual-bandwidth cellular telephone other
4972456 Kaczmarek et al. Rural radiotelephone system other
5020091 Krolopp et al. Automatic new radiotelephone system registration notification other
5020092 Phillips et al. Dual-bandwidth cellular telephone other
5020093 Pireh Cellular telephone operable on different cellular telephone systems other
5073900 Mallinckrodt Integrated cellular communications system other
5119397 Dahlin et al. Combined analog and digital cellular telephone system having a secondary set of control channels other
5163131 Row et al. Parallel I/O network file server architecture other
5216427 Yan et al. Land-mobile satellite communication system other
5239647 Anglin et al. Data storage hierarchy with shared storage level other
5247699 Hartman Cellular frequency reuse cell plan other
5257400 Yoshida Cellular mobile telephone system other
5303286 Wiedeman Wireless telephone/satellite roaming system other
5307400 Sawyer et al. Call routing in mobile telephone systems other
5339330 Mallinckrodt Integrated cellular communications system other
5353331 Emery et al. Personal communications service using wireline/wireless integration other
5353352 Dent et al. Multiple access coding for radio communications other
5369681 Boudreau et al. Cellular communications system utilizing paging areas other
5371898 Grube et al. Method for a communication unit to operate in either a trunking or a cellular communication system other
5392355 Khurana et al. Secure communication system other
5394560 Kane Nationwide satellite message delivery system other
5446756 Mallinckrodt Integrated cellular communications system other
5475734 McDonald et al. Method and apparatus for sharing radio frequency spectrum in a radio frequency communication system other
5488649 Schellinger Method for validating a communication link other
5511233 Otten System and method for mobile communications in coexistence with established communications systems other
5526404 Wiedeman et al. Worldwide satellite telephone system and a network coordinating gateway for allocating satellite and terrestrial gateway resources other
5533023 Ohlson et al. Practical means for dynamic allocation of individual demodulators to a multiplicity of received RF signals other
5535430 Aoki et al. Mobile communication terminal equipment usable for both satellite and terrestrial communications other
5555257 Dent Cellular/satellite communications system with improved frequency re-use other
5586165 Wiedeman Satellite and terrestrial telephone other
5590395 Diekelman Satellite cellular network resource management method and apparatus other
5592470 Rudrapatna et al. Broadband wireless system and network architecture providing broadband/narrowband service with optimal static and dynamic bandwidth/channel allocation other
5594740 LaDue Wireless communications application specific enabling method and apparatus other
5594780 Wiedeman et al. Satellite communication system that is coupled to a terrestrial communication network and method other
5612703 Mallinckrodt position determination in an integrated cellular communications system other
5618045 Kagan et al. Interactive multiple player game system and method of playing a game between at least two players other
5636920 Shur et al. Sports team organizer other
5647795 Stanton Portable computerized pari-mutuel sports entertainment system other
5649292 Doner Obtaining improved frequency reuse in wireless communication systems other
5659878 Uchida et al. Mobile communication system with satellite communication hand off capability other
5794207 Walker et al. Method and apparatus for a cryptographically assisted commercial network system designed to facilitate buyer-driven conditional purchase offers other
5812968 Hassan et al. Vocoder apparatus using the link margin other
5832379 Mallinckrodt Communications system including control means for designating communication between space nodes and surface nodes other
5835857 Otten Position determination for reducing unauthorized use of a communication system other
5867765 Nilsson Non-geostationary satellite mobile communication system integration with network principles for terrestrial cellular other
5878329 Mallinckrodt Power control of an integrated cellular communications system other
5915207 Dao et al. Mobile and wireless information dissemination architecture and protocols other
5940753 Mallinckrodt Controller for cellular communications system other
5995832 Mallinckrodt Communications system other
6038455 Gardner et al. Reverse channel reuse scheme in a time shared cellular communication system other
6052629 Leatherman et al. Internet capable browser dispenser architecture other
6091955 Aalto et al. Increasing the capacity of a cellular radio network other
6108561 Mallinckrodt Power control of an integrated cellular communications system other
6192349 Husemann et al. Smart card mechanism and method for obtaining electronic tickets for goods services over an open communications link examiner
6496809 Nakfoor Electronic ticketing system and method examiner
6738150 Claiborne et al. Methods and systems for processing image data examiner
20010018660 Sehr examiner
EP 0 597 225 other
EP 0 712 215 other
EP 0 750 406 other
GB 2265795 other
JP 08214362 other
JP 10-506517 other
JP 10/209939 other
WO WO 95/19078 other
WO WO 99/34636 other
WO WO 0189150 examiner

Referenced By:

(click to expand)

Patent Number Issue Date Title Author
7965992 Jun 21, 2011 Method and system for broadcasting data messages to a vehicle Habaguchi, Masayuki; Ohno, Tsuneo
7394388 Jul 01, 2008 System and method for providing visual and physiological cues in a matching system Light, Elliott D.; Roberts, Jon L.
7643788 Jan 05, 2010 Method and system for broadcasting data messages to a vehicle Habaguchi, Masayuki; Ohno, Tsuneo
7600252 Oct 06, 2009 System method and model for social security interoperability among intermittently connected interoperating devices Illowsky, Daniel; Bernstein, Bruce; Mirabella, Richard; Pieb, Wolfgang; Sidney, Raymond; Tiberi, Richard; Wenocur, Michael
7693740 Apr 06, 2010 Dynamic selection of complementary inbound marketing offers Ramsey, Mark S.; Selby, David A.
7733232 Jun 08, 2010 System and method for social networking in a virtual space Light, Elliott D.; Roberts, Jon L.
7792700 Sep 07, 2010 Methods and computer-readable storage devices for managing transactions with multiple broker affiliates Dubin, Jacob M.; Thompson, Jerry L.
7818380 Oct 19, 2010 Method and system for broadcasting safety messages to a vehicle Tamura, Kazuya; Harris, Harry
8099308 Jan 17, 2012 Method and system for vehicle service appointments based on diagnostic trouble codes Uyeki, Robert
8204796 Jun 19, 2012 Managing transactions of broker affiliates Dubin, Jacob M.; Thompson, Jerry L.
7528729 May 05, 2009 System and method for providing visual and physiological cues in a matching system Light, Elliott D.; Roberts, Jon L.
7562049 Jul 14, 2009 Payment system and method for data broadcasted from a remote location to vehicles Habaguchi, Masayuki
7668653 Feb 23, 2010 System and method for selectively filtering and providing event program information Habaguchi, Masayuki
7689453 Mar 30, 2010 Capturing marketing events and data models Ramsey, Mark S.; Selby, David A.
7693581 Apr 06, 2010 Application and service management for industrial control devices Callaghan, David M.; Batke, Brian A.
7849149 Dec 07, 2010 Method and system for controlling the exchange of vehicle related messages Habaguchi, Masayuki; Yuhara, Hiromitsu; Ono, Tsuneo; Tamura, Kazuya; Clough, Jamie Marie; Shannon, Richard C.; Okino, Jon Yoshito; Gusiff, John Albert; Appa, Daya
7920065 Apr 05, 2011 System and method for providing visual and physiological cues in a matching system Light, Elliott D.; Roberts, Jon L.
8131645 Mar 06, 2012 System and method for processing media gifts Lin, Gloria; Mikhak, Amir Mahmood; Nakajima, Taido Lantz; Mayo, Sean Anthony; Rosenblatt, Michael; Hodge, Andrew
RE043601 Aug 21, 2012 System and methods for enhancing the experience of spectators attending a live sporting event, with gaming capability Arseneau, Marc; Charette, Alain; Arseneau, Jean; Poisson, Michel
8301125 Oct 30, 2012 Mobile dynamic advertisement creation and placement Ramer, Jorey; Soroca, Adam; Doughty, Dennis; Karasic, Neal J.
8326221 Dec 04, 2012 Portable electronic device with proximity-based content synchronization Dorsey, John G.
8332397 Dec 11, 2012 Presenting sponsored content on a mobile communication facility Ramer, Jorey; Soroca, Adam; Doughty, Dennis
8351933 Jan 08, 2013 Managing sponsored content based on usage history Ramer, Jorey; Soroca, Adam; Doughty, Dennis
7466226 Dec 16, 2008 System and method for providing visual and physiological cues in a security matching system Light, Elliott D.; Roberts, Jon L.
7518530 Apr 14, 2009 Method and system for broadcasting audio and visual display messages to a vehicle Ohno, Tsuneo; Habaguchi, Masayuki
7602758 Oct 13, 2009 Method to obtain friendly names for Bluetooth devices Sharma, Om; Holan, Doron J.; Ray, Kenneth D.; Giliberto, Louis J.
7689454 Mar 30, 2010 Dynamic selection of groups of outbound marketing events Ramsey, Mark S.; Selby, David A.
7522058 Apr 21, 2009 System and method for social networking in a virtual space Light, Elliott D.; Roberts, Jon L.
7949330 May 24, 2011 System and method for providing weather warnings and alerts Yuhara, Hiromitsu; Habaguchi, Masayuki
8208910 Jun 26, 2012 Spam control for sharing content on mobile devices Agrawal, Anuraag; Sullivan, Bryan
8219466 Jul 10, 2012 System and method for providing asset management and tracking capabilities Gui, John Yupeng; Carbone, John William; Salvo, Joseph
8340666 Dec 25, 2012 Managing sponsored content based on usage history Ramer, Jorey; Soroca, Adam; Doughty, Dennis
7979374 Jul 12, 2011 Product demonstration system and method for using the same Landvik, Dag
8175926 May 08, 2012 Event and services inventory management system Handel, Sean; Sandoval, Gabriel; Orttung, Mark
7298271 Nov 20, 2007 Method and apparatus for providing awards using transponders Sprogis, Peter
7660647 Feb 09, 2010 Processing method for vending machine with substitutable magazines Ruskin, Frank; Simson, Anton K.; Charmasson, Henri J. A.; Brusso, Peter C.
7885599 Feb 08, 2011 System, method and computer program product for receiving data from a satellite radio network Yuhara, Hiromitsu; Habaguchi, Masayuki
7342503 Mar 11, 2008 System and method for providing visual and physiological cues in a matching system Light, Elliott D.; Roberts, Jon L.
7565351 Jul 21, 2009 Automation device data interface Callaghan, David M.
7706895 Apr 27, 2010 Reliable messaging instruction Callaghan, David M.
7609167 Oct 27, 2009 System and method for secure networking in a virtual space Light, Elliott D.; Roberts, Jon L.
7800507 Sep 21, 2010 System and method for providing visual and physiological cues in a matching system Light, Elliot D.; Roberts, Jon L.
7881959 Feb 01, 2011 On demand selection of marketing offers in response to inbound communications Ramsey, Mark S.; Selby, David A.
8041779 Oct 18, 2011 Method and system for facilitating the exchange of information between a vehicle and a remote location Habaguchi, Masayuki; Yuhara, Hiromitsu; Ohno, Tsuneo; Tamura, Kazuya; Clough, Jamie; Shannon, Rich; Okino, Jon; Gusiff, John; Appa, Daya
7849135 Dec 07, 2010 Sharing content on mobile devices Agrawal, Anuraag; Yee, Jeff
8316031 Nov 20, 2012 System for targeting advertising content to a plurality of mobile communication facilities Ramer, Jorey; Soroca, Adam; Doughty, Dennis
7555615 Jun 30, 2009 Product demonstration system and method for using same Landvik, Dag

Description

(click to expand)

RELATED APPLICATIONS


This application is a continuation-in-part application of, and claims priority to, U.S. application Ser. No. 09/910,821 filed on Jul. 24, 2001 now U.S. Pat. No. 7,031,945, and entitled ?SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR REALLOCATING AND/OR UPGRADING AND/OR REWARDING TICKETS, OTHER EVENT ADMITTANCE MEANS, GOODS AND/OR SERVICES,? which in turn claims priority to both U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/220,218 filed on Jul. 24, 2000 and entitled ?SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR REALLOCATING AND/OR UPGRADING TICKETS OR OTHER EVENT ADMITTANCE MEANS?, and U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/226,594 filed on Aug. 21, 2000 and entitled ?SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR REALLOCATING AND/OR UPGRADING TICKETS OR OTHER EVENT ADMITTANCE MEANS?, and the details of all the above applications are hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION


The present invention relates generally to purchasing and provisioning items or services online for reallocating and/or upgrading and/or rewarding tickets and/or other goods/services, and more particularly, to a system, method, and computer readable medium storing computer-executable instructions for upgrading, reallocating, purchasing, and/or being rewarded items or services including event tickets, concessions, and/or merchandise over a data communication network and provisioning these purchases for, for example, reallocating and/or upgrading tickets.

Provisioning, as defined herein, includes in whole or in part, the process of effectuating and/or facilitating the processing of a transaction, including, for example, the sale and/or transfer and/or reallocation of tickets, goods, services, and the like, for movies, theatre, shows, sporting events, cultural events, and other non-event related purchases, services, and the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


U.S. Pat. No. 6,052,629 to Leatherman et al. (Leatherman), incorporated herein by reference, is directed to an Internet capable browser dispenser architecture. As shown in prior art FIG. 1 (FIG. 1 of Leatherman), the system of Leatherman includes a plurality of fuel dispensers 12, each having at least two fueling positions and acting as a point of sale (POS) interface. Connected to the fuel dispensers 12 is a main service station store 16, a local server 18, a convenience store 20, a number of restaurants 22, and a car wash 24, as well as other remote servers 26 via the Internet. Basically, the system of Leatherman provides gas station customers with access to a server on a local network and remote sites via the Internet. With this arrangement, the gas station customers may purchase services at the POS dispensers and be subject to advertisements transmitted thereto. However, while Leatherman discusses purchasing items at a gas station, it makes no disclosure of effectively provisioning and/or performing transactions in the entertainment and/or ticketing industry.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,618,045 to Kagan et al. (Kagen), incorporated herein by reference, relates to an interactive game system. As depicted in prior art FIG. 2 (FIG. 1 of Kagen), the interactive game system 610 of Kagen includes three playing devices 612, 614, and 616, which communicate via a wireless local area network. Communication is effected utilizing short-range radio, infrared, or ultra-sonic signals. As shown in prior art FIG. 3 (FIG. 2 of Kagen), each playing device includes a processor 718, an interface 720, a transmitter 722, a receiver 724 and a display 726. Using these components, a player's actions are transmitted to and received by another player's playing device.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,636,920 to Shur et al. (Shur), incorporated herein by reference, relates to a sports team organizer. In prior art FIG. 4 (FIG. 1 of Shur), a portable computing device for organizing a sports team includes an input device 812, a processor 814, a memory 816, a number of stored programs 818, and an output device 820. With these elements, the organizing system allows a team roster, a starting lineup, and a number of drills to be generated.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,647,795 to Stanton (Stanton), incorporated herein by reference, relates to portable computerized pari-mutuel sports entertainment system. In prior art FIG. 5 (FIG. 1 of Stanton), the system includes a computer 911 and conductor 916, a video cassette recorder 912 with video tape 917, a television set 913, keypads 914, and printers 915. The computer 911 operates as a main computing server, and includes a motherboard 920, a memory card 921, and a number of graphics and other serial cards 922, 923, and 924. With this system, bets are entered from remote locations with keypads 914 and stored in computer 911. After a race, winnings are collected at the cashiers' windows (keypads 914).

The above cited patents are relevant from the perspective that wireless devices are gaining more popularity in today's society.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,794,207 to Walker et al. (Walker), incorporated herein by reference, relates to a method and apparatus for a cryptographically assisted commercial network system designed to facilitate buyer-driven conditional purchase offers. In prior art FIG. 6 (FIG. 1 of Walker), the system includes seller interfaces 300, central controller 200, and buyer node 400. A number of modems 350 and 450 facilitate connection to central controller 200. Using these components, a buyer communicates a binding purchase offer to a number of sellers. In response, the sellers have the option to accept a purchase offer and thus bind the corresponding buyer to a contract. Nevertheless, Walker makes no mention of allowing redemption of the purchases at a point of sale location upon identification or verification of the purchaser or of the purchase.

FIGS. 7?9 show a prior art radio frequency (RF) transmission system 100, as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,819,172, incorporated herein by reference, for transmitting information from one of a plurality of originating processors A?N to at least one of a plurality of destination processors (A?N) which may be transported during operation. The system 100 includes at least one gateway switch 150 that stores information received from one of the at least one originating processor prior to transmission of the information to the at least one destination processor; a RF information transmission network 130 for transmitting stored information received from one of the at least one gateway switch 150 by RF transmission to at least one destination processor; and at least one interface switch 162 that connects a gateway switch 150 to the RF transmission network 100 and transmits stored information received from one of the at least one gateway switch 150 to the RF information transmission network 100.

The information is transmitted to a receiving interface switch by the electronic mail system in response to an address of the receiving interface switch which has been added to the information originated by the originating processor by either the originating processor or gateway switch 14. The information is transmitted from the receiving interface switch to the RF information transmission network 130 with an address of the destination processor to receive the information which has been added by either the originating processor, a gateway switch or the receiving interface switch.

More particularly, FIG. 8 illustrates a block diagram of the connection between a plurality of gateway switches with mailboxes 150 in different electronic mail systems to the RF information transmission network 160. Multiple gateway switches with mailboxes 150 from a single electronic mail system 1?N may be connected to each interface switch 162 instead of the connection of a single gateway switch with a mailbox to a single interface switch as illustrated. A plurality of interface switches 162 connect information transmitted from at least one electronic mail system as illustrated in FIG. 7. Optionally, a plurality of electronic mail systems 1?N are connected to a data input port of the RF information transmission system which is preferably hub switch 116. The dotted line communication paths 163 illustrate optional information transmissions in which information from a plurality of different electronic mail systems is concentrated at a single interface switch 304. The dotted line communication paths 161 illustrate connections to additional gateway switches with mailboxes 150 within electronic mail systems 1?N.

The interface switches 162 function as a security check to determine that information transmissions originating from a gateway switch with mailbox 150 represent transmissions which should be coupled to a hub switch 116 of the RF information transmission network 160. The security check is performed by the interface switch 162 comparing the identification number of the RF receiver 119 which has been added by either an originating processor A?N or a gateway switch with mailboxes 150 with permissible identification numbers or the interface switch performing the addition of the identification number.

The interface switch 162 also removes information added by the electronic mail system 1?N to the information originated by the originating processor A?N from the stored information received from one of the gateway switches 14, and adds information used by the RF information transmission network 130 during transmission of the information originated at the originating processor to a RF receiver 119 in the RF information transmission network 130 which receives the information and transfers it to the destination processor A?N. Additionally, the interface switch 162 encodes data, which is required to format the display of the cathode ray tube (CRT) of the destination processor for the electronic mail system to which the destination processor is connected, in the form of a character or characters which are decoded by either the RF receiver 119 or the destination processor A?N. This information is added in decoded form back to the information which is processed by the destination processor with a format of the electronic mail system to which the destination processor A?N is connected.

The interface switches 162 also function to store information which has been stored by at least one gateway switch 150 that is received from a plurality of originating processors, and assemble the information from a plurality of originating processors into a packet having a predetermined format and transmit the packet to the hub switch 116 within the RF information transmission network 160. The hub switch is the preferable node in the RF information transmission network to which communications from the gateway switches 150 should be transmitted as a consequence of it having jurisdiction over both local access and transport area (LATA) switches 150 and the local switches 112 in the RF information transmission network, which results in lesser network overhead.

The hub switch 116 receives the packet from the receiving interface switch 162 and disassembles the packet into information from the plurality of originating processors. The originating processors are either within a single electronic mail system such as system 1, or from a plurality of electronic mail systems, such as systems 1?N, or from outside of any electronic mail system from at least one additional processor 312 which is connected directly to interface switch 162 to originate information to be transmitted to a destination processor A?N in an electronic mail system as described below. The RF information transmission network 130 transmits the disassembled information from the hub switch 116, including the identification number of the RF receiver 119 transferring information, to the destination processor A?N to a local switch 112 storing the file identified by the identification number and any destination of the RF receiver in the RF information transmission network to which the information and identification number is to be transmitted by the RF information transmission network, and adds any destination of the RF receiver to the information. The RF information transmission network, in response to any added destination, transmits the information and identification number to the destination for RF broadcast to the RF receiver 119 for transfer to the destination processor A?N.

The information is transmitted to a receiving interface switch 162 from one or more gateway switches 150 by one or more electronic mail systems 1?N in response to an address of the receiving interface switch which has been added to the information originated by the originating processor by either the originating processor or gateway switch. The information is transmitted from the receiving interface switch 162 to the RF information transmission network with an address of the destination processor, such as a name of a user of the destination processor A?N, to receive the information which has been added by either the originating processor A?N, a gateway switch 150 or the receiving interface switch 304.

Preferably, the address of the receiving interface switch is a code word, such as ?TF-MOBOX?, which is recognized throughout the electronic mail system when appended to information as directing the information to be transmitted to the interface switch 304. The address of the destination processor is preferably the identification number of the RF receiver 119 within the RF information transmission network 160. The address of the receiving interface switch may be added to the information originated by the originating processor, by a gateway switch 150 or by the originating processor A?N. The address of the receiving interface switch 162 may be added to the information by matching an identification of the destination processor A?N which may be the name of the individual utilizing the processor or some other information to add an address of an interface switch such as the aforementioned ?TF-MOBOX? stored with the matched identification of the destination processor to the information as the address of the receiving interface switch.

Alternatively, the originating processor may be used to add the address of the receiving interface switch 150 by inputting the address of the receiving interface switch (TF-MOBOX) along with an identification of the destination processor A?N (name of recipient using the processor).

The originating processor A?N may also add the address of the receiving interface switch 162 by matching an identification of the destination processor (name of the user of the processor) with a stored identification of a destination processor and adding an address of the interface switch (TF-MOBOX) stored with the matched identification of the destination processor to the information as the address of the receiving interface switch.

The identification number may be added to the information originated by the originating processor or, alternatively, maybe added by the originating processor by matching an identification of the destination processor (the name of the user of the processor) with a stored identification of a destination processor (the authorized user of the destination processor) and adding an identification number stored with the matched identification of the destination processor to the information as the identification number of the RF receiver 119. Alternatively, the aforementioned matching process may be performed by either the gateway switch 150 or the interface switch 304. The additional processors 312 originates information from outside of any electronic mail system.

Processors 312 provide an address of at least one destination processor in an electronic mail system, such as the name of the user, to receive information transmitted by the RF information transmission system 160, or an identification number of the RF receiver 119 receiving information and transferring the information to the destination processor. The interface switch 162 which receives the information from each processor 312 adds information used by the RF information transmission network 130 during transmission of the information to the RF receiver 119 receiving the information in the same manner as described above with respect to the interface switch 304.

Processors 312 are only required to have a telephone modem and support programming to format information for RF transmission to a destination processor A?N within any one of one or more electronic mail systems 1?N. The processors 312 are not required to have the necessary electronic mail system software present in originating processors A?N or interconnections with an electronic mail system. As a result of the connection to the interface switch 304, information originating from the additional processors 312 may be transmitted by RF transmission to a destination processor A?N within any one or a plurality of electronic mail systems with the user of the processor 312, the processor 312 or the interface switch 162 only having to supply an identification number of the receiver 119 to input information into the RF information transmission system 130 for RF transmission to a destination processor.

The difference between originating information by one of the additional processors 312 outside of any electronic mail system and originating information by one of the processors within one of the electronic mail systems is that the direct connection of the additional processor to the interface switch 162 eliminates the requirement for the adding of an address of the interface switch 162 which is required by the electronic mail systems to forward the information to the interface switch where necessary formatting of the information to be compatible with the RF information transmission system is performed. The interface switch 162 packetizes information originating from the additional processors 312 in the same manner as described above with respect to information originating from within an electronic mail system.

Information from within an electronic mail system and originating from additional processors 312 outside of the electronic mail system may be formatted into the same packets which are forwarded to the hub switch 116. Additionally, interface switch 162 may be connected only to the additional processors 312 to provide an interface only for processors outside of any electronic mail system to destination processors A?N within one or more electronic mail systems 1?N. The only information which is necessary to be inputted by the additional processors 312 is the address of the destination processor (user of the processor). The addition of the identification number of the receiver 119 may be added by matching of an identification of the destination processor with stored destination processors within the additional processor 312, or the interface switch 162 with an identification number of the receiver 119 stored with an identification of a destination processor A?N used as an identification of the destination processor upon a match having been made.

Prior art FIGS. 7?9, however, do not generally relate to, for example, providing an integrated or combination real time and polled electronic messaging system, method and/or a computer readable medium storing computer-executable instructions for enabling e-mail messages and/or other data messages and/or services to be transmitted and/or received via a wireless communications device on either a real time and/or polled basis

In recent years, technological advance and consumer demand together have made wireless messaging and related services (e.g., eLinksSM provided by Motient Corporation, Reston, Va.) increasingly popular. These services allow users to, for example, send and receive e-mail messages, as well as provide other messaging services such as paging and faxing. Such e-mail messages are generally received on either a polled or real time basis, where the user has to select the preferred delivery method.

In a polled delivery scheme, the user's existing Internet e-mail account is ?extended? via a wireless communications device. For example, in the case of eLinkSM, messages are retrieved from, for example, a Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3) or Internet Messaging Access Protocol 4 (IMAP4) server and forwarded to a user's wireless device. Using a wireless device, users can access their Internet mailbox either automatically by, for example, setting one or more times at which they wish to receive their messages, or manually by, for example, clicking a ?Get Messages? or similar icon. Other ways of accessing the mailbox are also optionally possible. In a real time delivery scheme, user's are generally provided a new, unique e-mail address, which obviously provides the user with an e-mail account that is separate from their desktop e-mail account. For example, in the case of eLinkSM, user's are provided a unique e-mail address having the form @2way.net. Other message forms and/or domain names may also optionally be utilized. Such wireless schemes also generally allow users to respond to e-mails in a way such that they appear as though they are originated from the user's e-mail system residing on their desktop PC.

Accordingly, the above prior art is cited as background, none of which relates to the reallocating and/or reprovisionsing and/or upgrading and/or rewarding of tickets at events or other goods and services as described in connection with the detailed description below.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION


Driven by a widespread understanding of the Internet's capabilities, the power of electronic commerce, and advances in wireless technologies and devices, mobile commerce (m-commerce) is rapidly approaching the business forefront. According to independent research findings, m-commerce?the conduct of business and services over portable, wireless devices?will soon be a dominant force in business and society. For example:

IDC, an information technology research firm, reports that 70 percent of all wireless subscribers worldwide will access data applications via their phones by 2002.

The investment firm Robinson Humphrey predicts that, in the US, 50 percent of Internet hits will originate from wireless devices by 2004.

The Yankee Group, a telecommunications research firm, projects that by 2004 more than 40 percent of wireless users in the US will access Internet content directly from their mobile devices.

The viability of these projections depends on the power of the underlying technology drivers and the attractiveness of m-commerce applications. To compete in a marketplace dominated by wireless devices, businesses must devise effective m-commerce strategies. Building successful strategies begins by recognizing the forces driving m-commerce's emergence.

The US Federal Communication Commission's auctioning of personal communication-service spectrum space in the mid-1990s triggered the current rush to wireless communication methods. Wireless communication now encompasses not only telephones but appliances, including personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Internet use has grown on the strength of PC networks. According to Yankee Group projections, the installed base of PCs will reach 500 million by 2003, as FIG. 10 shows. This huge base is essential to continued growth in electronic commerce and other communications applications. Moreover, because these systems will have greater power and storage capability, as well as the best ever price-performance ratios, more powerful and sophisticated applications will likely emerge for desktop computing and the Internet.

Although these expectations are impressive, PCs still have two limiting characteristics. First, users must sit in front of them. Second, even portable-notebook PCs have to load software, dial into and connect with a network service provider, and await completion of the handshaking process before they can launch an Internet application. This sequence is understandable, but at best it seems a tolerable nuisance. Hence, the dominant applications are still those that are worth the trouble it takes for a user to follow this access sequence or, at least, to keep the computer and applications running.

The aggregate PC installation is substantial, but even more mobile communication devices are in use. The Gartner Group and other research firms project that by 2004, the installed base of mobile phones worldwide will exceed 1 billion more than twice the number of PCs. In addition, the number of other wireless mobile devices will also increase dramatically. Wireless PDA use will more than triple in the next three years. Unlike PCs, these wireless devices require no boot sequence, so people can use them as soon as they turn them on-making them attractive for quick-hit applications.

Just as the transmission control protocol/Internet protocol and the general purpose browser were principal drivers of Internet growth, letting disparate devices interconnect and communicate, similar factors will simplify the interconnectivity and communication of heterogeneous wireless devices. As FIG. 11 shows, mobile network carriers have relied on a variety of incompatible wireless access standards. Recently, however, a common communications technology and uniform interface standard for presenting and delivering wireless services on mobile devices?wireless application protocol (WAP)?have emerged.

WAP specifications include a microbrowser; scripting similar to JavaScript; access functions; and layered communication specifications for sessions, transport, and security. These specifications enable interface-independent and interoperable applications. Most wireless handset and device manufacturers, as well as several service and infrastructure providers, have adopted the WAP standard.

Current access technologies, including TDMA (time division multiple access), CDMA (code division multiple access), and GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication), transmit at 9.6 to 19.2 Kbps. These speeds are dramatically slower than the dial-up rates of desktop PCs connecting to the Internet. Although m-commerce is possible at these bandwidth rates, the slow speeds are not conducive to creating widespread business or consumer participation.

3G (third-generation) wireless technology will also be available. In addition to having greater bandwidth rates, with speeds up to 2 Mbps, 3G will support multimedia transmission. Integrating voice, data, and one- or two-way video will let m-commerce run over any wireless device.

M-commerce applications fall into three main categories: transaction management, digital content delivery, and telemetry services. Users will increasingly initiate a wide range of business transactions from mobile devices. Online shopping sites tailored to mobile phones and PDAs including browsing, selection, purchase, payment, and delivery?have already emerged. These sites include all the necessary shopping features, such as online catalogs, shopping carts, and back office functions. Online booksellers are among the firms that have already implemented wireless shopping transactions. Another class of m-commerce transactions involves using wireless devices to initiate and pay for purchases and services in real time. These kinds of transactions will likely increase as users gain the capability?and become comfortable enough?to manage them. The highest m-commerce transaction volume will probably occur in micro transactions. When individuals reach for their e-cash-equipped mobile phones or PDAs?rather than coins?to settle transactions such as subway fees, widespread use of digital cash will be a reality.

Digital content delivery uses the wireless channel's distribution characteristics. These m-commerce activities include information browsing?instant retrieval of status information (weather, transit schedules, sports scores, ticket availability, and market prices)?and directory services. The CNN Wireless news subscription service and the UPS PDA-linked package tracking and locator service are representative of emerging content delivery services.

Digital products easily transport to and from wireless devices. Hence, downloading entertainment products?for example, MP3 music?is likely to become even more commonplace when 3G arrives. Transferring software, high resolution images, and full-motion advertising messages will also become common activities. The emergence of high-quality display screens and greater bandwidth will undoubtedly trigger the development of innovative video applications. Individuals will use wireless devices to access, retrieve, store, and display high-resolution video content for entertainment, product demonstration, and distance learning.

The transmission and receipt of status, sensing, and measurement information?telemetry services?form the basis for a wide range of new applications involving mobile devices. Innovations in this area let people use wireless phones and appliances to communicate with various devices from their homes, offices, or in the field. For instance, delivery drivers will ?ping? intelligent dispensing machines or store computers to determine where their rolling inventory is needed most or which locations need immediate service. Similarly, users will transmit messages to activate remote recording devices or service systems.

Active m-commerce applications function only when someone directly initiates them by transmitting payment details, requesting information, receiving specific content, or retrieving status information. In contrast, passive applications occur without the user taking any action?for example, the automatic collection of toll charges with dedicated cash cards. Integrating digital cash into mobile devices would make these cash cards unnecessary. These wireless devices would facilitate and record payment of toll, mass-transit, fast-food, and other transactions without the user authorizing or entering identification information for each individual transaction. Users could arrange to have their cash chips update automatically by directing the wireless device to contact their money source and download additional digital cash whenever necessary.

Popular in Europe, short messages text messages, up to 160 characters in length, that show up on the recipient's display as they arrive?are examples of passive content delivery. As digital convergence becomes more commonplace, all forms of mail will passively go to wireless devices, including digitized voice mail, fax documents, and e-mail. Passive security, intrusion, and emergency telemetry services will refine the monitoring of facilities and individuals. Any unusual event or unacceptable condition will trigger user notification, regardless of location. Airlines are testing technology that will let them alert passengers, especially frequent fliers, to seat upgrades, schedule changes, and so on, through wireless devices. Some airlines already have prototype telemetry systems that transmit this kind of information to passengers as soon as they enter the airport or pass near a kiosk-like device.

Passive m-commerce telemetry is the foundation of still another form of interactive marketing. Stores will be able to market their products and services by transmitting promotional coupons and messages to passers by: ?Come in and enjoy a complimentary cup of our new coffee blend,? or ?Get half off, if you make your purchase within the next 30 minutes.? This type of marketing may give rise to a new challenge: managing m-junk messages without turning off your wireless device.

The technology to facilitate m-commerce is within reach, even as barriers to its development fall away. Applications and wireless devices promise to evolve together, each driving the introduction of innovative and powerful features in the other. The opportunity and challenge is for business to develop strategies that capitalize on the strengths of mobile commerce, thereby helping it to compete in an increasingly digital marketplace. The greatest challenge to structuring such a strategy may be creating the innovations that will meet the needs and expectations of consumers and commercial participants. Additional details regarding the above may be found in James A. Senn, The Emergence of M-Commerce, IEEE COMPUTER (December 2000), incorporated herein by reference and all references cited there incorporated herein by reference.

Mobile device and computer users increasingly face the management of many computing devices. One reason is the expansion of computing environments in the home and office, as printers, scanners, digital cameras, and other peripherals are integrated into networked environments. Another reason is the proliferation of mobile devices such as laptop and palm-sized computers, cellular phones, and pagers. Because these devices trade functionality for suitable form factors and low power consumption, they are necessarily ?peripheral-poor? and must therefore establish connections to neighboring devices for storage, faxing, high-speed network access, and printing. It is easy to become frustrated when dealing with the configuration and interaction of such a multitude of devices. Service discovery technologies were developed to reduce this frustration and to simplify the use of mobile devices in a network by allowing them to be ?discovered,? configured, and used by other devices with a minimum of manual effort. Although most of these ?service discovery suites? promise similar functionality?namely, reduced configuration hassles, improved device cooperation, and automated discovery of required services?they come at the problem from different philosophical and technical approaches. Since none of these technologies is a superset of the others and none is mature enough to dominate the market, interoperation among them will require bridging mechanisms. Five competing technologies are described that may be used in conjunction with the present invention, however, other technologies may also or alternatively be used.

Thus, to address the above and other needs of the prior art, it is a feature and advantage of the present invention to provide users with the ability to be awarded, reallocated, upgraded and/or reprovisioned purchase items including tickets and concessions and/or other merchandise and/or services online. By doing so, the present invention allows these users to proceed directly to the event and/or receive the goods and/or services, thereby bypassing any box offices. In addition, the present invention allows purchases of a variety of items such as movie tickets, concessions, movie merchandise, and/or other goods or services using the processes and architecture described herein or other standard platforms. The present invention facilitates these purchases and the subsequent provisioning thereof by utilizing an identification device associated with a user's account which, in turn, is readable by a reader at a point of sale location for verifying the purchases made by the user. The identification device can be, for example, a smart card and/or wireless device with infrared and/or bluetooth enabled, or other standard wireless device, including those described herein.

It is also another optional feature and advantage, alone or in combination with one or more other features, of the present invention to facilitate the provisioning of demographic information to program sponsors. By having each user register demographic information such as age and interests during, for example an initialization process, the present invention compiles information for advertising and marketing use. Using this information, the present invention allows event sponsors to create custom offerings to users. Similarly, the invention allows a sponsor to leverage user and market information to create programs that address evolving user needs for targeting and acquiring new customers.

It is another optional feature and advantage of the present invention to provide marketing opportunities for the events themselves and/or event related merchandise at an entertainment site. This allows users to shop for tickets, concessions, and event-related merchandise at a single time and location.

It is yet another optional feature and advantage of the present invention to apply these concepts to a wide variety of venues such as movies, concerts, sporting events, cultural activities, reserved seating events, events requiring advanced ticket purchase, and/or other similar and analogous events or settings where goods and/or services can be sold, including upgraded, awarded and/or reprovisioned.

To accomplish the above and other features, in one embodiment of the present invention, a user first visits a leading portal, for example, Yahoo!, and selects an event and a desired time. Next, the user is linked to a server, where he or she purchases a ticket and/or concessions and other merchandise with, for example, a credit card, in a secure transaction. The event ticket is then transferred to the user's account, which in turn is associated with a smart card and/or wireless device in the possession of the user. With the smart card/wireless device in hand, the user avoids any box office lines and proceeds directly to an attendant or a point of sale (POS) server or system. The user then presents the smart card to the attendant or POS who reads the smart card using a reading device. After reading the smart card, the attendant or POS accesses the user's account and verifies that a ticket has indeed been purchased before admitting the user. Once the user is at the event, as described below, the user has the functionality to be upgraded, reallocated and/or rewarded tickets.

For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the process begins as all tickets are checked in, for example, as the patrons enter the reserved seating area, such as a stadium or theater, through, for example, bar code readers, scanners, infrared readers, and/or manually or other method where the patron is checked in, either at the gate, seat or other location. For example, patrons can optionally check in a predetermined time before the event through a wireless device, Internet connection, manual or voice recognition telephone, or other manner. The important point is to provide a standard manner for allowing patrons to check in, and if the patron fails to check in using a predetermined procedure to allow that seat to be provided to another willing patron in accordance with a process to be described below.

The patron may check in either a predetermined time before or after the event begins. Currently, such a process is impossible and unthinkable in view of the difficulty reserved seating events have in simply getting the patrons seated prior to the beginning of the event. The present invention represents a revolutionary process to enhance event enjoyment, earn patron loyalty and optionally provide additional revenues to the theater/stadium or optionally other patrons with the desirable ticket.

The check in procedure continues for a predetermined period of time until a predetermined time period has expired, for example, 5 minutes before the event begins, 10 minutes after the event begins, after a predetermined event, such as the second act of a play, and the like. Once the predetermined time period or event has been completed, the check in procedure may be considered completed to begin the seat re-allocation process. To begin the seat re-allocation process, a re-allocation algorithm is used to re-assign seats for patrons that are willing or interested in different or better seats. Such re-allocation processes or algorithms may include a random process, a process where priority patrons are given priority for re-assignment of seat, a process where patrons are willing to pay additional for the re-assignment to either the theater or the individual patron whose seat is being provided to another patron, frequent event patrons, season ticket patrons, or other predetermined process.

If the patron that is identified by the re-allocation process is determined to be present in the theater or event, for example, via mobile telephone, wireless device, and/or manual verification, an optional sub-process determines whether the patron's optional profile is also satisfied with the available seating. If the optional subscriber profile is not satisfied, then the re-allocation process searches for another possible patron. If the optional profile sub-process is satisfied, then the eligible patron is notified via one or more means, such as announcement, manually, wireless device, mobile telephone, bulletin board, and/or other means. The patron is then notified and presented with the option of moving for free, use of award points, additional money to the theater and/or patron to whose seat is being provided, or other predetermined criteria to obtain the seat. Optionally, a bidding process may be initiated that allows various patrons to bid against one another. Any standard bidding process may optionally be used. The patron, of course has the option to decline, and if so, the process continues and returns to the re-allocation process to attempt to locate another possible patron.

If the patron accepts, payment of money or other means may be effectuated on the spot via the wireless device, credit card, debit card, points, and the like, and the patron may now move to the other seat. The patron's seat may then optionally be made available as an empty seat to the re-allocation process. If a predetermined period of time has not expired, then the re-allocation process may be run again to optionally continuously re-allocate seats. The patron may optionally store the up-graded ticket on a wireless device for proof of entrance to the better seating area. Optionally, the seat and/or row and/or section, includes a separate reader device to receive optionally the original ticket that is now re-allocated to a better seat, or a new ticket that may optionally be received by the patron via the wireless device and/or manually via a worker in the theater or stadium.

In another aspect of the invention, a registration form is first completed by the user in an initialization process. Subsequently, the user selects an event and pays for the ticket with, for example, a credit card in a secure e-commerce transaction. Then, in this embodiment, a bar coded ticket or receipt is generated and printed by the user. With the bar coded ticket or receipt in hand, the user avoids the box office lines and proceeds directly to an attendant or POS who collects the ticket, verifies the purchase optionally automatically via a bar code reader, and admits the user to the movie screen. The user is then eligible to participate in the reallocation, upgrade and/or reward process described herein.

In alternate embodiments, a scanner is utilized by, for example, an attendant who, rather than tearing the ticket stub in half, simply scans the bar code with the scanner to verify that a ticket purchase has indeed been made by the user. Similar processes may be used for the purchase of merchandise and concessions. Furthermore, to eliminate fraud, once a ticket has been scanned into the real time point of sale system, it cannot be used again. Alternatively, the present invention is implemented in a fully automated setting without human intervention, except in the event of a failure or when assistance is needed.

In other embodiments, the present invention utilizes credit cards, smart cards, or cards with memory media embedded therein, or other portable devices, such as wireless phones, wireless pagers, personal digital assistants, or Internet-ready watches as an alternative or in addition to the printed tickets.

In one embodiment, the present invention relates to upgrading and/or reallocating for the purchasing and provisioning an item utilizing a server linked to a client via a data communication network. This embodiment includes receiving a communication at the server from the client. The communication includes an order for a purchase of the item and an identifier associated with an identification device. This embodiment also includes updating an account associated with the identifier to reflect the purchase, accessing the account by utilizing the identifier at a point of sale server upon presentation of the identification device to verify the purchase, and provisioning the item at the point of sale server after verification of the purchase.

In another embodiment, the present invention also relates to reallocating, upgrading and/or awarding for the purchasing and/or provisioning an item utilizing a server linked to a client via a data communication network. This embodiment includes receiving a communication at the server from the client. The communication includes an order for a purchase of the item. This embodiment also includes transmitting an identifier associated with an account from the server to the client for storage on an identification device, updating the account to reflect the purchase, accessing the account at a point of sale server upon presentation of the identification device by utilizing the identifier to verify the purchase, and provisioning the item at the point of sale server after verification of the purchase. The purchaser is then optionally eligible for the reallocating, upgrading and/or awarding process described herein.

In yet another embodiment, the present invention relates to purchasing and provisioning an item utilizing a server linked to a client via a data communication network. This embodiment includes transmitting a communication from the client to the server. The communication includes an order for a purchase of the item and causes an account to be updated thereby reflecting the purchase. The purchase and the account are associated with an identifier stored on an identification device. The account is accessible upon presentation of the identification device for verifying and provisioning the item. The purchaser is then optionally eligible for the reallocating, upgrading and/or awarding process described herein.

In still yet another embodiment, the present invention relates to purchasing and provisioning an item utilizing a server linked to a client via a data communication network. This embodiment includes transmitting an order for a purchase of the item from the client to the server, associating an identifier with the purchase order and with an identification device in the possession of or to be transferred to a user, updating an account associated with the identifier to include the purchase, accessing the account at a point of sale server upon presentation of the identification device by utilizing the identifier to verify the purchase, and provisioning the item at the point of sale server after verification of the purchase order. The purchaser is then optionally eligible for the reallocating, upgrading and/or awarding process described herein.

In yet another embodiment, the present invention relates to purchasing and provisioning an item utilizing a server linked to a client via a data communication network. This embodiment includes receiving a communication from a user including a purchase order request. In this embodiment, the user is associated with an identifier. This embodiment also includes updating an account associated with the identifier to reflect the purchase order, and provisioning the purchase upon presentation of the identifier. The user is then optionally eligible for the reallocating, upgrading and/or awarding process described herein.

In one embodiment of the invention, a method at least one of reallocates, upgrades and awards admittance to events to an event customer via a data communication network. The data communication network optionally comprises a server, workstations operably connectable to the server, one or more databases operably connectable to the server and the workstations where the workstations optionally include a web browser interface facilitating communication with the server, a point of sale server operably connectable to the server, a point of sale system operably connectable to the point of sale server, and wireless devices operably connectable to the server. The wireless devices include at least one of a smart card, a personal digital assistant, a mobile telephones, and a mobile data device, and the wireless device comprising at least one of transmitting and receiving means and transceiver means for receiving and transmitting signals.

According to one embodiment, the method includes the sequential, non-sequential and sequence independent steps of receiving a communication from the event customer, the communication including a request to obtain admittance to at least one event, the communication also including an identifier associated with an identification device, updating an account associated with the identifier to reflect the request, accessing the account by utilizing the identifier stored on the identification device at the point of sale system upon presentation of the identification device to verify the request, admitting the event customer at the point of sale system after verification of the request, determining a predetermined time period associated with the event indicative of another event customer from event customers not attending the event in accordance with first predetermined criteria, releasing an allocation associated with the another event customer and notifying at least one of the event customers that are at least one of currently attending the event and registered for the at least one of reallocating, reprovisioning, upgrading and awarding responsive to the releasing the allocation, and accepting by at least one of the event customers the at least one of reallocating, reprovisioning, upgrading and awarding in accordance with second predetermined criteria.

The communication optionally includes at least one of payment information, an event selection, a venue selection, a concession selection, and a merchandise selection.

The identification device optionally comprises a memory medium for storing the identifier. The accessing optionally further comprises reading the identifier from the identification device with a reading device. The account is optionally stored in at least one of the server, the identification device, and the point of sale server. The account optionally includes a list of purchased items. The request optionally comprises at least one of a movie ticket, a sporting event ticket, a concession, or merchandise.

In other embodiments of the present invention, demographic information is received from the event customer. In addition, the identification device optionally comprises at least one of a smart card, a credit card, a ticket, a wireless phone, a personal digital assistant, and a wireless device.

The method optionally includes the step of generating at least one of a physical receipt, a confirmation, and an electronic confirmation with at least one of the identification device and the point of sale server.

The method optionally includes the step of generating at least one of a physical receipt, a confirmation, and an electronic confirmation with at least one of the identification device and the point of sale server, and the at least one of the physical receipt, the confirmation, and the electronic confirmation comprises at least one of reserved seating and purchase information.

The second predetermined criteria optionally includes the event customer willing to pay at least one of a predetermined price and the highest price, and wherein the method further comprises the step of billing the event customer in at least one of real-time or at a later time for the at least one of reallocating, reprovisioning, upgrading and awarding in accordance with the second predetermined criteria.

The method optionally includes the step of releasing an allocation associated with the another event customer and the notifying at least one of the event customers that are at least one of currently attending the event and registered for the at least one of reallocating, reprovisioning, upgrading and awarding is performed in accordance with a predetermined algorithm.

The first predetermined criteria optionally includes at least one of agreement with one or more of the event customers, the event customer not providing notice of non-attendance a first predetermined time period prior to the event, the event customer not providing notice of non-attendance a second predetermined time period after start of the event, the event customer leaving the event early, and other predetermined criteria.

In another embodiment of the invention, a method is provided of upgrading and awarding admittance to events to an event customer via a data communication network. The data communication network optionally comprises a server, workstations operably connectable to the server, one or more databases operably connectable to the server and the workstations, the workstations optionally including a web browser interface facilitating communication with the server, a point of sale system, and wireless devices operably connectable to the server, the wireless devices including at least one of a smart card, a personal digital assistant, a mobile telephone, and a mobile data device, and the wireless device comprising at least one of transmitting and receiving means and transceiver means for receiving and transmitting signals to and from the server.

The method includes the sequential, sequence independent and non-sequential steps of receiving a communication from the event customer, the communication including a request to obtain admittance to at least one event, the communication also including an identifier associated with an identification device, processing the request including accessing an account by utilizing the identifier stored on the identification device at the point of sale system upon presentation of the identification device to verify and process the request, and updating a database indicating that the request was processed, admitting the event customer at the point of sale system after verification of the request, determining a predetermined time period associated with the event indicative of at least one other event customer not attending the event in accordance with first predetermined criteria, releasing an allocation associated with the at least one other event customer and notifying at least one of the event customers that are at least one of currently attending the event, previously submitted a request to attend the event and registered for the event to perform the at least one of upgrading and awarding responsive to the releasing the allocation, and accepting by the at least one of the event customers the at least one of upgrading and awarding in accordance with second predetermined criteria.

In another embodiment of the invention, a method is provided of upgrading and awarding admittance to events to an event customer via a data communication network. The data communication network optionally includes a server, workstations operably connectable to the server, one or more databases operably connectable to the server and the workstations, the workstations optionally including a web browser interface facilitating communication with the server, a point of sale system, and wireless devices operably connectable to the server, the wireless devices including at least one of a smart card, a personal digital assistant, a mobile telephone, and a mobile data device, the wireless device comprising at least one of transmitting and receiving means and transceiver means for receiving and transmitting signals to and from the server.

The method includes the sequential, non-sequential or sequence independent steps of receiving a communication from the event customer, the communication including a request to obtain admittance to at least one event, the communication also including an identifier associated with the event customer, admitting the event customer at the point of sale system after verification of the request, and updating a database indicating that the request was processed, determining first predetermined criteria associated with the event indicative of at least one other event customer not attending the event, releasing an allocation associated with the at least one other event customer responsive to the determining step, and notifying at least another of the event customers to perform the at least one of upgrading and awarding responsive to the releasing the allocation, and accepting by the at least another of the event customers the at least one of upgrading and awarding in accordance with second predetermined criteria.

In another embodiment of the invention, a system is provided to upgrade and award admittance to events to an event customer. The system includes a server comprising a processor and a memory medium, the server connected to a data communication network, the memory medium containing instructions for controlling the processor, wherein the processor receives a communication from the event customer, the communication including a request to obtain admittance to at least one event, the communication also including an identifier associated with the event customer, updates a database indicating that the request was processed, determines first predetermined criteria associated with the event indicative of at least one other event customer not attending the event, releases an allocation associated with the at least one other event customer responsive to the determining step, and notifies at least another of the event customers to at least one of upgrade and award the at least another of the event customers with the allocation. The system also includes a plurality of wireless devices operably connectable to the server, the wireless devices including at least one of a smart card, a personal digital assistant, a mobile telephone, and a mobile data device, the wireless device comprising at least one of transmitting and receiving means and transceiver means for receiving and transmitting signals to and from the server, including accepting by the at least another of the event customers the at least one of the upgrade and award for the reallocation via at least one of the wireless devices.

In another embodiment of the invention, a system is provided for upgrading and awarding admittance to events to an event customer. The system includes means for receiving a communication from the event customer, the communication including a request to obtain admittance to at least one event, the communication also including an identifier associated with the event customer, means for admitting the event customer at the point of sale system after verification of the request, and updating a database indicating that the request was processed, means for determining first predetermined criteria associated with the event indicative of at least one other event customer not attending the event, means for releasing an allocation associated with the at least one other event customer responsive to the determining step, and notifying at least another of the event customers to perform the at least one of upgrading and awarding responsive to the releasing the allocation, and means for accepting by the at least another of the event customers the at least one of upgrading and awarding in accordance with second predetermined criteria.

In another embodiment of the invention, a method, system, server architecture and/or tangible medium upgrade and award admittance of events to an event customer, preferably via a data communication network. The method includes the sequential, sequence independent and non-sequential steps of, for example, receiving a communication from the event customer including a request to obtain admittance to at least one event, admitting the event customer, determining first predetermined criteria associated with the event indicative of at least one other event customer not attending the event, releasing an allocation associated with the at least one other event customer, and notifying at least another of the event customers to perform the upgrade and/or reallocation.

In accordance with the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets very near to game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron must be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept.

In one alternative embodiment, if the patron that has their ticket re-allocated in error, e.g., because the patron did not show up to the event based on the predetermined criteria but the patron was still planning on attending because they forgot about their seat being re-allocated, the system can re-allocate seats immediately upon the checking in of the patron and notify them that their seats have changed because they are late. In this situation, the stadium/venue might decide to further upgrade the patrons because of the mistake.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the process of the present invention specifically reserves seats of the highest or very high rating that are considered preferred, in the event a patron's seat is re-allocated prematurely or erroneously. In this situation, the patron who has had their seat re-allocated because they will likely receive an even better seat as a result of the mistaken (stadium or patron) or premature seat re-allocation.

In another embodiment of the present invention, as patrons are entering the venue or stadium, they are provided advantageously with a map of the stadium so patrons can analyze the potential upgrade to make a decision whether the upgraded seats are sufficiently good or of value to warrant the patron moving and/or paying for the additional upgrade. By handing the patron the map of the stadium, the process of the the present invention is not required to transmit a detailed schematic to the patron's wireless device which would not normally be able to effectively permit the patron to evaluate the proposed upgrade seats. The map that is handed out may optionally include information for patrons on where to register for the upgrade and/or additional advertisement opportunities.

In one alternative embodiment, the patron that has purchased the ticket, for example, a season ticket holder, may advise the stadium that for a particular game, set of games or all games, they do not want their seats to be re-allocated, and perhaps, an additional fee is assessed for this type of patron. If the stadium provides the ability for the patron to selectively opt out of the seat re-allocation, the patron can, for example, connect to the system via the Internet, public switched telephone network, cellular network, and the like, and notify the system that they do not want their ticket re-allocated, for example, because they are coming late to the event. Other means of notifying the system and/or other reasons may be utilized in connection with the present invention.

In another alternative embodiment, the system provides patrons the ability to individually select when their tickets may be re-allocated. For example, one patron may prefer to only give up their ticket if they are late to the game by 15 minutes, while another patron may be willing to give up their ticket if they have not arrived 15 minutes before the game. In alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide incentives for the patron to have their ticket re-allocated prior to the game because it increases the stadiums chances of re-allocating/re-selling the ticket.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provide additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In an alternative embodiment, the system determines priority of re-allocation of seats based first upon patrons that have seats that may also be re-allocated. That is, the systems attempts to maximize the number of re-allocations by prioritizing the re-allocation based upon seats that may be re-allocated after already being re-allocated. For example, if front row seats in a stadium are available to be re-allocated, in this alternative embodiment, patrons that are in the next closest section for example on the field level would be upgraded first to those seats. Then, patrons with less preferred seats, for example, in the upper deck would be re-allocated to the seats that have now become available from the patrons that have been upgraded to the front row. Thus, using this alternative priority scheme, the present invention maximizes the re-allocation numbers. Of course, this priority algorithm may be combined with additional factors, for example, relating to subscriber/patron value. As described above, additional factors may be utilized in the algorithm to determine the subscriber or set of subscribers to offer the upgrade.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally rate the upgraded patron, for example, for appropriate behavior, wearing of excessively large hats, drunkenness behavior, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the re-allocation algorithm for future upgrades to the patron.

In alternative embodiments, the patrons eligible for the upgrade may be notified using standard email communications over a wireless device, mobile telephone, and/or other standard communication means. For example, standard text-to-voice and/or voice-to-text communications may be used to contact the patron to evaluate whether an upgrade will be accepted and to actually accept the upgrade.

As discussed above, one or more of the above alternative embodiments may be incorporated into the embodiments described above, and/or any of the embodiments discussed below.

In another embodiment of the invention, a method, system, server architecture and/or tangible medium upgrades or awards purchases for a customer. The method includes the sequential, sequence independent and non-sequential steps of, for example, receiving a communication from the customer including a request to purchase an item, determining first predetermined criteria associated with the purchase associated with at least one other customer, and notifying at least another of the event customers regarding the at least one of upgrade, award and purchase.

In another embodiment of the invention, a method, system, server architecture and/or tangible medium combines, upgrades and/or awards purchases for a customer. The method includes the sequential, sequence independent and non-sequential steps of, for example, receiving a communication from the customer including a request to purchase an item, determining first predetermined criteria associated with the purchase and associated with at least one other customer, and notifying the at least one other customer regarding the at least one of upgrade, award and purchase.

In another embodiment of the invention, a system is provided for purchasing, upgrading and awarding an item to a customer. The system includes means for receiving a communication from the customer, the communication including a request to obtain the item, the communication also including an identifier associated with the customer, means for associating the customer at the point of sale system after verification of the request, and updating a database indicating that the request was processed, means for determining first predetermined criteria associated with the item indicative of at least one other customer associated or interested in the item, means for releasing an allocation associated with the at least another customer, and notifying at least another of the customers to perform the at least one of purchasing, upgrading and awarding for the item, and means for accepting by the at least another of the customers the at least one of purchasing, upgrading and awarding in accordance with second predetermined criteria.

In another embodiment of the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that have already purchased tickets in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats and/or may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets at any time prior to and/or after beginning of game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron may be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention or even at any location when being offered upgrades and/or seats well in advance of the game. For example, the present invention can upgrade or sell tickets to patrons well in advance of the game since it advantageously is permitted or has the authority to resell tickets either via ticket holders that do not show up during the game and/or, for example, season ticket holders that have authorized the stadium in advance to resell their tickets based on predetermined criteria, for example, when the season ticket holder notifies the stadium that they will not be present at next weeks game.

In one optional embodiment of the invention, the patron presents the usher with the confirmation number which the usher can enter into a wireless device using a local or private wireless network, or can simply use a walkie talkie or telephone to call the dispatcher to confirm the upgrade and/or new seats using the customer provided confirmation number. The dispatcher will have access to the system to enter the confirmation number to confirm the validity of the upgrade. Alternatively, a patron will retain their old ticket. The patron will give in the old ticket to the usher which is scanned or barcoded by the usher for immediate identification of new seats and used in place of, or in addition to, confirmation number.

Of course, the confirmation may optionally be made via customer name with an appropriate identification card or other information. Further, alternative methods may be used to verify that the confirmation number and/or ticket being used by the patron is valid. For example, the patron may be equipped with a printing device associated with the wireless device or download an actual ticket on line from home prior to the game for the new ticket or upgrade. Alternatively, the patron may be equipped with an identifier card, optionally including a bar code with a unique identifier relating to the patron's account information and profile that can be scanned for additional convenience. Alternatively, a wireless device may be used to securely store this type of identification and/or account information.

In at least one alternative embodiment of the invention, the patron may comprise optionally a corporate account that has a number of tickets, for example, season tickets. In this embodiment, the corporate account may have associated therewith a plurality of email addresses or other communication addresses to transmit the seat or upgrade offer to a number of potential patrons that may rotate their attendance at the games. In accordance with this optional embodiment, multiple emails can be stored for a single user/corporate account, and the system may transmit individual messages to all email addresses, or may only transmit messages to individual patrons for corporate account that individually advise the system that they are associated with a particular ticket/bar code for a particular game and will be/are present at a particular game.

In an alternative embodiment, patrons may enter the stadium and subsequently inform the system that they are present and interested in an upgrade via a kiosk where the patron can scan a bar code and enter their customer number to be eligible for upgrades during the game. The system is then able to transmit a message to the customer, assuming that the customer has pre-registered with the system with the appropriate contact information. Alternatively, or in addition to individual use of a kiosk(s), the customer sales office may have a kiosk or additional functionality to enter the customer name and/or customer account and scan in the bar coded ticket on the spot to register each patron as they enter the stadium or venue.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron upon entry in the stadium to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept when an offer is received by the patron at a predetermined time. The graphical map may comprise a small booklet with a map of the stadium showing seat locations, and optionally a game schedule.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provides additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally be eligible for a dating or matching service where patrons register and provide profile information to the system and/or through a third service provider dating service. Once the system knows that the patrons will be coming to the game and/or have actually checked in to the stadium, the system can then arrange for the two, four, etc. patrons to meet each other by allocating and/or re-allocating seats to the patrons together. Thus, based on profile information, customer request and availability, the system is able to upgrade or sell tickets to patrons to maximize their chances of meeting someone at the game. This optional feature provides significant potential enjoyment for the patrons participating in this dating or connection program. In accordance with this embodiment, one possible sequence of acceptance steps involves profile matching the two patrons (or groups of patrons) based on predetermined profile information; transmitting a first message to the first patron regarding availability of the second patron and requesting a conditional acceptance form the first patron; transmitting a second message to the second patron indicating that the first patron has conditionally accepted and request the second patron to accept; and when the second patron accepts before the first patron has rescinded the conditional acceptance, finalizing the upgrade and/or seat allocation for the first and second patrons. This embodiment of the invention is a complete reverse from typical dating and/or matchmaking services which attempt to develop detailed algorithms for the matching process because of the significant decision that exists in determining who to spend valuable time with. In accordance with the invention, patrons are already present at the game, and therefore, half or more than half the effort is already done. The remainder is to actually meet the other person which can be accomplished with profile criteria, whether or not the algorithms are very sophisticated. In one embodiment, the patrons that are being matched have their original seats maintained and not made available for other upgrades in the event the matching does not work out early on. In this embodiment, one or both the patrons can return to their original seat. Hopefully, there will not be a significant argument of who would need to return to their original seat if an upgrade is actually performed. In addition, in accordance with this embodiment, the seats that are selected do not necessarily have to be better seats in the classical sense. That is, seats further away from other ticket holders might be considered preferred when matching two individuals for the first time. Alternatively, couple that would prefer a little more privacy or quieter game might request to be moved to a more isolated area. Alternatively, families with small children might prefer to be moved to a less busy area as well during the game where the children might be able to freely move around. All these scenarios and/or alternatives are possible in view of the present invention. The advantage of performing a match in a public setting is that the patrons do not have to worry about leaving or ending the date, and also do not have to worry that the other person will have their home address.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like. In addition, the system advantageously and optionally provides the feature of allowing patrons to text message one another directly, and/or exchange pictures via wireless email, text messaging, and other wireless devices that provide the standard capability of exchanging pictures, such a T Mobile and/or Sprint.

In addition, this feature also optionally permits the patrons that have participated in the program to rate one another for future dates. For example, one patron can rate the conversational benefits of the second patron, the appearance of the second patron, the overall short term versus long terms relationship goals of the patron, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the algorithm for future seat assignments, re-allocations and/or upgrades in the future for the first and second patrons, and all other patrons will now benefit with the additional profile information of the first and second patrons. The matching service may be for amusement or work related networking purposes, for example, to meet an executive that the patron currently works with or wishes to work with/sell in the future.

In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder can call in via a voice to text message, text message and/or email and let the stadium know early that they are not coming. In this manner the ticket holder obtains the convenience of the stadium or venue reselling their tickets in advance, thereby providing the venue with additional time to maximize the resale of the ticket.

In alternative embodiments, when the patron enters the stadium, they have their ticket barcoded or other device that detects their presence can bu used such as infrared, Bluetooth, etc., and then they can become eligible for an upgrade. The patron can register in advance that they want to receive upgrades by providing their name, message address, e.g., email, telephone text message address, etc., and optionally their credit card or other payment mechanism for upgrades that actually cost money as opposed to free upgrades. In alternative embodiments, the patron can register at the ticket booth when purchasing their original ticket. In this scenario, the stadium representative can enter this information on behalf of, and with the permission of, the patron since the patron may already be providing their credit card, debit card, etc. to purchase the original tickets. Alternatively or in addition, a kiosk may be provided where the patron can enter their original ticket, e.g., scan in their original ticket and provide their name and text message information in the stadium to register for a one time upgrade for the game after purchasing, for example, a regular admission ticket.

In alternative embodiments, an usher can verify that the patron should be upgraded by the patron providing the confirmation number that may be transmitted in real-time by the system, and/or by the patron using their original confirmation number or original ticket with barcode or other identification means, such as a smart card, infrared reader, etc. that represents original ticket and presenting same to the user. The usher then needs only to scan in the original ticket and the system will verify whether the patron associated with the original ticket is valid and whether the upgrade is valid.

In alternative embodiments, a warning message may be sent to the ticket holder that has not shown up to game warning them that if they do not respond within a certain time period that their seat will be re-allocated or re-assigned to another patron. Similarly, a release message may be sent to the ticket holder after their seat has actually been released and/or re-allocated, thereby notifying the patron that if they change their mind in attending the game, they will have to obtain an additional ticket. In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder that has their seat released and re-allocated can be themselves re-allocated a similar, worse or better seat, depending on, for example, their subscriber value and/or other criteria. For example, if the patron is provided a better seat, this will encourage them to more readily give up their seats in the future even if they are attending the game. On the other hand, if the patron is provided a worse seat, then this encourages them not to artificially give up or have their seat released when attending the game. Accordingly, the present invention is designed to deal with various behavioral patterns of specific ticket holders, and may optionally and advantageously be a ticket holder specific with respect to various criteria for re-assigning, releasing, selling and/or re-allocating tickets.

In alternative embodiments, the system transmits to the ticket holder a welcome message after being upgraded and after having being moved to a new upgraded seat location. In one embodiment, the system identifies that the patron has been successfully upgraded after the patron provides the usher with a confirmation number or original ticket, which is then verified by the usher and system.

In alternative embodiments, the system, after having identified which patrons have checked into the stadium and/or have been upgraded, transmits a trivia question and/or additional advertisements to all patrons attending the game. In alternative embodiments, the information is transmitted to both patrons that are attending the game and additional patrons that have registered in the past to receive information but that are not attending the game. The participants can, for example, answer trivia questions and respond with their wireless device. Depending on whether the patron is attending the game or not, the system may determine to offer or deal with each of the patrons differently. For example, for patrons at the game, winners may be successively determined and narrowed, as patrons successfully and unsuccessfully answer questions, round after round of questions in a ?spelling bee? format. For patrons that are not attending the game, winners may be declared, or statistics provided to the broadcast station that can be aired on television. In yet additional alternative embodiments, instead of transmitting information/questions to the patrons via the wireless device, the information/questions are displayed on the stadium billboard for patrons at the game and/or on television for patrons that are watching the game on television. The patron can then merely respond via the device, e.g., the telephone accordingly via a voice-to-text system or via other mobile devices via text messaging.

In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of additional advertising sponsorship to the venue. For example, in one embodiment, the venue is partitioned into different locations that may be assigned to different sponsors. In one embodiment, the sponsor that provides the most value may be assigned a certain number of premium seats that are not available to other sponsors.

For example, the sponsor may offer a discount on the upgrade if you are a Verizon or Verizon Wireless customer or they credit your cell account for each seat upgrade or you get say 30 free minutes, etc. In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of one wireless provider to advertise on another wireless providers mobile phone or wireless device. For example, if Verizon Wireless is a sponsor of the upgrade system for a particular stadium, the present invention will still work with, for example, AT&T, SPRINT, and CINGULAR customers. An advertisement message sent with the upgrade offer may read on the AT&T phone, ?brought to you by Verizon Wireless.? In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, text messaging is optionally used for mobile phones to perform the message communication of the present invention. The user is only required, in one embodiment, to reply or respond with a ?Yes? to accept the upgrade offer since the user has advantageously pre-registered with the system, thereby minimizing the required communication/input by the user. In an alternative embodiment, the user, instead of pre-registering with the system, is charged on their wireless or even regular telephone number bill when they accept the upgrade offer. Thus, the wireless system that either administers the user's regular or wireless account or the upgrade sponsor may be responsible for actually billing the customer in this alternative embodiment.

In the alternative embodiment when text messaging is optionally used alone or in combination with other communication methods, the system provides the additional advantage of maximizing bandwidth usage by not requiring use of bandwidth on the wireless voice system, thereby maximizing system resources.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention optionally and advantageously provides a security and/or safety feature in the event of, for example, a minor event where a parent gets separated from a child, a disaster or other event that might require evacuation of the stadium. In one embodiment, the person needing help provides their name to an attendant that can search the system for the contact information of their companion/parent. The system can thereafter send an email and/or text message to the companion/parent regarding the status of that person and provide instructions for meeting that person or arranging help, authorizing medical procedures, and the like. In another embodiment, the person requiring help, e.g., a child provides the attendant or kiosk with their ticket which can, e.g., scan the bar code or other reader system. The system can either automatically provide a text message to the parent who can then reply to the child/attendant via the kiosk to meet the child.

Alternatively, the parent can be instructed to meet the child at a predetermined location, and to stop looking for the child because the child was found. Thus, for this example, the person who is lost or separated from their party can notify security or access a kiosk. Security can, for example, notify the parent that child is in safe custody, and should not search the stadium, and therefore, meet outside stadium in a pre-specified safe place.

In an alternative embodiment, if a child/person is separated, the security guard/kiosk can arrange the best place to meet, either in or outside the stadium, together based on an optional global positioning system (GPS). In addition, the party with the mobile device can be provided directions on where to go to meet their party from who they have been separated.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention may also be used in a security, defense and/or safety setting to direct patrons in a stadium for an orderly evacuation or notify patrons regarding status of a safety related event via, for example, a broadcast message including text message, email and the like. In this manner, system communication resources may be most efficiently utilized by not over-utilizing the system via voice communication, unless completely necessary. For example, the message can be broadcast in the event of an impending hurricane. In this situation, patrons in different sections get different messages, for example, to exit the stadium out of gates/exits that are either less occupied or closest to the section the patrons are sitting in. Advantageously, the present invention has the patrons contact information, including optionally and advantageously text messaging, that can be broadcast or sent to different patrons. The advantage of text messaging is that the bandwidth is more efficiently used in the event of an emergency, and there are no busy signals as in a voice network. Further, the message is send, and if the network is at capacity, the system can automatically resend or the message will be placed in queue and sent as soon as capacity becomes available.

In another alternative embodiment of the invention, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction.

For instance, in sporting venues the bracelet ticket includes the machine readable information that comprises at least one of a bar code and radio frequency identifier used for security check in, and optionally check out. In this manner, the standard reading machines that can scan the bar code or RFID information can keep track of people that have checked into the sporting event and/or venue. Advantageously, the machine readable information on the bracelet can also be used by the venue in the event the patrons seat assignment is modified, for example, via an electronic ticket exchange or upgrade program. In this embodiment, the visible indicia are no longer valid for the actual seating that may be dynamically changed and only represents optionally an initial seat assignment. However, the machine readable information may be used as a code to reference the specific patron and assign that patron a new seat. Thus, when the ticket reader scans the ticket and actually identifies, for example, the bar code, this information can be used to reference the patron, update and/or confirm the patron's current seat via the reader used, for example, by ushers in the venue, kiosk, entrance to the venue, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction. This information, as previously mentioned, may be visually cognizable for the patron and in combination, readable by electronic means if the bracelet includes a magnetic strip, bar code imprinting, or RF chip.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the security bracelet and ticket combination of the present invention advantageously includes a bar code or other machine readable information such as a RFID device. When, for example, a child is separated form their parent, the parent can notify security and the seat number associated with the child. If the child attempts to leave with their bar code/identifier, the system detects the bar code/identifier as either being valid and identifying the child that is missing or being invalid and raising another red flag. In an alternative embodiment, the bar codes/identifiers associated between children and adults correspond such that the child identifier must be within a predetermined time and/or number of checking out identifiers from/within the adult identifier. If this does not occur, the system determines that the child is leaving without their parent, and possibly being abducted.

In an alternative embodiment, the system links one or more tickets/identifiers together and requires the tickets/identifiers to exit the venue or event within a predetermined time period from one another and/or within a predetermined number of tickets/identifiers that have exited the venue and/or event. In the event that one ticket/identifier exits the venue or event and the associated identifier does not, then an alarm or other indictor occurs, and the attendants will detain the patrons that have initiated the alarm to for security purposes.

In an alternative embodiment, the tickets are advantageously coded with designations such as adult, child and the like. In the event a child ticket/identifier exits the stadium before the associated adult and/or more that a predetermined time period and/or number of patrons exiting, the system can initiate an alarm so that an attendant can determine if a child has exited the venue or event without their parent or with a wrong parent potentially averting a kidnapping. In this embodiment, an additional combination is the use of the standard fast pass feature, for example, at theme parks, and the like, where the venue records predetermined events that the user of the card enters in a faster line. In this embodiment, if a child ticket/identifier is not associated with a parent ticket/identifier, for example, as described above, the child may be denied entry into the event or venue if not accompanied by their parent. In alternative embodiments, the venue/event sponsor or organizer associates tickets upon request from the patron. In addition, in another alternative embodiment, a kiosk is provided inside and/or outside the venue for, for example, parents to register their tickets and have them associated with their children's tickets to prevent he child from exiting the venue without them, for example, as described above.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system and method are adapted to utilize any type of wireless device with different interface and communication options. For example, different wireless devices have different constraints with respect to the interface, e.g., number of characters, how the subject and body of the messages are used/communicated, etc. Accordingly, the present invention optionally provides a protocol conversion system depending on the type of wireless device and the wireless device constraints, including message constraints and/or the wireless communication system. In alternative embodiments, the system determines the wireless device provider based on the address received from the wireless device, and is able to automatically determine the type of message and/or message constraints and transmission constraints associated therewith based for example, on real-time information or on pre-determined stored information on the device and/or communication system. Accordingly, a protocol conversion system for different wireless devices is provided by the present invention for sending and/or receiving messages, such as upgrade offers, responses, acceptances, and the like, from a variety of different users/mobile devices and wireless systems.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, a security bracelet is advantageously utilized, for example, such as the security bracelet disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/680,207, filed on Oct. 8, 2003, to Abraham I. Reifer, et al., and incorporated herein by reference, in the event of a reported event, security breach, abduction, and the like. In this embodiment, all patrons exiting the stadium must show their ticket and/or identifier so that the venue can check all patrons out of the stadium. Thus, for example, if two kidnappers come in the stadium, and want to use one bracelet for a child, the second kidnapper will be stranded in the stadium. In addition, if one kidnapper buys two tickets, then upon exit with the child and the additional ticket, a barcode/identifier will be exiting without ever having checked in, and then the alarm will go off as well.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention provides a broadcast message to warn patrons of an event, such as an advertisement, sale and/or even a weather related event such as a hurricane that might require the venue to be evacuated. Advantageously, in at least one embodiment, the broadcast message comprises standard text messaging that optimizes or better utilizes capacity form the communication system. Thus, when using text messaging capabilities, the present invention efficiently transmits text messages to numerous subscribers regarding, for example, exit information, contacting and/or meeting additional parties that have been separated, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the present invention optionally provides the capability to penetrate into secondary market with season ticket holders selling ahead of time the games they will not be attending. For example, the present invention optionally provides the feature for the season ticket holder and/or general ticket purchaser the ability to view in advance of the season and/or game the schedule, and to alert the venue and/or stadium of games and/or events they will not be attending, thereby permitting the stadium/venue to attempt to resell the tickets to other patrons. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the patron is provided with a monthly schedule listing the events that may be attended. The patron, such as a season ticket holder, may then click or place an indicator on all games they will not be attending for the season in advance, thereby providing the stadium with the ability to resell tickets well in advance of the event. Once the patron completes identifying games that will not be attended, the system then compiles a list and transmits the list to the patron for an optional confirmation. This list is then used by the system to release seats well in advance of the game. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, registered users of the system for, for example, upgrades, may also be notified of seat availability for sales prior to the game/event. In an alternative of this embodiment, registered users may receive text messages, emails, and the like, notifying them advantageously of the availability of seats that heretofore have never been easily available to the public for sale, thereby allowing the venue to participate in secondary market ticket sales.

In one alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system/process of the present invention provides or operates as a middle person/broker between the ticket holder that is returning tickets to the venue, such as the season ticket holder, and a ticket sales system and/or company, such as tickets.com, by notifying the tickets company of the newly available seats via notification by the ticket holder, such as the season ticket holder of season ticket games not being attended.

In one alternative embodiment of the invention, the system and/or process transmits text messages, emails and the like, to offer tickets and/or seats and/or admittance to subscribers for events and/or games with empty seats even before game. Thus, the present invention allows the venue to participate in the secondary ticket sales market and the upgrade market, thereby increasing revenue and fan loyalty.

Of course, all of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event, and/or venue that require tickets for entry thereof.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the use of machine readable identifiers provides advantages for, for example, the upgrade program or ticket exchange of the present invention. For example, when the upgrade, re-allocation and/or electronic ticket is issued, the machine readable identifier, for example, the bar code, on the original ticket is invalidated, thereby preventing use of the invalidated ticket. Accordingly, when a new ticket holder purchases the ticket form the season ticket holder, the new purchaser will be issued a new machine readable identifier, and optionally a new paper ticket. The present invention advantageously is able to handle the issuance of a new ticket and invalidates the old ticket and optionally the old identifier that has, for example, been returned by the season ticket holder, thereby providing dynamic ticketing capability.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the new patron obtains a new identifier such as a barcode, the old bar code of, for example, the season ticket holder is invalidated. In one embodiment of the invention, season ticket holders are offered to opt in the upgrade process. Various commercial incentives are possible for the season ticket holder to opt in the upgrade process, such as monetary compensation when their ticket is used for an upgrade and/or resold whether they express their intention not to go to the game prior to the game, and the like. Alternatively, season ticket holders may be offered that the cost of their season tickets will, for example, remain the same as the previous year or be reduced if they participate in the program. Therefore, the combination season ticket trade-in and upgrade program in one embodiment of the invention will be beneficial to season ticket holders by allowing them to trade when they already know that they have no intention of attending a game, and allow the season ticket holder to recoup some cost of the season tickets if they do not attend and their ticket is used as an upgrade. In addition, additional patrons of the event and/or sports team are permitted to attend the game in locations/seats that they might never have been able to obtain access to. Further, the venue/stadium/team maximize revenues by being able to place tickets on the secondary market when the ticket holder notifies the venue early enough that they are not attending the event, the venue also obtains additional revenue from upgrades when tickets are upgraded, and the venue obtains additional fan loyalty.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the system provides the ability to advertise via email, text messaging, and the like, for one wireless carrier on the wireless device that is using another wireless carrier. Since the user of the wireless device has requested the service, the user appropriately receives the communication from the ticketing system of the present invention, and therefore, also appropriately received the advertisement from the wireless carrier that is different than the wireless carrier that the user of the wireless may be using at that time.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, offers to purchase seats either during the game or even well in advance of the game are ?pushed? or transmitted out to registered users that have supplied their wireless address. For example, patrons can register in advance for the upgrade and/or regular ticket offers to purchase admittance via various methods including the Internet. When seats band/or admittance becomes available, a broadcast message or other standard messages may be transmitted to the registered patrons to notify them of the seat availability. Thus, seat offers are ?pushed? to registered users that have requested this service advantageously to a wireless device and/or other address including standard telephone communication, as well as additional optional advertisements. The system, in one alternative embodiment, provides the user the option when registering to accept certain types of advertisements to be received on their wireless device via email and/or text messaging. In other embodiments, the user does not have the option of which advertisements to receive.

Advantageously, in accordance with one alternative embodiment of the present invention, if a patron decides to attend an event such as a sporting event when the patron does not have time to wait to receive paper tickets (e.g., the patron is visiting in another city/location and does not have time to wait to receive tickets via mail and is on the go), the system of the present invention transmits a ticket to the patron via, for example, a wireless communication system and/or other standard electronic communication system such as the Internet, and the patron can present their ticket, for example, on their wireless device and show up to game.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Patrons then text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers. The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system uses a seat database to determine which of the reserved seats are currently in use. The system may integrate with the seat database system of a venue and/or stadium or optionally be used in parallel with the seat venue/stadium database. For example, prior to the event, the system may utilize the seat database of the venue to determine available seating and patrons that do not show up after a predetermined period of time. Alternatively, the present invention can operate using a separate database from the event/venue by copying or building a separate database used for the ticketing and/or upgrading according to the present invention. In this alternative, as patrons enter the venue, they are checked in directly to this separate database. At the time of the event, the system will be able to check-in patrons using either the identification system, e.g., bar code scanner, of the event or venue, or provide a separate identification system.

As discussed above, one or more of the above alternative embodiments may be incorporated into the embodiments described above, and/or any of the embodiments discussed below. Furthermore, any of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating or other event.

Thus, any or all of the following advantages may be provided by the present invention: decrease costs incurred via printing fewer tickets; decrease the number of employees at the events as a result of increased home based printing, wireless device and/or smart card usage; increase efficiency at concession stands; provide another method and outlet to sell tickets and concessions; sell more tickets using e-mail messages; improve sales of tickets and concessions from key demographic information; receive a portion of advertisement sales; improve safety due to the decrease in the amount of cash handled at the theatres; ensure that parents' money given to children is actually spent on the concessions; shorter lines; greater convenience at the concession stand and point of sale; advance sales; more information about events before purchase of ticket; easy way to control a family budget; greater access to merchandise; improve demographic information to improve sales; direct marketing; higher impact for advertising via e mail messages; and/or more focused advertising.

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto. In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Further, the purpose of the foregoing abstract is to enable the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally, and especially the scientists, engineers and practitioners in the art who are not familiar with patent or legal terms or phraseology, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and essence of the technical disclosure of the application. The abstract is neither intended to define the invention of the application, which is measured by the claims, nor is it intended to be limiting as to the scope of the invention in any way.

These together with other objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there is illustrated preferred embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS


FIG. 1 is directed to a prior art Internet capable browser dispenser architecture;

FIGS. 2?3 are illustrations of a prior art interactive game system;

FIG. 4 is an illustration of a prior art portable computing device for organizing a sports team;

FIG. 5 is a prior art illustration of a portable computerized pari-mutuel sports entertainment system;

FIG. 6 is an illustration of a prior art method and apparatus for a cryptographically assisted commercial network system designed to facilitate buyer-driven conditional purchase offers;

FIGS. 7?9 show a prior art radio frequency (RF) transmission system;

FIG. 10 is an illustration of Yankee Group projections for an installed base of PCs that will reach 500 million by 2003;

FIG. 11 shows that mobile network carriers have relied on a variety of incompatible wireless access standards;

FIG. 12 shows the standard Bluetooth protocol stack;

FIG. 13 illustrates the standard discovery and registration process for Jini clients and services;

FIG. 14 shows the three fundamental components in the Salutation architecture: functional units, salutation managers, and transport managers;

FIG. 15 is an illustration of a control point sending a multicast request to a network;

FIG. 16 is an illustration of a service location protocol (SLP) which is an IETF protocol for service discovery and advertisement;

FIG. 17 is an illustration of the Bluetooth stack differing from the classical seven-layer networking model;

FIG. 18 is an illustration viewing standard L2CAP as the data plane of the Bluetooth link layer;

FIG. 19 is an illustration of a Bluetooth transmitter that upconverts the baseband information to the frequency-modulated carrier;

FIG. 20 illustrates one embodiment of the logical architecture for the security services, where authentication verifies a claimant's identity;

FIG. 21 is an illustration showing once the ticket arrives at the Web browser, it must be secured from tampering;

FIG. 22 illustrates the logic for implementing the ticket-issuance service and its interaction with the authentication and user profile services;

FIG. 23 is a flowchart of an embodiment of the invention that incorporates one or more of the architectures or communications methods described above;

FIGS. 24?37 are flowcharts of various embodiment sof the process of the present invention;

FIG. 38 is an illustration of a main central processing unit for implementing the computer processing in accordance with a computer implemented embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 39 illustrates a block diagram of the internal hardware of the computer of FIG. 38;

FIG. 40 is a block diagram of the internal hardware of the computer of FIG. 38 in accordance with a second embodiment;

FIG. 41 is an illustration of an exemplary memory medium which can be used with disk drives illustrated in FIGS. 38?40;

FIG. 42 is an illustration of the functional operation of the main central processing unit illustrated in FIGS. 38?41;

FIG. 43 is a block diagram of an alternative computer system suitable for implementing the invention;

FIG. 44 is a block diagram showing a portion of the computer system of FIG. 43 in more detail;

FIG. 45 is an illustration of the architecture of the combined internet, POTS, and ADSL architecture for use in the present invention in accordance with a first embodiment;

FIG. 46 is an illustration of the architecture of the combined internet, POTS, and ADSL architecture for use in the present invention in accordance with a second embodiment;

FIG. 47 is an illustration of the architecture of the combined internet, POTS, and ADSL architecture for use in the present invention in accordance with a third embodiment; and

FIG. 48 is an illustration of the architecture of the combined internet, POTS, and ADSL architecture for use in the present invention in accordance with a fourth embodiment.

DESCRIPTION OF BEST MODE OF THE INVENTION


Reference now will be made in detail to the presently preferred embodiments of the invention. Such embodiments are provided by way of explanation of the invention, which is not intended to be limited thereto. In fact, those of ordinary skill in the art may appreciate upon reading the present specification and viewing the present drawings that various modifications and variations can be made. For example, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment can be used on other embodiments to yield a still further embodiment. Additionally, certain features may be interchanged with similar devices or features not mentioned yet which perform the same or similar functions. It is therefore intended that such modifications and variations are included within the totality of the present invention.

Driven by a widespread understanding of the Internet's capabilities, the power of electronic commerce, and advances in wireless technologies and devices, mobile commerce (m-commerce) is rapidly approaching the business forefront. According to independent research findings, m-commerce?the conduct of business and services over portable, wireless devices?will soon be a dominant force in business and society. For example:

IDC, an information technology research firm, reports that 70 percent of all wireless subscribers worldwide will access data applications via their phones by 2002.

The investment firm Robinson Humphrey predicts that, in the US, 50 percent of Internet hits will originate from wireless devices by 2004.

The Yankee Group, a telecommunications research firm, projects that by 2004 more than 40 percent of wireless users in the US will access Internet content directly from their mobile devices.

The viability of these projections depends on the power of the underlying technology drivers and the attractiveness of m-commerce applications. To compete in a marketplace dominated by wireless devices, businesses must devise effective m-commerce strategies. Building successful strategies begins by recognizing the forces driving m-commerce's emergence.

The US Federal Communication Commission's auctioning of personal communication-service spectrum space in the mid-1990s triggered the current rush to wireless communication methods. Wireless communication now encompasses not only telephones but appliances, including personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Internet use has grown on the strength of PC networks. According to Yankee Group projections, the installed base of PCs will reach 500 million by 2003, as FIG. 10 shows. This huge base is essential to continued growth in electronic commerce and other communications applications. Moreover, because these systems will have greater power and storage capability, as well as the best ever price-performance ratios, more powerful and sophisticated applications will likely emerge for desktop computing and the Internet.

Although these expectations are impressive, PCs still have two limiting characteristics. First, users must sit in front of them. Second, even portable-notebook PCs have to load software, dial into and connect with a network service provider, and await completion of the handshaking process before they can launch an Internet application. This sequence is understandable, but at best it seems a tolerable nuisance. Hence, the dominant applications are still those that are worth the trouble it takes for a user to follow this access sequence or, at least, to keep the computer and applications running.

The aggregate PC installation is substantial, but even more mobile communication devices are in use. The Gartner Group and other research firms project that by 2004, the installed base of mobile phones worldwide will exceed 1 billion more than twice the number of PCs. In addition, the number of other wireless mobile devices will also increase dramatically. Wireless PDA use will more than triple in the next three years. Unlike PCs, these wireless devices require no boot sequence, so people can use them as soon as they turn them on-making them attractive for quick-hit applications.

Just as the transmission control protocol/Internet protocol and the general purpose browser were principal drivers of Internet growth, letting disparate devices interconnect and communicate, similar factors will simplify the interconnectivity and communication of heterogeneous wireless devices. As FIG. 11 shows, mobile network carriers have relied on a variety of incompatible wireless access standards. Recently, however, a common communications technology and uniform interface standard for presenting and delivering wireless services on mobile devices?wireless application protocol (WAP)?have emerged.

WAP specifications include a microbrowser; scripting similar to JavaScript; access functions; and layered communication specifications for sessions, transport, and security. These specifications enable interface?independent and interoperable applications. Most wireless handset and device manufacturers, as well as several service and infrastructure providers, have adopted the WAP standard.

Current access technologies, including TDMA (time division multiple access), CDMA (code division multiple access), and GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication), transmit at 9.6 to 19.2 Kbps. These speeds are dramatically slower than the dial-up rates of desktop PCs connecting to the Internet. Although m-commerce is possible at these bandwidth rates, the slow speeds are not conducive to creating widespread business or consumer participation.

3G (third-generation) wireless technology will also be available. In addition to having greater bandwidth rates, with speeds up to 2 Mbps, 3G will support multimedia transmission. Integrating voice, data, and one- or two-way video will let m-commerce run over any wireless device.

M-commerce applications fall into three main categories: transaction management, digital content delivery, and telemetry services. Users will increasingly initiate a wide range of business transactions from mobile devices. Online shopping sites tailored to mobile phones and PDAs including browsing, selection, purchase, payment, and delivery?have already emerged. These sites include all the necessary shopping features, such as online catalogs, shopping carts, and back office functions. Online booksellers are among the firms that have already implemented wireless shopping transactions. Another class of m-commerce transactions involves using wireless devices to initiate and pay for purchases and services in real time. These kinds of transactions will likely increase as users gain the capability?and become comfortable enough?to manage them. The highest m-commerce transaction volume will probably occur in micro transactions. When individuals reach for their e-cash-equipped mobile phones or PDAs?rather than coins?to settle transactions such as subway fees, widespread use of digital cash will be a reality.

Digital content delivery uses the wireless channel's distribution characteristics. These m-commerce activities include information browsing?instant retrieval of status information (weather, transit schedules, sports scores, ticket availability, and market prices)?and directory services. The CNN Wireless news subscription service and the UPS PDA-linked package tracking and locator service are representative of emerging content delivery services.

Digital products easily transport to and from wireless devices. Hence, downloading entertainment products?for example, MP3 music?is likely to become even more commonplace when 3G arrives. Transferring software, high resolution images, and full-motion advertising messages will also become common activities. The emergence of high-quality display screens and greater bandwidth will undoubtedly trigger the development of innovative video applications. Individuals will use wireless devices to access, retrieve, store, and display high-resolution video content for entertainment, product demonstration, and distance learning.

The transmission and receipt of status, sensing, and measurement information?telemetry services?form the basis for a wide range of new applications involving mobile devices. Innovations in this area let people use wireless phones and appliances to communicate with various devices from their homes, offices, or in the field. For instance, delivery drivers will ?ping? intelligent dispensing machines or store computers to determine where their rolling inventory is needed most or which locations need immediate service. Similarly, users will transmit messages to activate remote recording devices or service systems.

Active m-commerce applications function only when someone directly initiates them by transmitting payment details, requesting information, receiving specific content, or retrieving status information. In contrast, passive applications occur without the user taking any action?for example, the automatic collection of toll charges with dedicated cash cards. Integrating digital cash into mobile devices would make these cash cards unnecessary. These wireless devices would facilitate and record payment of toll, mass-transit, fast-food, and other transactions without the user authorizing or entering identification information for each individual transaction. Users could arrange to have their cash chips update automatically by directing the wireless device to contact their money source and download additional digital cash whenever necessary.

Popular in Europe, short messages text messages, up to 160 characters in length, that show up on the recipient's display as they arrive?are examples of passive content delivery. As digital convergence becomes more commonplace, all forms of mail will passively go to wireless devices, including digitized voice mail, fax documents, and e-mail. Passive security, intrusion, and emergency telemetry services will refine the monitoring of facilities and individuals. Any unusual event or unacceptable condition will trigger user notification, regardless of location. Airlines are testing technology that will let them alert passengers, especially frequent fliers, to seat upgrades, schedule changes, and so on, through wireless devices. Some airlines already have prototype telemetry systems that transmit this kind of information to passengers as soon as they enter the airport or pass near a kiosk-like device.

Passive m-commerce telemetry is the foundation of still another form of interactive marketing. Stores will be able to market their products and services by transmitting promotional coupons and messages to passers by: ?Come in and enjoy a complimentary cup of our new coffee blend,? or ?Get half off, if you make your purchase within the next 30 minutes.? This type of marketing may give rise to a new challenge: managing m-junk messages without turning off your wireless device.

The technology to facilitate m-commerce is within reach, even as barriers to its development fall away. Applications and wireless devices promise to evolve together, each driving the introduction of innovative and powerful features in the other. The opportunity and challenge is for business to develop strategies that capitalize on the strengths of mobile commerce, thereby helping it to compete in an increasingly digital marketplace. The greatest challenge to structuring such a strategy may be creating the innovations that will meet the needs and expectations of consumers and commercial participants. Additional details regarding the above may be found in James A. Senn, The Emergence of M-Commerce, IEEE COMPUTER (December 2000), incorporated herein by reference and all references cited there incorporated herein by reference.

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, the process begins as all tickets are checked in, for example, as the patrons enter the reserved seating area, such as a stadium or theater, through, for example, bar code readers, scanners, infrared readers, and/or manually or other method where the patron is checked in, either at the gate, seat or other location. For example, patrons can optionally check in a predetermined time before the event through a wireless device, Internet connection, manual or voice recognition telephone, or other manner. The important point is to provide a standard manner for allowing patrons to check in, and if the patron fails to check in using a predetermined procedure, to allow that seat to be provided to another willing patron in accordance with a process to be described below. The patron may check in either a predetermined time before or after the event begins. Currently, such a process is impossible and unthinkable in view of the difficulty reserved seating events have in simply getting the patrons seated prior to the beginning of the event. The present invention represents a revolutionary process to enhance event enjoyment, earn patron loyalty and optionally provide additional revenues to the theater/stadium or optionally other patrons with the desirable ticket.

The check in procedure continues for a predetermined period of time until a predetermined time period has expired, for example, 5 minutes before the event begins, 10 minutes after the event begins, after a predetermined event, such as the second act of a play, and the like. Once the predetermined time period or event has been completed, the check in procedure may be considered completed to begin the seat re-allocation process. To begin the seat re-allocation process, a re-allocation algorithm is used to re-assign seats for patrons that are willing or interested in different or better seats. Such re-allocation processes or algorithms may include a random process, a process where priority patrons are given priority for re-assignment of seat, a process where patrons are willing to pay additional for the re-assignment to either the theater or the individual patron whose seat is being provided to another patron, frequent event patrons, season ticket patrons, or other predetermined process.

If the patron that is identified by the re-allocation process is determined to be present in the theater, for example, via mobile telephone, wireless device, and/or manual verification, an optional sub-process determines whether the patron's optional profile is also satisfied with the available seating. If the optional subscriber profile is not satisfied, then the re-allocation process searches for another possible patron. If the optional profile sub-process is satisfied, then the eligible patron is notified via one or more means, such as announcement, manually, wireless device, mobile telephone, bulletin board, and/or other means. The patron is then notified and presented with the option of moving for free, use of award points, additional money to the theater and/or patron to whose seat is being provided, or other predetermined criteria to obtain the seat. Optionally, a bidding process may be initiated that allows various patrons to bid against one another. Any standard bidding process may optionally be used. The patron, of course has the option to decline, and if so, the process continues and returns to the re-allocation process to attempt to locate another possible patron.

If the patron accepts, payment of money or other means may be effectuated on the spot via the wireless device, credit card, debit card, points, and the like, and the patron may now move to the other seat. The patron's seat may then optionally be made available as an empty seat to the re-allocation process. If a predetermined period of time has not expired, then the re-allocation process may be run again to optionally continuously re-allocate seats. The patron may optionally store the up-graded ticket on a wireless device for proof of entrance to the better seating area. Optionally, the seat and/or row and/or section, includes a separate reader device to receive optionally the original ticket that is now re-allocated to a better seat, or a new ticket that may optionally be received by the patron via the wireless device and/or manually via a worker in the theater or stadium.

In another embodiment of the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that have already purchased tickets in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats and/or may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets at any time prior to and/or after beginning of game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron may be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention or even at any location when being offered upgrades and/or seats well in advance of the game. For example, the present invention can upgrade or sell tickets to patrons well in advance of the game since it advantageously is permitted or has the authority to resell tickets either via ticket holders that do not show up during the game and/or, for example, season ticket holders that have authorized the stadium in advance to resell their tickets based on predetermined criteria, for example, when the season ticket holder notifies the stadium that they will not be present at next weeks game.

In one optional embodiment of the invention, the patron presents the usher with the confirmation number which the usher can enter into a wireless device using a local or private wireless network, or can simply use a walkie talkie or telephone to call the dispatcher to confirm the upgrade and/or new seats using the customer provided confirmation number. The dispatcher will have access to the system to enter the confirmation number to confirm the validity of the upgrade. Alternatively, a patron will retain their old ticket. The patron will give in the old ticket to the usher which is scanned or barcoded by the usher for immediate identification of new seats and used in place of, or in addition to, confirmation number.

Of course, the confirmation may optionally be made via customer name with an appropriate identification card or other information. Further, alternative methods may be used to verify that the confirmation number and/or ticket being used by the patron is valid. For example, the patron may be equipped with a printing device associated with the wireless device or download an actual ticket on line from home prior to the game for the new ticket or upgrade. Alternatively, the patron may be equipped with an identifier card, optionally including a bar code with a unique identifier relating to the patron's account information and profile that can be scanned for additional convenience. Alternatively, a wireless device may be used to securely store this type of identification and/or account information.

In at least one alternative embodiment of the invention, the patron may comprise optionally a corporate account that has a number of tickets, for example, season tickets. In this embodiment, the corporate account may have associated therewith a plurality of email addresses or other communication addresses to transmit the seat or upgrade offer to a number of potential patrons that may rotate their attendance at the games. In accordance with this optional embodiment, multiple emails can be stored for a single user/corporate account, and the system may transmit individual messages to all email addresses, or may only transmit messages to individual patrons for corporate account that individually advise the system that they are associated with a particular ticket/bar code for a particular game and will be/are present at a particular game.

In an alternative embodiment, patrons may enter the stadium and subsequently inform the system that they are present and interested in an upgrade via a kiosk where the patron can scan a bar code and enter their customer number to be eligible for upgrades during the game. The system is then able to transmit a message to the customer, assuming that the customer has pre-registered with the system with the appropriate contact information. Alternatively, or in addition to individual use of a kiosk(s), the customer sales office may have a kiosk or additional functionality to enter the customer name and/or customer account and scan in the bar coded ticket on the spot to register each patron as they enter the stadium or venue.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron upon entry in the stadium to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept when an offer is received by the patron at a predetermined time. The graphical map may comprise a small booklet with a map of the stadium showing seat locations, and optionally a game schedule.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provides additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally be eligible for a dating or matching service where patrons register and provide profile information to the system and/or through a third service provider dating service. Once the system knows that the patrons will be coming to the game and/or have actually checked in to the stadium, the system can then arrange for the two, four, etc. patrons to meet each other by allocating and/or re-allocating seats to the patrons together. Thus, based on profile information, customer request and availability, the system is able to upgrade or sell tickets to patrons to maximize their chances of meeting someone at the game. This optional feature provides significant potential enjoyment for the patrons participating in this dating or connection program. In accordance with this embodiment, one possible sequence of acceptance steps involves profile matching the two patrons (or groups of patrons) based on predetermined profile information; transmitting a first message to the first patron regarding availability of the second patron and requesting a conditional acceptance form the first patron; transmitting a second message to the second patron indicating that the first patron has conditionally accepted and request the second patron to accept; and when the second patron accepts before the first patron has rescinded the conditional acceptance, finalizing the upgrade and/or seat allocation for the first and second patrons. This embodiment of the invention is a complete reverse from typical dating and/or matchmaking services which attempt to develop detailed algorithms for the matching process because of the significant decision that exists in determining who to spend valuable time with. In accordance with the invention, patrons are already present at the game, and therefore, half or more than half the effort is already done. The remainder is to actually meet the other person which can be accomplished with profile criteria, whether or not the algorithms are very sophisticated.

In one embodiment, the patrons that are being matched have their original seats maintained and not made available for other upgrades in the event the matching does not work out early on. In this embodiment, one or both the patrons can return to their original seat. Hopefully, there will not be a significant argument of who would need to return to their original seat if an upgrade is actually performed. In addition, in accordance with this embodiment, the seats that are selected do not necessarily have to be better seats in the classical sense. That is, seats further away from other ticket holders might be considered preferred when matching two individuals for the first time. Alternatively, couple that would prefer a little more privacy or quieter game might request to be moved to a more isolated area. Alternatively, families with small children might prefer to be moved to a less busy area as well during the game where the children might be able to freely move around. All these scenarios and/or alternatives are possible in view of the present invention. The advantage of performing a match in a public setting is that the patrons do not have to worry about leaving or ending the date, and also do not have to worry that the other person will have their home address.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like.

In addition, this feature also optionally permits the patrons that have participated in the program to rate one another for future dates. For example, one patron can rate the conversational benefits of the second patron, the appearance of the second patron, the overall short term versus long terms relationship goals of the patron, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the algorithm for future seat assignments, re-allocations and/or upgrades in the future for the first and second patrons, and all other patrons will now benefit with the additional profile information of the first and second patrons. The matching service may be for amusement or work related networking purposes, for example, to meet an executive that the patron currently works with or wishes to work with/sell in the future.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like. In addition, the system advantageously and optionally provides the feature of allowing patrons to text message one another directly, and/or exchange pictures via wireless email, text messaging, and other wireless devices that provide the standard capability of exchanging pictures, such a T Mobile and/or Sprint.

In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder can call in via a voice to text message, text message and/or email and let the stadium know early that they are not coming. In this manner the ticket holder obtains the convenience of the stadium or venue reselling their tickets in advance, thereby providing the venue with additional time to maximize the resale of the ticket.

In alternative embodiments, when the patron enters the stadium, they have their ticket barcoded or other device that detects their presence can bu used such as infrared, Bluetooth, etc., and then they can become eligible for an upgrade. The patron can register in advance that they want to receive upgrades by providing their name, message address, e.g., email, telephone text message address, etc., and optionally their credit card or other payment mechanism for upgrades that actually cost money as opposed to free upgrades. In alternative embodiments, the patron can register at the ticket booth when purchasing their original ticket. In this scenario, the stadium representative can enter this information on behalf of, and with the permission of, the patron since the patron may already be providing their credit card, debit card, etc. to purchase the original tickets. Alternatively or in addition, a kiosk may be provided where the patron can enter their original ticket, e.g., scan in their original ticket and provide their name and text message information in the stadium to register for a one time upgrade for the game after purchasing, for example, a regular admission ticket.

In alternative embodiments, an usher can verify that the patron should be upgraded by the patron providing the confirmation number that may be transmitted in real-time by the system, and/or by the patron using their original confirmation number or original ticket with barcode or other identification means, such as a smart card, infrared reader, etc. that represents original ticket and presenting same to the user. The usher then needs only to scan in the original ticket and the system will verify whether the patron associated with the original ticket is valid and whether the upgrade is valid.

In alternative embodiments, a warning message may be sent to the ticket holder that has not shown up to game warning them that if they do not respond within a certain time period that their seat will be re-allocated or re-assigned to another patron. Similarly, a release message may be sent to the ticket holder after their seat has actually been released and/or re-allocated, thereby notifying the patron that if they change their mind in attending the game, they will have to obtain an additional ticket. In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder that has their seat released and re-allocated can be themselves re-allocated a similar, worse or better seat, depending on, for example, their subscriber value and/or other criteria. For example, if the patron is provided a better seat, this will encourage them to more readily give up their seats in the future even if they are attending the game. On the other hand, if the patron is provided a worse seat, then this encourages them not to artificially give up or have their seat released when attending the game. Accordingly, the present invention is designed to deal with various behavioral patterns of specific ticket holders, and may optionally and advantageously be a ticket holder specific with respect to various criteria for re-assigning, releasing, selling and/or re-allocating tickets.

In alternative embodiments, the system transmits to the ticket holder a welcome message after being upgraded and after having being moved to a new upgraded seat location. In one embodiment, the system identifies that the patron has been successfully upgraded after the patron provides the usher with a confirmation number or original ticket, which is then verified by the usher and system.

In alternative embodiments, the system, after having identified which patrons have checked into the stadium and/or have been upgraded, transmits a trivia question and/or additional advertisements to all patrons attending the game. In alternative embodiments, the information is transmitted to both patrons that are attending the game and additional patrons that have registered in the past to receive information but that are not attending the game. The participants can, for example, answer trivia questions and respond with their wireless device. Depending on whether the patron is attending the game or not, the system may determine to offer or deal with each of the patrons differently. For example, for patrons at the game, winners may be successively determined and narrowed, as patrons successfully and unsuccessfully answer questions, round after round of questions in a ?spelling bee? format. For patrons that are not attending the game, winners may be declared, or statistics provided to the broadcast station that can be aired on television. In yet additional alternative embodiments, instead of transmitting information/questions to the patrons via the wireless device, the information/questions are displayed on the stadium billboard for patrons at the game and/or on television for patrons that are watching the game on television. The patron can then merely respond via the device, e.g., the telephone accordingly via a voice-to-text system or via other mobile devices via text messaging.

In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of additional advertising sponsorship to the venue. For example, in one embodiment, the venue is partitioned into different locations that may be assigned to different sponsors. In one embodiment, the sponsor that provides the most value may be assigned a certain number of premium seats that are not available to other sponsors.

For example, the sponsor may offer a discount on the upgrade if you are a Verizon or Verizon Wireless customer or they credit your cell account for each seat upgrade or you get say 30 free minutes, etc. In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of one wireless provider to advertise on another wireless providers mobile phone or wireless device. For example, if Verizon Wireless is a sponsor of the upgrade system for a particular stadium, the present invention will still work with, for example, AT&T, SPRINT, and CINGULAR customers. An advertisement message sent with the upgrade offer may read on the AT&T phone, ?brought to you by Verizon Wireless.? In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, text messaging is optionally used for mobile phones to perform the message communication of the present invention. The user is only required, in one embodiment, to reply or respond with a ?Yes? to accept the upgrade offer since the user has advantageously pre-registered with the system, thereby minimizing the required communication/input by the user. In an alternative embodiment, the user, instead of pre-registering with the system, is charged on their wireless or even regular telephone number bill when they accept the upgrade offer. Thus, the wireless system that either administers the user's regular or wireless account or the upgrade sponsor may be responsible for actually billing the customer in this alternative embodiment.

In the alternative embodiment when text messaging is optionally used alone or in combination with other communication methods, the system provides the additional advantage of maximizing bandwidth usage by not requiring use of bandwidth on the wireless voice system, thereby maximizing system resources.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention optionally and advantageously provides a security and/or safety feature in the event of, for example, a minor event where a parent gets separated from a child, a disaster or other event that might require evacuation of the stadium. In one embodiment, the person needing help provides their name to an attendant that can search the system for the contact information of their companion/parent. The system can thereafter send an email and/or text message to the companion/parent regarding the status of that person and provide instructions for meeting that person or arranging help, authorizing medical procedures, and the like. In another embodiment, the person requiring help, e.g., a child provides the attendant or kiosk with their ticket which can, e.g., scan the bar code or other reader system. The system can either automatically provide a text message to the parent who can then reply to the child/attendant via the kiosk to meet the child.

Alternatively, the parent can be instructed to meet the child at a predetermined location, and to stop looking for the child because the child was found. Thus, for this example, the person who is lost or separated from their party can notify security or access a kiosk. Security can, for example, notify the parent that child is in safe custody, and should not search the stadium, and therefore, meet outside stadium in a pre-specified safe place.

In an alternative embodiment, if a child/person is separated, the security guard/kiosk can arrange the best place to meet, either in or outside the stadium, together based on an optional global positioning system (GPS). In addition, the party with the mobile device can be provided directions on where to go to meet their party from who they have been separated.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention may also be used in a security, defense and/or safety setting to direct patrons in a stadium for an orderly evacuation or notify patrons regarding status of a safety related event via, for example, a broadcast message including text message, email and the like. In this manner, system communication resources may be most efficiently utilized by not over-utilizing the system via voice communication, unless completely necessary. For example, the message can be broadcast in the event of an impending hurricane. In this situation, patrons in different sections get different messages, for example, to exit the stadium out of gates/exits that are either less occupied or closest to the section the patrons are sitting in. Advantageously, the present invention has the patrons contact information, including optionally and advantageously text messaging, that can be broadcast or sent to different patrons. The advantage of text messaging is that the bandwidth is more efficiently used in the event of an emergency, and there are no busy signals as in a voice network. Further, the message is send, and if the network is at capacity, the system can automatically resend or the message will be placed in queue and sent as soon as capacity becomes available.

In another alternative embodiment of the invention, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction.

For instance, in sporting venues the bracelet ticket includes the machine readable information that comprises at least one of a bar code and radio frequency identifier used for security check in, and optionally check out. In this manner, the standard reading machines that can scan the bar code or RFID information can keep track of people that have checked into the sporting event and/or venue. Advantageously, the machine readable information on the bracelet can also be used by the venue in the event the patrons seat assignment is modified, for example, via an electronic ticket exchange or upgrade program. In this embodiment, the visible indicia are no longer valid for the actual seating that may be dynamically changed and only represents optionally an initial seat assignment. However, the machine readable information may be used as a code to reference the specific patron and assign that patron a new seat. Thus, when the ticket reader scans the ticket and actually identifies, for example, the bar code, this information can be used to reference the patron, update and/or confirm the patron's current seat via the reader used, for example, by ushers in the venue, kiosk, entrance to the venue, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction. This information, as previously mentioned, may be visually cognizable for the patron and in combination, readable by electronic means if the bracelet includes a magnetic strip, bar code imprinting, or RF chip.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the security bracelet and ticket combination of the present invention advantageously includes a bar code or other machine readable information such as a RFID device. When, for example, a child is separated form their parent, the parent can notify security and the seat number associated with the child. If the child attempts to leave with their bar code/identifier, the system detects the bar code/identifier as either being valid and identifying the child that is missing or being invalid and raising another red flag. In an alternative embodiment, the bar codes/identifiers associated between children and adults correspond such that the child identifier must be within a predetermined time and/or number of checking out identifiers from/within the adult identifier. If this does not occur, the system determines that the child is leaving without their parent, and possibly being abducted.

In an alternative embodiment, the system links one or more tickets/identifiers together and requires the tickets/identifiers to exit the venue or event within a predetermined time period from one another and/or within a predetermined number of tickets/identifiers that have exited the venue and/or event. In the event that one ticket/identifier exits the venue or event and the associated identifier does not, then an alarm or other indictor occurs, and the attendants will detain the patrons that have initiated the alarm to for security purposes.

In an alternative embodiment, the tickets are advantageously coded with designations such as adult, child and the like. In the event a child ticket/identifier exits the stadium before the associated adult and/or more that a predetermined time period and/or number of patrons exiting, the system can initiate an alarm so that an attendant can determine if a child has exited the venue or event without their parent or with a wrong parent potentially averting a kidnapping. In this embodiment, an additional combination is the use of the standard fast pass feature, for example, at theme parks, and the like, where the venue records predetermined events that the user of the card enters in a faster line. In this embodiment, if a child ticket/identifier is not associated with a parent ticket/identifier, for example, as described above, the child may be denied entry into the event or venue if not accompanied by their parent. In alternative embodiments, the venue/event sponsor or organizer associates tickets upon request from the patron. In addition, in another alternative embodiment, a kiosk is provided inside and/or outside the venue for, for example, parents to register their tickets and have them associated with their children's tickets to prevent he child from exiting the venue without them, for example, as described above.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system and method are adapted to utilize any type of wireless device with different interface and communication options. For example, different wireless devices have different constraints with respect to the interface, e.g., number of characters, how the subject and body of the messages are used/communicated, etc. Accordingly, the present invention optionally provides a protocol conversion system depending on the type of wireless device and the wireless device constraints, including message constraints and/or the wireless communication system. In alternative embodiments, the system determines the wireless device provider based on the address received from the wireless device, and is able to automatically determine the type of message and/or message constraints and transmission constraints associated therewith based for example, on real-time information or on pre-determined stored information on the device and/or communication system. Accordingly, a protocol conversion system for different wireless devices is provided by the present invention for sending and/or receiving messages, such as upgrade offers, responses, acceptances, and the like, from a variety of different users/mobile devices and wireless systems.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, a security bracelet is advantageously utilized, for example, such as the security bracelet disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/680,207, filed on Oct. 8, 2003, to Abraham I. Reifer, et al., and incorporated herein by reference, in the event of a reported event, security breach, abduction, and the like. In this embodiment, all patrons exiting the stadium must show their ticket and/or identifier so that the venue can check all patrons out of the stadium. Thus, for example, if two kidnappers come in the stadium, and want to use one bracelet for a child, the second kidnapper will be stranded in the stadium. In addition, if one kidnapper buys two tickets, then upon exit with the child and the additional ticket, a barcode/identifier will be exiting without ever having checked in, and then the alarm will go off as well.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention provides a broadcast message to warn patrons of an event, such as an advertisement, sale and/or even a weather related event such as a hurricane that might require the venue to be evacuated. Advantageously, in at least one embodiment, the broadcast message comprises standard text messaging that optimizes or better utilizes capacity form the communication system. Thus, when using text messaging capabilities, the present invention efficiently transmits text messages to numerous subscribers regarding, for example, exit information, contacting and/or meeting additional parties that have been separated, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the present invention optionally provides the capability to penetrate into secondary market with season ticket holders selling ahead of time the games they will not be attending. For example, the present invention optionally provides the feature for the season ticket holder and/or general ticket purchaser the ability to view in advance of the season and/or game the schedule, and to alert the venue and/or stadium of games and/or events they will not be attending, thereby permitting the stadium/venue to attempt to resell the tickets to other patrons. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the patron is provided with a monthly schedule listing the events that may be attended. The patron, such as a season ticket holder, may then click or place an indicator on all games they will not be attending for the season in advance, thereby providing the stadium with the ability to resell tickets well in advance of the event. Once the patron completes identifying games that will not be attended, the system then compiles a list and transmits the list to the patron for an optional confirmation. This list is then used by the system to release seats well in advance of the game. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, registered users of the system for, for example, upgrades, may also be notified of seat availability for sales prior to the game/event. In an alternative of this embodiment, registered users may receive text messages, emails, and the like, notifying them advantageously of the availability of seats that heretofore have never been easily available to the public for sale, thereby allowing the venue to participate in secondary market ticket sales.

In one alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system/process of the present invention provides or operates as a middle person/broker between the ticket holder that is returning tickets to the venue, such as the season ticket holder, and a ticket sales system and/or company, such as tickets.com, by notifying the tickets company of the newly available seats via notification by the ticket holder, such as the season ticket holder of season ticket games not being attended.

In one alternative embodiment of the invention, the system and/or process transmits text messages, emails and the like, to offer tickets and/or seats and/or admittance to subscribers for events and/or games with empty seats even before game. Thus, the present invention allows the venue to participate in the secondary ticket sales market and the upgrade market, thereby increasing revenue and fan loyalty.

Of course, all of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event, and/or venue that require tickets for entry thereof.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the use of machine readable identifiers provides advantages for, for example, the upgrade program or ticket exchange of the present invention. For example, when the upgrade, re-allocation and/or electronic ticket is issued, the machine readable identifier, for example, the bar code, on the original ticket is invalidated, thereby preventing use of the invalidated ticket. Accordingly, when a new ticket holder purchases the ticket form the season ticket holder, the new purchaser will be issued a new machine readable identifier, and optionally a new paper ticket. The present invention advantageously is able to handle the issuance of a new ticket and invalidates the old ticket and optionally the old identifier that has, for example, been returned by the season ticket holder, thereby providing dynamic ticketing capability.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the new patron obtains a new identifier such as a barcode, the old bar code of, for example, the season ticket holder is invalidated. In one embodiment of the invention, season ticket holders are offered to opt in the upgrade process. Various commercial incentives are possible for the season ticket holder to opt in the upgrade process, such as monetary compensation when their ticket is used for an upgrade and/or resold whether they express their intention not to go to the game prior to the game, and the like. Alternatively, season ticket holders may be offered that the cost of their season tickets will, for example, remain the same as the previous year or be reduced if they participate in the program. Therefore, the combination season ticket trade-in and upgrade program in one embodiment of the invention will be beneficial to season ticket holders by allowing them to trade when they already know that they have no intention of attending a game, and allow the season ticket holder to recoup some cost of the season tickets if they do not attend and their ticket is used as an upgrade. In addition, additional patrons of the event and/or sports team are permitted to attend the game in locations/seats that they might never have been able to obtain access to. Further, the venue/stadium/team maximize revenues by being able to place tickets on the secondary market when the ticket holder notifies the venue early enough that they are not attending the event, the venue also obtains additional revenue from upgrades when tickets are upgraded, and the venue obtains additional fan loyalty.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the system provides the ability to advertise via email, text messaging, and the like, for one wireless carrier on the wireless device that is using another wireless carrier. Since the user of the wireless device has requested the service, the user appropriately receives the communication from the ticketing system of the present invention, and therefore, also appropriately received the advertisement from the wireless carrier that is different than the wireless carrier that the user of the wireless may be using at that time.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, offers to purchase seats either during the game or even well in advance of the game are ?pushed? or transmitted out to registered users that have supplied their wireless and/or Internet addresses. For example, patrons can register in advance for the upgrade and/or regular ticket offers to purchase admittance via various methods including the Internet. When seats band/or admittance becomes available, a broadcast message or other standard messages may be transmitted to the registered patrons to notify them of the seat availability. Thus, seat offers are ?pushed? to registered users that have requested this service advantageously to a wireless device and/or other address including standard telephone communication, as well as additional optional advertisements. The system, in one alternative embodiment, provides the user the option when registering to accept certain types of advertisements to be received on their wireless device via email and/or text messaging. In other embodiments, the user does not have the option of which advertisements to receive.

Advantageously, in accordance with one alternative embodiment of the present invention, if a patron decides to attend an event such as a sporting event when the patron does not have time to wait to receive paper tickets (e.g., the patron is visiting in another city/location and does not have time to wait to receive tickets via mail and is on the go), the system of the present invention transmits a ticket to the patron via, for example, a wireless communication system and/or other standard electronic communication system such as the Internet, and the patron can present their ticket, for example, on their wireless device and show up to game.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Patrons then text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers. The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system uses a seat database to determine which of the reserved seats are currently in use. The system may integrate with the seat database system of a venue and/or stadium or optionally be used in parallel with the seat venue/stadium database. For example, prior to the event, the system may utilize the seat database of the venue to determine available seating and patrons that do not show up after a predetermined period of time. Alternatively, the present invention can operate using a separate database from the event/venue by copying or building a separate database used for the ticketing and/or upgrading according to the present invention. In this alternative, as patrons enter the venue, they are checked in directly to this separate database. At the time of the event, the system will be able to check-in patrons using either the identification system, e.g., bar code scanner, of the event or venue, or provide a separate identification system.

In alternative embodiments of the invention, the patron that knows they are attending the game but is going to be late can send in a HOLD message even prior to being provided a warning message that their seats are to be released if the patron does not respond to the message with the HOLD request. That is, in this embodiment, since the patron already knows well in advance that they are attending the game, but perhaps stuck in traffic, the patron can initiate the HOLD message before even being warned in advance of the possibility of their seat being released.

In another alternative embodiment, patrons that have registered with the system and optionally checked into the stadium and/or venue in advance and who also know that they would like an upgrade and/or ticket, may initiate their own upgrade request to the system to notify the system of their willingness to purchase an upgrade and/or new ticket for the event/venue. The system may then place these patrons on a higher priority since they have already expressed and intent and/or willingness to purchase the upgrade or ticket. The patron may notify the event and/or stadium of their willingness optionally well in advance of the game or near/after game time at a time which the patron commits or expresses an additional heightened desire to upgrade and/or purchase a ticket.

In alternative embodiments, the system includes the advantage of allowing patrons to register free for a predetermined period of time, for example, for the first year, without paying a yearly subscriber fee. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system provides the patron with their first upgrade for free or for a reduced rate to further encourage the patron to register with the system and method of the present invention. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system of the present invention offers the patron reduced and/or free concessions when purchasing a membership, ticket and/or upgrade to further encourage the patron to participate in the offers of the present invention.

In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the matching system and/or process, permits participants in the program to initiate a message to the system with the seat location and/or name of the patron that they would like to be matched with for a meeting, networking and/or socializing such as a date. In this embodiment, the system may the push the message to the other subscriber and assign new seats to the individuals that are to be matched. Alternatively, the system Need not require a specific confirmation that the second individual to be notified of the potential match is physically located near the first individual, but can rely on the first individual to provide that information. For example, the first individual may see a potential date in a restaurant, and may then send a message to the system with that person's name or address, that they would like to meet that other individual. In that situation, the second individual will receive a message of the possible match, and can respond and accept or reject the offer to meet. The second individual can then provide a meeting destination or the system can suggest a meeting place based on the first individual advising the system of their location, and the location of the second individual.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Advantageously, the multiple choice questions each have unique selections, such as a1, b1, c1 and d1 for question #1; a2, b2, c2, and d2 for question #2; a3, b3, c3 and d3 for question #3, and the like. In this embodiment, the actual timing of questions is not necessary since each question and answer is unique. Therefore, the speed of responding to the question is immaterial to the winner of the contest and/or correct answer. Also, in the event one patron answers the question late, there will be no confusion which question the patron is submitting an answer for. Patrons text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers as indicated above using the unique set of answers, in one embodiment. In alternative embodiments, the first predetermined number of patrons that answer the question correctly are considered the winners.

The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, e.g., a1 50%, b1 28%, c1 12% and d1 10%, and display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

As discussed above, one or more of the above alternative embodiments may be incorporated into the embodiments described above, and/or any of the embodiments discussed below. Furthermore, any of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event.

In accordance with one observation of the present invention, mobile device and computer users increasingly face the management of many computing devices. One reason is the expansion of computing environments in the home and office, as printers, scanners, digital cameras, and other peripherals are integrated into networked environments. Another reason is the proliferation of mobile devices such as laptop and palm-sized computers, cellular phones, and pagers. Because these devices trade functionality for suitable form factors and low power consumption, they are necessarily ?peripheral-poor? and must therefore establish connections to neighboring devices for storage, faxing, high-speed network access, and printing. It is easy to become frustrated when dealing with the configuration and interaction of such a multitude of devices. Service discovery technologies were developed to reduce this frustration and to simplify the use of mobile devices in a network by allowing them to be ?discovered,? configured, and used by other devices with a minimum of manual effort. Although most of these ?service discovery suites? promise similar functionality?namely, reduced configuration hassles, improved device cooperation, and automated discovery of required services?they come at the problem from different philosophical and technical approaches. Since none of these technologies is a superset of the others and none is mature enough to dominate the market, interoperation among them will require bridging mechanisms. Five competing technologies are described that may be used in conjunction with the present invention, however, other technologies may also or alternatively be used.

Bluetooth is a low-power, short-range, wireless radio system being developed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, and industry consortium whose member companies include Ericsson, Nokia, and IBM. The radio has a range of 10 meters and provides up to seven 1-megabit-per-second links to other Bluetooth devices. Bluetooth operates in the 2.4-GHz industrial scientific and medical (ISM) band to maximize international acceptance and employs a frequency-hopping system to minimize interference. The low-level communications are detailed in the Bluetooth specification.

Bluetooth has a small form factor; complete systems can be as small as 2-cm square. The technology supports both isochronous and asynchronous services. A simple isochronous application might link a cellular phone and wireless headset, where the headset and base are both Bluetooth devices. More complicated applications include automatic discovery of wireless network connections and automatic synchronization of data between several Bluetooth devices.

FIG. 12 shows the Bluetooth protocol stack. At the bottom, the radio and baseband layers provide the short-range, frequency-hopping radio platform. The link manager protocol (LMP) handles data link setup and provides authentication and encryption services. The logical link control and adaptation protocol (L2CAP) supports multiplexed connectionless and connection-oriented communication over the LMP layer. L2CAP is proprietary, but other network protocols, such as IP, can be built on top of it. L2CAP is also used by higher level protocols. For example, FIG. 12 shows links to the Hayes-compatible AT (ATtention) protocol, which provides a standard interface for controlling remote cellular phones and modems; RFComm, which emulates an RS-232 serial interface; a simple object exchange protocol (OBEX), which enhances Bluetooth's interoperability with IrDA; and Bluetooth's service discovery protocol (SDP).

Groups of up to eight Bluetooth devices can form ad hoc networks called piconets to communicate, share services, and synchronize data. In each piconet, a master device coordinates the other Bluetooth devices (including setting the 1,600-hops-per-second frequency-hopping pattern). Individual devices can participate in more than one piconet at a time and can be in one of several states:

Standby?the device is conserving power and waiting to connect to another Bluetooth device.

Inquire?the device is searching for nearby Bluetooth devices.

Page?the device is connecting to another Bluetooth device.

Connected?the device is connected to another Bluetooth device.

Hold and park?the device is participating in a piconet with varying degrees of power savings.

The Bluetooth SDP provides a simple API for enumerating the devices in range and browsing available services. It also supports stop rules that limit the duration of searches or the number of devices returned. Client applications use the API to search for available services either by service classes, which uniquely identify types of devices (such as printers or storage devices), or by matching attributes (such as a model number or supported protocol). Attributes that describe the services offered by a Bluetooth device are stored as a service record and are maintained by the device's SDP server.

The distinction between service classes and descriptive attributes is not well defined, but service classes generally define broad device categories, such as Printer, ColorPrinter, and PostScriptPrinter, while attributes allow a finer level of description. Manufacturers must eventually standardize these service classes for maximal interoperability between Bluetooth devices.

Unlike higher level service discovery technologies such as Jini, Bluetooth's SDP does not provide a mechanism for using discovered services?specific actions required to use a service must be provided by a higher level protocol. However, it does define a standard attribute ProtocolDescriptorList, which enumerates appropriate protocols for communicating with a service.

Bluetooth devices provide data security through unique 48-bit identifiers, 128-bit authentication keys, and 8- to 128-bit encryption keys. Strong authentication is possible because no international restrictions prevent it, but Bluetooth devices must negotiate encryption strength to comply with laws restricting encryption. Note that Bluetooth devices must be paired to provide them with matching secret keys that will support authentication. Once paired, Bluetooth devices can authenticate each other and protect sensitive data from snooping. Regardless of encryption strength, Bluetooth's fast frequency-hopping scheme makes snooping difficult.

Jini is a service discovery and advertisement system that relies on mobile code and leverages the platform independence of the Java language. The current Jini implementation is based on TCP and UDP, but implementations based on other network protocols are certainly possible. The major requirements are reliable, stream-oriented communication and a multicast facility. Jini's language-centric approach allows a flexible definition of service; for example, a service can be implemented entirely in software and, after discovery, can be downloaded and executed entirely on the client. Examples of such algorithmic services might include an implementation of a proprietary algorithm for shading a polygon or formatting a document to meet an organizational standard. On the other hand, Jini also requires each device either to run a Java virtual machine or to associate itself with a device that can execute a JVM on its behalf. For example, a Jini ?device chassis? might Jini-enable a number of ?dumb? devices, making their services available to Jini clients.

Jini entities consist of services, look up servers that catalog available services, and clients that require services. A service can also be a client; for example, a telescope might provide pictures to a PDA as a service and look for printing services as a client. All service advertisements and requests go through a lookup server. FIG. 13 illustrates the discovery and registration process for Jini clients and services.

To register service availability or to discover services, a service or client must first locate one or more lookup servers by using a multicast request protocol. This request protocol terminates with the invocation of a unicast discovery protocol, which clients and services use to communicate with a specific lookup server. The unicast protocol culminates in the transfer of an instance of the ServiceRegistrar class, a ?remote control? for the lookup server. A lookup server can use the multi-cast announcement protocol to announce its presence on the network. When a lookup server invokes this protocol, clients and services that have registered interest in receiving announcements of now lookup services are notified.

These three protocols are encapsulated in a set of Jini classes. For example, to find lookup services, a client or service need only create an instance of LookupDiscovery.

Jini uses Java's remote method invocation (RMI) facility for all interactions between either a client or a service and the lookup server). Once a lookup server has been discovered and an instance of ServiceRegistrar is available, services can register their availability, and clients can search for needed services by involving ServiceRegistrar methods.

Jini associates a proxy, or remote control object, with each service instance. A service advertises its availability by registering its object in one or more lookup servers via the register( ) method. This method takes several arguments, including an instance of Serviceitem, which contains a universally unique identifier for the service, its attribute set, and its remote control object. This object may either implement the service entirely (in the case of an algorithmic service such as the implementation of a polygon-shading algorithm), or provide methods for accessing the service over the network. The lease duration parameter of register( ) specifies the service's intended lifetime. The service is responsible for renewing the lease within the time specified to maintain its listing. The lookup server is free to adjust the lease time, which is returned in a ServiceRegistration object.

When a service first contacts a lookup server, the server generates a unique identifier for it; the service uses this ID in all future registrations. The service identifier lets clients request a specific service explicitly and recognize when services reported by different lookup servers are identical.

To use a service, a device must first secure an instance of the proxy object for it. From a client point of view, the location of the service proxied by this remote control object is unimportant, because the object encapsulates the location of the service and the protocol necessary to operate it.

Clients use the lookup( ) method in ServiceRegistrar to discover services. This method takes a single argument, an instance of ServiceTemplate. The ServiceTemplate constructor takes several arguments. The first is the service identifier. If the service identifier is null, then arrays of types (Java classes, typically interfaces) and attributes (attribute objects) are used to match services. A service matches if its class matches of the classes in the types array and if, for each of the attribute objects, and all non-null members match one of the service's registered attributes. The return value from lookupo is an instance of ServiceMatches, which contains an array of remote control objects for the services that match. Finally, the notify( ) method allows a client to request an asynchronous notification when services matching a ServiceTemplate instance become available. This method uses Jini's distributed events mechanism, which extends Java's infrastructure for eventing across JVMs.

Jini depends on Java's security model, which provides tools like digital certificates, encryption and control over mobile code activities such as opening and accepting socket connections, reading and writing to specific files, and using native methods Systems administrators can establish different policies depending on where the Java code originated (for example, the local file system or a remote machine).

Salutation is an architecture for service discovery under development by the Salutation Consortium, which includes members from both industry and academia. The consortium's goal is to build a royalty-free architecture for service advertisement and discovery that is independent of a particular network transport.

FIG. 14 shows the three fundamental components in the Salutation architecture: functional units, salutation managers, and transport managers. From a client's point of view, a functional unit defines a service. Functional units already specified or under consideration by the Salutation Consortium include printing, faxing, and document storage. There is also work on a functional unit specification to allow discovery of Hewlett-Packard JetSend-enabled devices. The specifications define attributes that characterize a service (for example, in the case of a printer, double-sided capability, color, and so on).

The functional unit Doc Storage defines file attributes that can be used to find information in temporary or long-term storage. For, example, a client can search for operating system-specific drivers or software necessary to interact with a newly discovered device. The client simply queries a Salutation manager for the necessary Doc Storage functional unit, extracts the application or device driver and installs it, thus providing limited code mobility.

Salutation managers function as services brokers; they help clients find needed services and let services register their availability. Services and register and unregister functional units with the local Salutation manager by using the API calls slmRegisterCapabilities( ) and slmUnregisterCapabilities( ), respectively. A client can use the slmSearchCapability( ) call to determine if Salutation managers have registered specific functional units. Under the current version of the architecture, applications can query only the local Salutation manager. Future versions will allow remote Salutation managers to be specified. Once a functional unit is discovered, slmQueryCapability( ) can be used to verify that a functional unit has certain capabilities. The API also includes calls for initialization/version checking, availability checking, and communication between clients and services. (An API simulator is available at http://www.salutation.org/simulate.htm.)

Salutation managers fill a role similar to lookup servers in Jini, but they can also manage the connections between clients and services. A Salutation manager can operate in one of the three ?personalities?:

In native personality, Salutation managers are used only for discovery. They establish a connection between a client and service but perform no further operations on the data stream.

The emulated personality is similar to the native the connection, but in the case they transfer native data packets encapsulated in Salutation manager protocol format, providing a bridge when no common message protocol exists between client and service. The Salutation manager is ignorant of the semantic content of the data stream between client and service.

In Salutation personality, Salutation managers establish the connection between client and service and they also mandate the specific format of the data transferred. The Salutation architecture defines the data formats.

A transport manager isolates the implementation of the Salutation manager from particular transport-layer protocols and thereby gives Salutation network transport independence. To support a new network transport requires a new transport manager to be written, but does not require modifications to the Salutation manager. Like Jini (and UPnP), Salutation requires a network transport protocol that supports reliable, stream-oriented communication. Initial implementations are based on IP and IrDA because of their widespread use.

Transport managers also locate the Salutation managers on their respective network segments via either multicast, static configuration, or reference to a centralized directory. Discovery of other Salutation managers allows a particular Salutation managers to determine which functional units have been registered and to allow clients access to these remote services. Communication between Salutation managers is based on remote procedure call (RPC). This interaction between remote Salutation managers contrasts with other registry-based service discovery mechanisms (for example, Jini and Service Location Protocol), where clients would be responsible for locating remote registries. The Salutation specification currently does not address security issues.

A lightweight version of Salutation, called Salutation-Lite, has been developed for resource-limited devices. It is based primarily on IrDA to leverage the large number of infrared-capable devices. Salutation-Lite focuses primarily on service discovery. It uses the functional units OpEnvironment and Display to describe the operating system, processor class, amount of memory and display characteristics of palm-sized devices. By noting the particular characteristics of the device, servers can provide appropriate drivers and software wirelessly. Salutation-Lite implementations can be down-loaded free from the Salutation website at http://www.salutation.org.

UPnP is a proposed architecture for service advertisement and discovery supported by the UPnP Forum, headed by Microsoft. Unlike Jini, which depends on mobile code, UPnP aims to standardize the protocols used by devices to communicate, using XML. The UPnP specifications is still in an preliminary stage; major issues like security have not yet been addressed.

UPnP's device model is hierarchical. In a compound device (for example, a VCR/TV combo), the root device is discoverable, and a client (called a control point) can address the individual subdevices (for example, a tuner) independently. Virtual Web servers in the device act as entry points for interacting with and controlling it. Devices that don't speak UPnP directly are called bridge devices. They can be integrated into a UPnP network in a manner similar to the integration in a Jini device chassis: A bridge maps between UPnP and device-native protocols.

The UPnP specification described device addressing, service advertisement and discovery, device control, eventing, and presentation. The eventing facility allows clients to watch for significant changes in the state of a discovered service. It functions similarly to Jini's distributed event facility. Presentation allows a client to obtain a GUI for a discovered device's virtual Web servers. Several protocols support these functions:

AutoIP, a simple protocol that allows devices to dynamically claim IP addresses in the absence of a DHCP server;

Simple service discovery protocol (SSDP), the UPnP mechanism for service discovery and advertisement;

Simple object access protocol (SOAP), a protocol for remote procedure calls based on XML and HTTP that is used for device control after discovery; and

Generic Event Notification Architecture (GENA), a UPnP subscription-based event notification service based on HTTP.

When devices are introduced into a network, they multicast ?alive? messages to control points.

When they wish to cancel availability of their services, they send ?byebye? messages. In SSDP, each service has three associated IDs?service type, service name, and location?which are multicast when services are advertised. Any of these IDs can also be used to search for services.

To search, a control point sends a UPD multicast request to the network, as shown in FIG. 15. Matching services send unicast responses to the client. These responses contain URLs, each pointing to a XML description document that describes a service. A description document contains several important items:

A presentation URL allows entry to a device's root page, which provides a GUI for device control.

A control URL is the entry point to the device's control server, which accepts device-specific commands to control the device.

An event subscription URL can be used by clients to subscribe to the device's event service. The client provides an event sink URL in the subscription request. Significant state changes in the device result in a notification to the client's event sink URL.

A service control protocol definition describes the protocol for interacting with the device.

The service control protocol (SCP) definition allows APIs to be converted to device?specific commands, shielding the application level from details of particular devices. After retrieving the description document, a UPnP component on the control point called the rehydrator is ?plumbed? with a definition of the device's SCP. This component then sends device?specific commands via the device's control URL. SOAP is used for this interaction.

SSDP is similar to the Internet Engineering Task Force's service location protocol, but it lacks a query facility that can search for services by attributes. Further, SLP incorporates security measures and can interact with the IETF standards?track dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) and the lightweight directory protocol (LDAP). Finally, SSDP specifications currently limit discovery to a single subnet. Since UPnP does not use a registry, it is also likely to generate significantly more network traffic than SLP.

Service location protocol (SLP) is an IETF protocol for service discovery and advertisement as illustrated in FIG. 16. It is currently at the ?proposed standard? stage along the IETF standards track. Unlike Jini, Salutation, and UPnP, which all aspire to some degree of transport-level independence, SLP is designed solely for IP-based networks. It provides a set of C and Java bindings that provide service discovery and advertisement functions to application software.

SLP comprises three entities: service agents (SAs), user agents (UAs), and directory agents (DAs). SAs advertise the location and attributes of available services, while UAs discover the location and attributes of services needed by client software. UAs can discover services by issuing a directory-like query to the network. DAs cache information about available services. Unlike Jini, SLP can operate without directory servers. The presence of one or more DAs can substantially improve performance, however, by reducing the number of multicast messages and the amount of network bandwidth used. In fact, if DHCP is used to configure SLP agents with the location of DAs, then multicast is completely unnecessary. SLP also interoperates with LDAP, so services registered with an SLP DA can be automatically registered in an LDAP directory. This eliminates the need to reconfigure clients that already discover services using LDAP.

SLP has several mechanisms for discovering DAs:

In passive discovery, SAs and UAs listen for multicast announcements for DAs, which periodically repeat these advertisements.

In active discovery, SAs and UAs multicast SLP requests or use DHCP to discover DAs. When a DA is present, SAs and UAs use unicast communication to, respectively, register their services and find appropriate services.

In the absence of DAs, UAs multicast requests for service and receive unicast responses directly from the SAs that control matching services. This tends to increase bandwidth consumption, but provides a simpler model, appropriate for small networks (such as a home LAN).

SLP services are advertised through a service URL, which contains all information necessary to contact a service. Clients use the service URL to connect to the service. The protocol used between the client and server is outside the scope of the SLP specification. This separation is similar to Bluetooth, where the SDP does not specifically address how devices will communicate.

Service templates define an attribute set for each service type (a printer, for example). The attributes include a specification of the attribute types and information about default and allowed values; they are used to differentiate between services of the same type and to communicate configuration information to UAs.

SLP does not define the protocols for communication between clients and services, and so its security model concentrates on preventing the malicious propagation of false information about service locations. SAs can include digital signatures when registering so DAs and UAs can verify their identity. Digital signatures can also be required when DAs advertise their availability, allowing UAs and SAs to avoid rouge DAs (that is, those without a proper signature). As with Jini, setting up the security features of SLP requires some configuration effort, but the effort can be well worth it, particularly in open environments.

For service discovery to become pervasive, either a single service discovery technology must dominate or the most commonly used technologies must be made interoperable. Currently, bridging seems to be the most promising prospect for interoperability.

Implementations of certain low-level functions of service discovery (such as discovering registries) are interchangeable. For example, the Salutation Consortium uses SLP for service discovery beyond the local subnet. This lets the Salutation manager search for SLP DAs, and then use SLP to register functional units and search for requested services.

A Jini-SLP bridge has also been developed, which allows services lacking a JVM to participate in Jini system. The heart of the Jini-SLP bridge is a special SLP UA that registers the availability of ?Jini-capable? SLP SAs. To do this, Jini-capable SLP services advertise the availability of a Jini driver factory. The UA discovers all SAs with driver factories and registers them with one or more Jini registered SAs, it downloads the driver factory from the lookup server and uses it to instantiate a Java object to drive the service. Note that the SLP SAs are not required to host a Java virtual machine?the Java code installed on the SAs is static. Similar schemes are possible for the other technologies; for example, it should be possible to Jini-enable UPnP services in this way.

Each service discovery technology has advantages and disadvantages. Currently, interoperability efforts are perhaps the most important force in service discovery, since it is very unlikely that device manufacturers will embrace multiple service discovery technologies on low-cost devices. Additional details regarding the above may be found in Golden G. Richard III, Service Advertisement and Discover, IEEE Internet Computing (September?October 2000), incorporated herein by reference and all references cited there incorporated herein by reference. Additional detail is provided herewith regarding Bluetooth protocol. The Bluetooth specifications define a radio frequency (RF) wireless communication interface and the associated set of communication protocols and usage profiles.

The link speed, communication range, and transmit power level for Bluetooth were chosen to support low-cost, power-efficient, single-chip implementations of the current technology. In fact, Bluetooth is the first attempt at making a single-chip radio that can operate in the 2.4-GHz ISM (industrial, scientific, and medical) RF band. While most early Bluetooth solutions are dual chip, vendors have recently announced single-chip versions as well. The Bluetooth specification consists of two parts: core and profiles.

The core specification defines all layers of the Bluetooth protocol stack. As shown in FIG. 17, the Bluetooth stack differs from the classical seven-layer networking model in some ways. These differences are primarily to support ad hoc connectivity among participating nodes, while conserving power and accommodating devices that lack resources to support all layers of the classical networking stack.

The radio is the lowest layer. Its interface specification defines the characteristics of the radio front end, frequency bands, channel arrangements, permissible transmit power levels, and receiver sensitivity level. The next layer is the baseband, which carries out Bluetooth's physical (PITY) and media access control (MAC) processing. This includes tasks such as device discovery, link formation, and synchronous and asynchronous communication with peers. Bluetooth peers must exchange several control messages for the purpose of configuring and managing the baseband connections. These message definitions are part of the link manager protocol (LMP). The functional entity responsible for carrying out the processing associated with LMP is called the link manager.

Bluetooth is unique in offering the front-end RF processing integrated with the baseband module. On-chip integration lowers the cost of the network interface, and the small size makes it easy to embed Bluetooth chips in devices such as cell phones and PDAs. A Bluetooth chip can be connected to its host processor using USB, UART, or PC-card interfaces.

The Host Controller Interface (HCI) specification defines a standard interface-independent method of communicating with the Bluetooth chip. The software stack on the host processor communicates with the Bluetooth hardware using HCI commands. Since no hardware-specific knowledge is needed, the Bluetooth stack software can easily be ported from one Bluetooth chip to another. The HCI layer is part of the Bluetooth stack, but it does not constitute a peer-to-peer communication layer since the HCI command and response messages do not flow over the air link.

The logical link control and adaptation protocol (L2CAP) specification can be viewed as Bluetooth's link layer. Usually, L2CAP and layers above it are implemented in software. L2CAP delivers packets received from higher layers to the other end of the link. Bluetooth devices can establish an L2CAP connection as soon as they are in range of each other. A client device then needs to discover the services provided by the server device. The service discovery protocol (SDP) defines the means by which the client device can discover services as well as their attributes. The SDP design has been optimized for Bluetooth. It defines only the discovery mechanisms; the methods for accessing those services are outside its scope.

The RFCOMM specification defines a method of emulating the RS-232 cable connection on top of the Bluetooth airlink. RFCOMM supports legacy applications that use the COM port to communicate with the peer host. For example, point-to-point (PPP) protocols expect a serial line interface from the lower layer. Since PPP provides a packet-oriented interface to the higher layers, all packet-based network and transport protocols, including TCP/IP, can be supported on top of PPP. More efficient methods of running IP over Bluetooth are currently under development.

Vendors can use the services offered by the Bluetooth stack to create a variety of applications. Because interoperability is crucial to Bluetooth's operation, the Bluetooth SIG has defined profile specifications to support it. The profiles specify controller and stack parameter settings as well as the features and procedures required for interworking among Bluetooth devices. All vendor implementations of these profiles are expected to be interoperable. The Bluetooth certification authority uses the profiles to test and certify compliance, and grants use of the Bluetooth logo only to products that conform to the methods and procedures defined in the profiles.

The 2.4-GHz ISM band in which Bluetooth operates is globally available for license-free use. Europe and the United States allocate 83.5 MHz to this band, but Spain, France, and Japan allocate less. To accommodate these differences, 79 channels spaced 1 MHz apart are defined for Europe and the U.S., and 23 RF channels spaced 1 MHz apart are defined for Spain, France, and Japan. Efforts are under way to open up the full width of the spectrum in Spain and France, as well as in Japan so that Bluetooth devices would function worldwide.

Bluetooth is a frequency-hopping spread-spectrum system. This means that the radio hops through the full spectrum of 79 or 23 RF channels using a pseudorandom hopping sequence. The hopping rate of 1,600 hops per second provides good immunity against other sources of interference in the 2.4-GHz band. The link speed is 1 Mbps, which is easily achieved using a simple modulation technique (Gaussian Frequency Shift Keying, or GFSK). A more complex modulation technique could achieve a higher rate, but GFSK keeps the radio design simple and low cost.

The radio front end is usually the most costly part of a wireless network interface. In typical radio receivers, the RF filters, oscillators, and image-reject mixers process input signals at high frequencies. Such circuits require expensive materials. To keep costs down, Bluetooth recommends shifting the input signal to a lower intermediate frequency (IF, around 3 MHz), which allows on-chip construction of low-power filters using CMOS material. Shifting to low IF, however, creates new problems, such as reduced receiver sensitivity. Recommended receiver sensitivity for Bluetooth is ?70 dBm or better. The comparable number for IEEE 802.11 Wireless LANs is about ?90 dBm). Thus, for the same transmit power, the range for Bluetooth is shorter than it is for 802.11 WLAN.

A set of Bluetooth devices sharing a common channel is called a piconet. A piconet is a star-shaped configuration in which the device at the center performs the role of master and all other devices operate as slaves. Up to seven slaves can be active and served simultaneously by the master. If the master needs to communicate with more than seven devices, it can do so by first instructing active slave devices to switch to low-power park mode and then inviting other parked slaves to become active in the piconet. This juggling act can be repeated, which allows a master to serve a large number of slaves.

Most envisioned Bluetooth applications involve local communication among small groups of devices. A piconet configuration consisting of two, three, or up to eight devices is ideally suited to meet the communication needs of such applications. When many groups of devices need to be active simultaneously, each group can form a separate piconet. The slave nodes in each piconet stay synchronized with the master clock and hop according to a channel-hopping sequence that is a function of the master's node address. Since channel-hopping sequences are pseudorandom, the probability of collision among piconets is small. Piconets with overlapping coverage can coexist and operate independently. Nonetheless, when the degree of overlap is high, the performance of each piconet starts to degrade.

In some usage scenarios, however, devices in different piconets may need to communicate with each other. Bluetooth defines a structure called scatternet to facilitate interpiconet communication. A scatternet is formed by interconnecting multiple piconets. As shown on the right side of FIG. 17, the connections are formed by bridge nodes, which are members of two or more piconets. A bridge node participates in each member piconet on a time-sharing basis. After staying in a piconet for some time, the bridge can turn to another piconet by switching to its hopping sequence. By cycling through all member piconets, the bridge node can send and receive packets in each piconet and also forward packets from one piconet to another.

A bridge node can be a slave in both piconets or be a slave in one and a master in another. For example, consider a room full of people, where each person has a cell phone and a cordless headset. When users speak into their headsets, only the cell phones paired with their headsets should pick up the signal. In this example, each headset and cell phone pair constitutes a separate piconet. Now suppose these users also want to send text messages from their cell phones to one another. This will be possible only if all piconets are interconnected to form a large scatternet.

Bluetooth uses a procedure known as inquiry for discovering other devices; it uses paging to subsequently establish connections with them. Both inquiry and paging are asymmetric procedures. In other words, they involve the inquirer and the inquired (as well as the pager or the paged) devices to perform different actions. This implies that when two nodes set up a connection, each needs to start from a different initial state; otherwise, they would never discover each other. The profile specifications play an important role here, defining the required initial state for each device in all usage scenarios. A symmetric procedure for establishing connections is an ongoing topic of research.

The inquiry and paging are conceptually simple operations, but the frequency-hopping nature of the physical layer makes the low-level details quite complex. Two nodes cannot exchange messages until they agree to a common channel-hopping sequence as well as the correct phase within the chosen sequence. Bluetooth solves this problem simply by mandating the use of a specific inquiry-hopping sequence known to all devices. During inquiry, both nodes (one is the listener and the other is the sender) hop using the same sequence; but the sender hops faster than the listener, transmitting a signal on each channel and listening between transmissions for an answer. When more than one listener is present, their replies may collide. To avoid the collision, listeners defer their replies until expiration of a random backoff timer. Eventually the sender device collects some basic information from the listeners, such as the device address and the clock offsets. This information is subsequently used to page the selected listener device.

The communication steps during the paging procedure are similar, except that the paging message is unicast to a selected listener, so the listener need not back off before replying. The sender also has a better estimate of the listener's clock, which enables it to communicate with the listener almost instantaneously. Upon receiving an ACK for the paging message, the sender becomes the master and the listener becomes the slave of the newly formed piconet, and both nodes switch to the piconet's channel-hopping sequence. Later, if necessary, the master and slave roles can be swapped.

The steps for admitting a new slave into an existing piconet are slightly more complex. The master can either start discovering new nodes in its neighborhood and invite them to join the piconet or, instead, wait in scan (listen) state and be discovered by other nodes. With both options, communication in the original piconet must be suspended for the duration of the inquiry and paging process. The latency of admitting a new node into the piconet can be large if the master does not switch to the inquiry or scan modes frequently. This latency can be reduced only at the cost of some piconet capacity. The study of this trade-off is another topic of ongoing research.

Bluetooth offers different low-power modes for improving battery life. Piconets are formed on demand when communication among devices is ready to take place. At all other times, devices can be either turned off or programmed to wake up periodically to send or receive inquiry messages. When a piconet is active, the slaves stay powered on to communicate with the master. It is possible to switch a slave into a low-power mode whereby it sleeps most of the time and wakes up only periodically.

Three types of low-power modes have been defined:

Hold mode is used when a device should be put to sleep for a specified length of time. As described earlier, the master can put all its slaves in the hold mode to suspend activity in the current piconet while it searches for new members and invites them to join.

Sniff mode is used to put a slave in a low-duty cycle mode, whereby it wakes up periodically to communicate with the master.

Park mode is similar to the sniff mode, but it is used to stay synchronized with the master without being an active member of the piconet. The park mode enables the master to admit more than seven slaves in its piconet.

As soon as a piconet is formed, communication between the master and the slave nodes can begin. The piconet channel is divided into 625-microsecond intervals, called slots, where a different hop frequency is used for each slot. The channel is shared between the master and the slave nodes using a frequency-hop/time-division-duplex (FH/TDD) scheme whereby master-slave and slavemaster communications take turns. Slave-to-slave communication is not supported at the piconet layer. If two slaves need to communicate peer to peer, they can either form a separate piconet or use a higher layer protocol, such as IP over PPP, to relay the messages via the master. At a 1-Mbps link speed, a 625 microsecond slot time is equivalent to the transmission time of 625 bits. However, a single slot packet size in Bluetooth is only 366 bits. This reserves enough guard time to let the frequency synthesizers hop to the next channel frequency and stabilize. Discounting space for the headers leaves 30 bytes for the user payload.

To transmit real-time voice, an application must reserve a slot in both directions at regular intervals. In Bluetooth terminology, this is called a synchronous (SCO) link. An SCO link can transport telephone-grade voice. The speech coder generates 10 bytes every 1.25 milliseconds. Since a baseband packet can carry up to 30 bytes in each slot, only one slot in each direction is needed every 3.75 ms (or every sixth slot). The packet type that carries 30 voice bytes is called an HV3 packet. This packet is transmitted without coding or protection, and is not retransmitted if it is lost.

To cope with bit errors when the channel conditions are not perfect, some forward error correction (FEC) should be added to the voice payload. An HV2 packet carries 20 bytes of voice plus 10 bytes of redundant data (? FEC code). Since 20 bytes of speech is generated in 2.5 ms, the SCO link should reserve one slot in each direction every 2.5 ms (or every fourth slot). To cope with extreme channel conditions, the baseband specification also defines an HV1 packet that carries only 10 bytes of speech and 20 bytes of FEC code. An HV 1 SCO link uses up the entire channel capacity. This means that all data transfer sessions will be suspended when an HV 1 SCO connection is in progress.

Data communication between a master-slave pair involves a different set of considerations. For example, the data payload must be protected by a cyclic redundancy check (CRC) so that the receiver can determine whether the received bits are in error. When losses occur, the baseband layer should retransmit the data. Furthermore, to make efficient use of the piconet channel, slots should be allocated on demand, instead of being reserved for the usage duration. A data path between a master-slave pair meeting all of these requirements is called an asynchronous data link (ACL). SCO links have priority over data, so ACLs can claim only unused slots. Only a single ACL can exist between a master and a slave.

The master is responsible for distributing available slots among all ACLs. This scheme has two advantages:

the master can ensure that the slave transmissions do not collide; and

the slots can be allocated to satisfy the quality of service (QoS) requirement of each ACL. The master can grant more bandwidth to a slave by polling it more frequently or by changing the packet size.

The baseband specification does not mandate the use of any specific slot-allocation scheme. Chip vendors can choose any policy that fits their target applications. As with SCO packets, the payload size of singleslot ACL packets is limited to 30 bytes. After discounting space for the higher layer headers and the CRC, only 27 bytes are left to transport application data. When FEC is added, the available space goes down to 17 bytes. To improve channel efficiency, the baseband specification has defined multislot packets, which are three or five slots long and transmitted in consecutive slots. The transmitter stays fixed on a hop frequency during the length of packet transmission and skips over the missed hops after the transmission is complete. This reduces the effective channel-hopping rate, but increases the channel efficiency because of fewer hops. Although link speed is 1 Mbps, achievable aggregate throughput can range from 217.6 Kbps to 780.8 Kbps. The presence of an HV3 or HV2 SCO link significantly reduces the achievable through-put of an ACL.

L2CAP can be viewed as the data plane of the Bluetooth link layer (see FIG. 18). Because the baseband packet size is too small for transporting higher layer packets, a thin layer is needed for exporting a bigger packet size to the higher layers. While a number of generic segmentation and reassembly protocols could be used or adapted for use over ACLs, the Bluetooth SIG instead defined L2CAP, which is highly optimized to work in conjunction with the baseband layer. For example, L2CAP does not support integrity checks because the baseband packets are already CRC protected. Likewise, it is assumed that the lower layer delivers packets both reliably and in sequence. These two assumptions significantly simplify the design of segmentation and reassembly logic. The only caveat is that L2CAP will not work if used over any media other than the Bluetooth baseband.

The multiplexing and demultiplexing of higher layer protocols is supported using channels, multiple instances of which can be created between any two L2CAP endpoints. Each higher layer protocol or data stream is carried in a different channel. The L2CAP channels are connection oriented in the sense that they require an explicit phase to establish the channel, during which both ends choose a local name (channel identifier) and communicate it to the other end. Subsequently, each packet sent over the channel is tagged with the channel identifier, which?within the context of the receiver?uniquely identifies the source as well as the protocol being transported over the channel. The L2CAP specification also defines a connectionless channel for supporting broadcast and multicast group communication, but this feature is not yet fully developed.

Both ends of a Bluetooth link must support compatible sets of protocols and applications to successfully exchange data. In some cases it may also be necessary to configure protocol and stack parameter settings before applications can be started. Such configuration settings cannot be chosen statically, since some parameters may require adjustment to match the features and services supported by the peer Bluetooth device.

Bluetooth's SDP provides a standard means for a Bluetooth device to query and discover services supported by a peer Bluetooth device. SDP is a client-server protocol. The server maintains a list junction with the baseband layer. For example, of service records, which describe the characteristics of services hosted at the server. By issuing SDP queries, a client can browse all available service records maintained at the server or retrieve specific attribute values from a service record.

In addition to defining query and response protocol formats, the SDP specification also defines a standard method for describing service attributes. Service attributes are represented using an pair. The 1.1 Bluetooth specification defines some of the commonly used services, but developers have the freedom to define new subclasses of the standard services or to create new services on their own.

Since new service definitions do not require any coordination with the Bluetooth SIG numbering authority, it is necessary to ensure that two independently created service definitions do not conflict. Collisions are avoided by associating each service definition with a universally unique identifier (QUID) which is generated once at the time a service is defined. UUIDs of the services defined by the Bluetooth SIG are included in the assigned numbers document.

If the client already knows the QUID of the service it is looking for, it can query the SDP server for specific service attributes. Alternatively, the client can browse the list of available services and select from the list. These are the only two search options supported in SDP. Although other IP-based service discovery protocols, such as SLP and Jini, provide richer service description schema and more powerful search capabilities, the Bluetooth SDP has two advantages:

The majority of version-1.1-compliant Bluetooth devices will be non-IP devices. Requiring them to support IP only for the sake of supporting SLP would be costly.

SDP is optimized to run over L2CAP. Its limited search capabilities and non-text-based attribute-id and attribute-value descriptions lend an efficient and small footprint implementation for small devices.

SDP provides a mechanism only for retrieving service information from other devices. Methods of invoking those services are outside the scope of SDP. Before a device can establish the L2CAP channel, the link manager must carry out a number of baseband-specific actions, such as piconet creation, master-slave role assignments, and link configuration. These functions belong to the control plane of the Bluetooth link layer and require the link manager to exchange LMP messages over the air link. Depending on the operating environment, the link manager must adjust a number of piconet and link-specific parameters. For example, the peer-link controller can be instructed to switch to a low-power mode, adjust its power level, increase the packet size, and change the requested QoS on an ACL.

Security can also be configured using LMP messages. Before a data or voice exchange can begin, Bluetooth devices should be able to authenticate each other. Likewise, transmission over the air link must be encrypted to provide protection from eavesdroppers. Both objectives are easy to achieve when a security association already exists between a pair of devices. The link manager can use the shared secret key to verify the peer device's authenticity as well as to negotiate a link key for encryption. A typical session between two Bluetooth devices begins with the formation of a piconet, followed by the exchange of LMP messages first to authenticate and then to negotiate new encryption keys with the peer device. Only upon successful completion of the LMP handshake can further data exchange or voice communication take place.

The level of security built into the version 1.1 specifications is satisfactory so long as the initial security associations are computed in a secure fashion. The baseband and LMP specifications also define a method, called pairing, for creating a new security association between two devices when they pair for the first time. The method uses an out-of-band channel for creating a security association, which is then used as a seed to compute a cryptographically secure shared secret key. By out-of-band channel a user typing a randomly chosen PIN number on both devices is meant. The security of a pairing phase is limited by a user's ability to choose good PIN numbers. In scenarios when one device in the pair does not have a keypad, security can be further compromised if the chosen PIN is transmitted to the other device in clear text.

The ultimate objective of the Bluetooth specifications is to allow multivendor applications to interoperate. Different applications may run on different devices, and each device may use a protocol stack from one vendor and a Bluetooth chip from another. Yet interoperability among applications is achieved when different implementations comply with the same core and profiles specifications. At the lowest layer, Bluetooth chips from different vendors interoperate over the air link because all Bluetooth chips implement the baseband and LMP specifications. Bluetooth stacks, which can be implemented as either firmware or software, include the L2CAP, SDP, and RFCOMM layers. It is relatively easy to port a Bluetooth stack from one platform to another because the lowest layer of a Bluetooth stack interfaces with a Bluetooth chip via a standard HCI interface which is also a part of the 1.1 specifications.

Porting a Bluetooth application from one stack to another, however, is more difficult. The application can use any standard API to access IP, PPP OBEX, or RFCOMM layers of the Bluetooth stack, but there is no standard API to access the control functions provided by the Bluetooth stack. For example, if an application were to initiate a Bluetooth inquiry to discover other devices in its neighborhood, it must use an API specific to the stack vendor to access those functions. Additional details regarding the above may be found in Ron Schneiderman, Bluettoth's Slow Dawn, IEEE Spectrum (November 2000), incorporated herein by reference and all references cited there incorporated herein by reference.

FIG. 19 is an illustration of a Bluetooth transmitter that upconverts the baseband information to the frequency-modulated carrier. Frequency hopping and bursting are performed at this level. Conversely, the Bluetooth receiver downconverts and demodulates the RF signal as illustrated in FIG. 19. The Bluetooth channels are each 1 MHz wide. Frequency hopping occurs over 79 channels.

Although originally thought of simply as a replacement for the unseemly nest of wires that connects PCs to keyboards and printers, Bluetooth quickly evolved into a system that will allow people to detect and communicate with each other through a variety of mainly portable devices without their users' intervention. Bluetooth-enabled devices will be able to ?talk? to each other as they come into range, which is about 10 meters, although this figure can be extended to more than 100 meters by increasing the transmit power from a nominal 1 mW to as much as 100 mW.

With Bluetooth technology, you can send e-mail from the computer on your lap to the cellular phone in your briefcase. Your Bluetooth-linked cell phone or similarly equipped PDA can automatically synchronize with your desktop PC whenever you pass it within Bluetooth range. Or, you can have hands-free communications between a Bluetooth-enabled headset and a cell phone, or you can download images from a digital camera to a PC or cell phone.

Critical mass is critical to Bluetooth's success. Bluetooth technology is expected to make its debut in cell phones and PDAs, but then will move quickly into notebook and laptop computers, printers, scanners, digital cameras, household appliances, security/remote access, games, toys, and more. Ericsson, which started it all with the development of the Bluetooth concept, has already announced several Bluetooth products, including a headset, a PC Card for laptops and PDAs, and two Bluetooth cell phones. A Bluetooth keyboard and mouse are on the drawing board.

Nokia and Fujifilm are working on a mobile imaging technology they believe would enable Nokia to add a Bluetooth chip to its clamshell-shaped 9110 Communicator so that it could receive images taken on a Bluetooth-equipped Fujifilm digital camera. After the addition of a few lines of text, the received photographs can be sent to another Nokia Communicator, or to the Fujifilm Web service, where it can be viewed, printed, or burned into a CD-ROM. Finnish telecom operator Sonera has even demonstrated a Bluetooth-enabled vending machine-consumers buy products out of the machine by simply signaling an account code from a Bluetooth cell phone or PDA. The code would debit the user's account based on the code. Eventually, cell phones and PDAs are expected to be able to display personal bar codes, which can be read by a vending machine scanner.

The Gartner Group calls it the Supranet?the wireless connection of data and transactions between the hard-wire Internet, wireless devices such as cell phones and PDAs, and the ?papernet,? meaning the physical world of business cards and legal documents. Emerging seamless connections will deliver a whole host of new technologies, according to Gartner, with one of the first integral technologies to be tied to the Supranet being Bluetooth. By 2004, according to Gartner, 70 percent of new cell phones and 40 percent of the new PDAs will use wireless technology for direct access to Web content and enterprise networks. Gartner believes that Bluetooth is set to become a defining force in portable electronic products.

In what the Bluetooth community calls ?unconscious? or ?hidden? computing, Bluetooth-enabled products will automatically seek each other out and configure themselves into networks?most often, with just two nodes. Though small, such networks can be quite useful. They can forward e-mail received on a cellular phone in a person's pocket to the notebook or laptop computer in his or her briefcase; they can download data from a digital camera to a PC or cell phone; or they can alert their owners as they pass a Bluetooth-enabled vending machine. Bluetooth can serve as a means for connecting laptop computers or other devices to the public Internet in airport lounges and conference centers through permanent access points. It can also enable its user to exchange business cards with everyone passed on the street through a Bluetooth-enabled Palm?but not unless it has been given permission to identify the user to anyone or anything, which, according to a Merrill Lynch report on Bluetooth, ?opens up whole new blind dating opportunities.?

More than 2000 organizations have joined the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) and most of them are currently developing Bluetooth-enabled products under a specification developed by the group. The IEEE 802.15 Personal Area Network (PAN) Working Group, formed early last year, has made Bluetooth the foundation for a range of consumer network products, most of them portable. The PAN Working Group is currently developing a 1-Mb/s standard based on the work of the Bluetooth SIG, and hopes to define a ?consumer-priced,? 20-Mb/s or faster wireless personal area network that can be widely deployed for shortrange information transfer.

The principal issue with Bluetooth is interoperability. Few of these products have met the Special Interest Group's requirements for interoperability or been tested under actual use conditions. One reason is that the qualification program was launched before conformance-test systems had been validated and were available. Not surprisingly, Bluetooth components are coming out later than expected and manufacturing capacity is limited. Another obstacle: Bluetooth products must be tested at a qualified test facility to ensure compliance with the Bluetooth specification. But no qualification test facilities are currently listed on the official Bluetooth Web site, as required by the Bluetooth consortium. True, some test equipment has been delivered with Bluetooth test features?Teradyne's MicroWAVE6000 instrumentation suite, for example. But no ?official? or validated test hardware was available to manufacturers as of early October. Since interoperability is the be-all and end-all of Bluetooth, there is no point in coming out with a product until the spec is finalized or until some other means is in place for verifying that the item has a very good chance of working with other Bluetooth products when they become available.

Few of those involved are more frustrated than the Special Interest Group's Promoter Group. It was formed late last year by 3Com, Lucent Technologies, Microsoft, and Motorola, and joined by SIG's original founders-Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia, and Toshiba. Its charter is to lead the Special Interest Group's development of Bluetooth technology and promote interoperability among members' products. Investments of resources have been huge?Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash., for example, reportedly has at least 60 people working on Bluetooth issues at least some of the time. To help speed Bluetooth products to market, the Interest Group has created what amounts to an interim qualification program with somewhat relaxed interoperability testing.

Tests of Bluetooth products and devices are now being done against designated protocol test products called Blue Units. These are based on development kits designed by the Cadence Symbionics Group, Cambridge, UK (part of Cadence Design Systems, San Jose, Calif.) and available through Symbionics and Sweden's Ericsson Microelectronics AB, AU System, and Sigma ComTec. The development kits comprise baseband and radio boards, interfaces (universal serial bus ports, phone jacks, and RS-232-C ports), host software, accessories, and documentation. They were created to enable first-time Bluetooth design engineers to accelerate the development of prototype products and devices.

But Blue Units do not carry the weight of full compliance with the Bluetooth spec; they are simply test beds to be used to establish confidence in key Bluetooth protocols. While they can test a number of key functions, their use is limited to partial testing of the baseband and link manager software. Blue Units cannot, for example, be used to test the logical link control and adaptation protocol, which adapts upper-layer protocols over the baseband; nor can it test the service discovery protocol, which Bluetooth units use to learn about the capabilities of other Bluetooth units.

The tests a product manufacturer has to pass to qualify a product for a Bluetooth trademark are divided into four areas:

Radio frequency qualification testing.

Protocol conformance testing.

Profile conformance testing.

Profile interoperability testing.

Protocols describe how Bluetooth-enabled devices perform such basic tasks as service discovery, telephony signaling, and link management. Profiles specify which basic protocols and procedures are required for specific categories of Bluetooth devices and applications, like cordless telephones, headsets and faxing. Profiles are the primary means for achieving interoperability among Bluetooth-enabled devices.

Currently available profiles cover cordless telephony, intercoms, serial ports, headsets, fax machines, local-area network access, file transfer, and dial-up networking. One group, chaired by Philips Semiconductor, Sunnyvale, Calif., expects to complete a written specification on three audio and three video applications by mid-2001. More than simply replacing cables for wireless speakers using Bluetooth technology, the group aspires to create applications that will make audio/video equipment interoperable with assorted consumer electronic products, as in moving data between a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone and a PC, or remotely changing channels and controlling the volume on television sets. Bluetooth accessories, such as PC Cards and USB dongles (security devices), are treated differently: they may be submitted for complete qualification testing only when they are installed in a host product.

Other working groups within the Special Interest Group are writing profiles for printing, imaging, location positioning, human interface devices, and personal area networks. Medical, automotive, and some other Bluetooth applications will require additional product certification. Naturally, qualification requirements are expected to evolve as test equipment and procedures become available. In the meantime, designers must pass a series of tests based on four test reference categories established by the Bluetooth consortium. The categories range from merely informative, through self-testing, to full testing by a certified test facility using a validated reference test system. Since no validated test systems are yet available, the Special Interest Group is for the time being waiving the most rigorous category for manufacturers who pass the less strict of the categories and who successfully test their products against a Blue Unit.

Even that may not do the trick, though. The Category A [most rigorous] test gives a certain level of confidence that you will be interoperable with other Bluetooth devices,? said Cedric Paillard, product marketing manager of Conexant Systems Inc. ?It doesn't guarantee that you will be interoperable in the real world.? Conexant acquired Ontario-based Philsar Semiconductor earlier this year to help speed its entry into the Bluetooth chip market. At some point, when the necessary tools are in place, Bluetooth products will show that they are interoperable with what is called a ?Golden Unit??a SIG-designated unit that has passed all the required qualification and conformance tests.

Because Bluetooth is still in its early development stages, test methodologies differ from those typical of more highly developed technologies. A Bluetooth application note suggests that Bluetooth test procedures may require manual intervention or custom software control, as opposed to mature technologies in which easy-to-use, one-button measurements are available. Part of the problem is that it has taken a long time for test houses to develop equipment with Bluetooth features, so that many Bluetooth designers have been forced to create their own test sequences and methods based on Bluetooth specifications.

A Bluetooth Design-Guide is essentially an application layer that may be added to Agilent's Advanced Design System. It contains system test benches and reference designs, such as an optimal low-intermediate frequency (IF) receiver, for part of the RF portion of the Bluetooth physical layer. The Tektronix CMU200 universal radio communications tester is a multi-standard test set for mobile phones with Bluetooth test features. Teradyne has shipped its MicroWAVE6000 instrumentation suite for testing Bluetooth radios and ICs to Ericsson, Oki, and Cambridge Silicon Radio, and has said it has several other customers lined up.

Qualification grants companies the worldwide right to incorporate Bluetooth wireless technology in their products, and to use the Bluetooth trademark; but even the trademark does not guarantee that a product complies fully with Bluetooth specifications. Passing the qualification program demonstrates a certain measure of compliance and interoperability, but as the Bluetooth SIG notes in its own literature?because products are not tested for every aspect of the Bluetooth specification, qualification does not guarantee compliance. In the final analysis, each manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that its products will intemperate with products from other Bluetooth manufacturers.

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, an access Control and Session Management in the HTTP Environment is provided where a role-based access-control model is stored as LDAP objects in a security architecture. As the only ubiquitous public data network, the Internet offers business partners a communications channel that previously existed only in unique situations with private, special-purpose networks. Well-publicized security risks, however, have limited the deployment of business-to-business extranets, which typically use the Internet's public data network infrastructure. These risks extend behind firewalls to intranets, where any user gaining entry to a facility is often implicitly authenticated to access unprotected services by simply plugging a portable computer into an unused network port.

Role-based access controls (RBACs) and Web session management to protect against network security breaches in the HTTP environment is provided. The RBAC and session management services augment network-level security, such as firewalls, inherent in the deployment of any Web-based system with untrusted interfaces. The RBACs are implemented through the Internet Engineering Task Force's Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (for IETF documents relevant to LDAP and other Internet protocols. Session management is implemented through cryptographically secured, cookie-based ticket mechanisms.

Role-based access controls are not part of the typical Web server software set. The HTTP RFCs specify a ?401:WWW-Authenticate? server response?essentially a logon challenge?for authentication and access control. The notion of a security realm applies: a typical security realm comprises a tree or subtree of URLs for a given server. Because each realm must map to unique URL prefixes, security realms are mutually exclusive. When a Web client requests a URL from a server, the server checks the URL against its list of realms for a prefix match. For each realm, there is a corresponding access control list (ACL) that specifies?either explicitly or through a set of rules?which users are allowed access to URLs in the realm, and which users are denied.

Secure realms are useful for gross access control to a Web site. But each realm requires authentication for access, so the user task of supplying a name and password quickly becomes burdensome. The need to differentiate user roles magnifies the problem: few businesses want to maintain distinct and largely redundant Web sites and content for each user role in their authorization base. An additional, more subtle problem arises with the need to dynamically generate content and control the visible link set (that is, those URLs that we know in advance a user is authorized to access, as in a search result). Given the issues of user complexity and Web site maintainability, secure realms are not feasible in the implementation of an RBAC security model. the approach described in this article shows how to address these issues by using network authentication services?such as LDAP, Sun Microsystems NIS, and Microsoft's NT domains?together with an RBAC model stored as LDAP objects and secured session ticket.

The problems of entity authentication, resource-access authorization, and session management are not unique to the HTTP environment. In custom client-server systems. sessions are explicitly maintained by persistent network connections and state information shared between client and server applications. the request-response-disconnect nature of HTTP precludes any shared, connection-oriented state between client and Web server, inso-far as that state is based on the protocol itself.

RFC 2109 describes a state management mechanism more generally known as a session ticket. RFCs 2068 and 2616 specify HTTP's basic authentication mechanism, which is simply a user-ID and password encoded in Base64 and included as part of the HTTP request headers. From a security viewpoint, Base64 is essentially cleartext. Unless transport layer security (TLS, RFC 2246) or secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption is used, this is not a secure method for authentication.

RFC 2595 recently proposed starting a TLS session to protect what would otherwise be cleartext password authentication for three Internet standard protocols. Following this proposal, a server would augment its advertised capability set to include a ?start TLS? capability. A client would issue this start command, re-determine the server's capabilities, and then perform the authentication steps of the protocol with the transport layer encryption protecting the exchange. The message digest authentication proposed in RFC 2617 is a type of challenge-response authentication protocol that does not transmit any cleartext passwords.

Role-based access control provides a rich model for managing information and its accessors. Many other security models can be represented as subsets or simplifications of an RBAC model. A role-based access without hierarchical control is implemented where session termination is system-enforced instead of user-elected, and all users have a single role (both of these are constraints under RBAC2). Furthermore, the notion of sessions is limited in the HTTP environment because of the single request-response nature of the protocol.

RBAC0 includes:

U, a set of users

R, a set of roles

P, a set of permissions

PA, a many-to-many permission-to-role assignment relation

UA, a many-to-many user-to-role assignment relation

S, a function mapping a session to a set of roles, possibly dynamically

This was the approach used to implement LDAP-based RBAC. The permissions are treated like uninterpreted symbols in the model definition. The symbol interpretation service is implemented either as an application-level service-access meditation function?which was the case with the insurance company implementation?or as an HTTP server-request intercepts filtering function?which was the case in subsequent implementations. (It may also be possible to implement RBAC, (role hierarchies) using the object class hierarchy that is part of the X.500 schema employed by LDAP directory servers.)

FIG. 20 illustrates one embodiment of the logical architecture for the security services. Other approaches are also possible. Authentication verifies a claimant's identity. The architecture in FIG. 20 shows authentication services as a configurable service element. In the fielded implementation, an LDAP bind operation with a simple password provided the back-end authentication service with parameters obtained from the user in an HTTP form submitted over TLS. FIG. 20 shows several other common authentication services that may already exist in an enterprise and could also be used. For a generic HTTP client, the authentication possibilities are limited to what can be accomplished with HTTP Basic Authentication or form submission. Form submission by the HTTP client causes the HTTP server to act as a proxy for the client in executing one of the authentication protocols. This implies that the client trusts the HTTP server in this proxy authentication role.

Session management services are shown in FIG. 20, and detailed below.

Time service. The session management services related to session duration and time-out require agreement on the time. Some authentication protocols also use time-varying sources, such as challenge-response types. The required precision of time measurement is usually on the order of a few minutes for session idle time-out. The network time protocol (RFC 1305) and simple network time protocol (RFC 2030) provide close synchronization of system clocks.

User profile service. This service provides user attributes, particularly security roles and distinguished names. Other information that may be useful in the applications or content-tailoring environment may he provided, such as given name, common name, application preferences, and so on.

Ticket issuance service. This service h rants a session ticket to an authenticated user. The session ticket stores information about the Web site user in a tamper- and spoof-proof format and utilizes session tune-out in the normally stateless HTTP environment (for session ticket specifications, see Bellovin2).

The session ticket based on HTTP cookies is the only standards-based. scalable method for maintaining state in the HTTP environment. The ticket can be represented either as a single cookie within which a number of values have been catenated or as a collection of distinct cookies. In our fielded implementation, a set of related session tickets was used. For implementation purposes, this collection is referred to as the session ticket (in other words, it is a set of related cookies).

The session ticket comprises a payload, consisting of several distinct variables and their values:

User_IP: the client IP address to which the session ticket was issued. This is used in session ticket validation to detect source spoofing. Note that firewalls should not be configured to hide or rental) the requestor address for this to he of use.

User_ID: the username or distinguished name (DN) that was correctly authenticated to the site.

Login_Expires: the session time-out and automatic logout function that Web browsers do not inherently support.

Login_Expires_Absolute: the stated absolute expiration time of a session, even if it has not expired due to idleness time-out.

Other attributes as required for the particular implementation.

Ticket_MAC: a digital signature or message authentication code (MAC) computed against the catenation of the session ticket values.

The server issues the session ticket after a successful authentication protocol execution, which in most cases transpires over an encrypted SSL connection between the Web client and the Web server. Once the ticket arrives at the Web browser, it must he secured from tampering, as shown in FIG. 21. A digital signature or Message Authentication Code (MAC) across the session ticket makes tampering detectable. If, for example, a user attempts to maliciously modify his role, the message represented by the session ticket will not be authentic.

The insurance company implementation used a hash-based MAC referred to as HMAC-SHA-1-160, as all 160 hits of the SHA-1 output are retained. Alternative implementations of the secured session ticket are possible using symmetric cookie encryption or public key methods for digital signature. This session ticket expiration time is determined by the earlier of the Login_Expires or Login_Expires_Absolute values in the secure session ticket. These values are determined at the time the session ticket is generated by adding the system configuration parameters of Session_Duration and Session_Duration_Absolute to the current time, obtained from the time service.

A valid session ticket is refreshed as it is used: this involves the update of the Login_Expires and Ticket_MAC values. The values are validated by a server and returned to the user in response to an HTTP request, which prevents ticket expiration while a user is active. Users would otherwise need to re-authenticate unnecessarily. FIG. 22 illustrates the logic for implementing the ticket-issuance service and its interaction whit the authentication and user profile services.

Ticket validation service. After a ticket is issued, the HTTP server must validate it as presented in the request headers. Three checks are performed to validate a session ticket transmitted from a browser user to a server:

The IP host address from which the session ticket was transmitted must match the User_IP value.

The Ticket_MAC value (as a cookie header) in the request from the browser user must match the result of the same server-side calculation performed on the presented session ticket using the MAC key (excluding the Ticket_MAC value).

The time provided by the time service must he earlier than the times specified in the ticket's Login_Expires and Login_Expires_Absolute values.

If a session ticket is not valid, the user is asked to reauthenticate and thereby establish a valid session. When a user successfully authenticates, the session ticket transitions state to ?Valid and Not Expired.? From this state, a number of possible transitions can be made:

A ticket refresh may retain the ?Valid and Not Expired? state. This is most common event.

If the ticket is deleted (for example, the representative cookie tile is deleted, or the browser application execution terminated and restarted), it arrives in a ?No Ticket? state.

If the ticket is tampered with or the machine IP address does not match the User_IP value, it arrives in an ?Invalid Ticket_MAC? state.

If the ticket is presented after it has expired, it arrives in an ?Expired? state.

A tampered and expired ticket arrives in the ?Invalid and Expired? state.

From any invalid state, a transition back to the same state based on a failed reauthentication is possible. If reauthentication is successful, the state transitions back to ?Valid and Not Expired.?

The User_IP may have been established by a dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) service (RFC 2131); this occurs if sessions time out or expire in a much shorter time than a DHCP address lease does. Session time-outs are usually in the range of 5 to 20 minutes, while DHCP leases tend to have durations of 24 to 72 hours (a few environments with very short leases provide exceptions to this). If a DHCP lease is lost and renewed with a different IP address while a session is active, then the user will need to re-authenticate. (In other words, the user will have been logged off by the address change; this would be true for any socket-based services in use as well).

The use of proxy servers raises another issue related to User_IP. In the case of many users and a single shared proxy, all users appear to have the same IP address?that of the proxy. This limits the effectiveness of User_IP in binding a session ticket to a particular host. In the case of many users and an array of proxy servers with different IP addresses, the User_IP generally will not match the actual IP address of the rotating proxies. In a case where you can control the proxy systems, one solution is to activate proxy generation of the Client IP HTTP request header and use this value instead of the host IP address.

The keyed message authentication code stored as the Ticket_MAC value requires the provision of some key management services. Key management services required for this approach are:

secure distribution of the MAC key to all servers requiring it, and

MAC key renewal or regeneration.

MAC key updates cause all currently valid session tickets to become invalid. This forces users to reauthenticate, which can be irksome if key updates are frequent. In practice, a nightly key update schedule is often adequate for typical business-oriented?as opposed to military or diplomatic-security policies. In a network of servers requiring MAC key knowledge and renewal, more elaborate key distribution methods are needed to protect the key during transmission.

The Authorization Service mediates user access to resources; its primary clients are HTTP servers and other network-based, LDAP-aware applications. When a user requests resources, the HTTP server asks the authorization service if the user is authorized for them. The response is either true or false, and the HITP server or application processes the request accordingly. In this way, the HTTP server acts like an application access firewall, where filtering rules are based on an RBAC model accessed over LDAP.

LDAP is defined in several IETF documents. RFC 1487 (July 1993) was the earliest definition of a lightweight access protocol for X.500 directories. RFC 1777, released in March 1995, is known as LDAPv2 and remains the current draft standard. RFCs 2251 through 2256 are proposed standards and collectively constitute what is known as LDAPv3.

The LDAP RFCs describe a network protocol for communication between directory user agents (DUAs) and directory server agents (DSAs), supported by an underlying set of data structures referred to as a directory. The directory data structures are in accordance with the CCITT X.500 standards5 and provide a simple, object-oriented organization. The objects are not complex and do not have any executable code attached to them; they often look like simple database rows with the exception that attributes or columns may be designated as required or allowed. Objects may be designated distinct classes, the attributes of which may be inherited by any object therein.

Using a compliant LDAP DSA and domains example. (a Netscape Directory Server in the implementation described here), the RBAC0 model defined previously can be implemented by making two schema extensions. First, the default user object is subclassed to a new object class with at least one additional required attribute: securityRole. At this point, if the client has outer attribution requirements, those attributes are also definers for the new default user object.

Second, the object class securityRoleObject is defined. There is one instance of securityRoleObject for each defined role in the system. This collection of objects defines the relation PA, as described for RBAC0 (a many-to-many permission-to-role assignment relation). In practice, PA may be represented as a Boolean matrix of dimensions corresponding to the number of roles (rows) and permissions (columns) in the system. Each securityRoleObject then corresponds to a row of the permission matrix.

Next, users are created in the LDAP directory using the new object class. This object class inherits all the usual attributes?e-mail address, fax number, street address, first name, last name, and so on?plus any additional new attributes the client requires. A typical distinguished name (DN) for a user would have the form uid=userid, o=organization, c=countryName.

After all of the information access functions are identified, user roles are defined. An instance of the object class securityRoleObject with an identifier that included the role name and true or false values for each attribute that matched an information-access function was created in the insurance company implementation.

Because HTTP cookies contain a return domain that may include a wild-card type of specification, it is possible to use this session ticket scheme for a single Web sign-oft (SWSO) capability. SWSO allows a user to authenticate once to the ticket-issuing service and obtain a session ticket that establishes the user's session and authentication throughout an entire DNS subdomain of hosts. An HTTP cookie contains a name, a value, a path, a domain, an expiration, and a secure-only attribute. By designating the domain to be, for example, *.computer.org, the cookie will be returned to any server in the subdomain of computer.org, such as www.computer.org, dlib.computer.org, ftp.computer.org, and so on. A single cession ticker thereby provides the user's authentication and session management across a number of hosts related by domain name.

The example outlined below describes how a user sees the interaction with Web-based systems employing this approach to security. The initial login form includes possibilities for authentication service selection and domains for SWSO; in practice, this login form would be simpler.

The following steps describe this hypothetical session, illustrating the user's view of the system's security aspects:

The user launches a Web browser and enters a URL, such as http://dlib.computer.org.

Any cookies representing session tickets from previous sessions have expired, so no cookies are presented in the request headers. (Expired cookies may be present in the request, but the user does not see this.)

The Web server examines the request headers looking; for a name-value pair. which serves as the session ticket. If the session ticket is invalid or expired. or if none is found. the user is redirected to an authentication HTML form, delivered over a secured SSL HTTP connection from the ticket-issuing server. This form may he delivered by the same Web server or by a different Web server dedicated to this purpose.

The user fills in the authentication form, entering a user-ID and password, domain selections, and authentication method selection. and submits the form to the ticket-issuing server.

The ticketing server operates as a proxy for execution of file selected authentication protocol with an authentication server.

The ticketing server prepares a ticket for the user's session. The user ID, DN, session expiration time, absolute expiration, and possibly a client IP address form the ticket payload. A keyed MAC value is computed against the payload and appended to it; the payload and its MAC are then delivered in the HTTP response headers as cookies. The return domain of tile cookies corresponds to the domain selections made earlier on the form (*.computer.org in this case). The user is now authenticated and has an active Welt session with all Weft servers in the *.computer.org domain.

The user is presented with the initial navigation screen of the Computer Society's Digital Library.

Subsequent requests against any server in the *.dlib.computer.org domain will have tile session ticket cookie values in the HTTP request headers. All Web servers will extract that header and validate it using the shared MAC key. The user does not need to re-authenticate until the session expires.

The session expires after some time, say 30 minutes. A valid MAC but expired ticket results in a re-authentication as described above. Now re-authenticated, the user continues using the Digital Library.

Finally, the user is done with the session, and instead of telling it time out, she logs out explicitly. The logout establishes a session ticket with the expiration time so that any re-use of the computer's currently running browser will require re-authentication.

A comprehensive approach to security must consider numerous potential attacks on network services. Relevant issues include security policy, information labeling, user administration, physical security, operation system confirmation and hardening, network topologies for service locations, firewall configuration and filtering rules, intrusion detection. penetration testing, and more. The following analysis of threats is restricted to those specific to the security services identified in tile service architecture presented here.

Both SHA and MD5 produce a fixed number of hits from an arbitrary size input: SHA produces 160 bits and MD5 produces 128 hits. The MAC can be defeated only by a forgery. To succeed, an attacker must find a useful hash collision?a computationally daunting task. To guard against this attack, the MAC key is regenerated daily, thus limiting the time available for calculating a useful hash collision to 24 hours. This interval may be reduced as computer power available to attackers increases.

The primary defenses against session ticket theft attacks arc the Login_Expires and User_IP elements. An attacker has only until the Login_Expires time to steal the session ticket and move it to another machine: in practice, this window of opportunity is usually between 5 and 20 minutes. (If the attacker were in possession of the victim's password, this session ticket theft attack would he unnecessary.)

The attacker's machine must also engage in an IP address spoof so that it appears to have the same network IP address as the victim's machine. Since both machines are active at the same time, this routing issue poses an additional problem for the attacker. A successful session ticket theft requires that an attacker read a user's disk-based cookie tile, change the victim's IP address or take the victim's machine off the network, assume the victim's IP address oil a subnet such that the IP routing of the stolen address will operate correctly, and finally, access the Web-based resources while impersonating the victim. This is a relatively complicated attack, which would generally require physical proximity to the victim's network and execution within a short time span.

This attack is very unlikely to succeed when the cookies are memory-resident, that is, if they are never written to the cookie file by the browser software. This memory-only cookie treatment by browsers is not guaranteed, however. If SSL is used only access to the ticket-issuance service and the session tickets are subsequently transmitted in cleartext over the network, the tickets are vulnerable to recovery by an eavesdropper. When the HTTP traffic is SSL-encrypted, successful eavesdropping to steal a session ticket is unlikely.

If an attacker tries a different approach, such as extending the Login_Expires attribute or changing the User_IP of the session ticket, this will be detected in a Ticket_MAC computation mismatch. (The attacker does not have access to the MAC key secret used in the signature-generation algorithm, as it is protected by a firewall and operating system security measures.) A Ticket_MAC mismatch causes the server to immediately request re-authentication with the correct user ID and password, and generates an auditable event. Similarly, if an authenticated user seeks to modify some signed attribute, this will also be detected by a Ticket_MAC mismatch.

The function that generates the session ticket is another point of attack. Direct execution of this function would allow all attacker to revive an expired session on a machine that an authenticated user has left unattended. This function is protected by operating system methods, application server methods, and Web server access controls. No unauthenticated or direct execution or viewing of the session ticket generator is permitted.

LDAP-based authentication and authorization services are also vulnerable to attack. This could involve repeated attempts to guess a user-ID and password for an LDAP bind with simple password operation. Discovery of a user's password would allow an attacker to impersonate an authorized user. An attacker might also discover a system administration account, and thereby be able to change security role definitions. Further, a user may seek to modify his security role attribute to gain greater access to resources.

Additional details regarding the above may be found in Kurt Gutzmann, Access Control and Session Management in the HTTP Environment, IEEE Internet Computer (January?February 2001), incorporated herein by reference and all references cited there incorporated herein by reference.

FIG. 23 is a flowchart of a first embodiment of the invention that incorporates one or more of the architectures or communications methods described above. In FIG. 23, the process begins as all tickets are checked in, for example, as the patrons enter the reserved seating area, such as a stadium or theater, through, for example, bar code readers, scanners, infrared readers, and/or manually or other method where the patron is checked in, either at the gate, seat or other location. For example, patrons can optionally check in a predetermined time before the event through a wireless device, Internet connection, manual or voice recognition telephone, or other manner. The important point is to provide a standard manner for allowing patrons to check in, and if the patron fails to check in using a predetermined procedure, to allow that seat to be provided to another willing patron in accordance with a process to be described below. The patron may check in either a predetermined time before or after the event begins. Currently, such a process is impossible and unthinkable in view of the difficulty reserved seating events have in simply getting the patrons seated prior to the beginning of the event. The present invention represents a revolutionary process to enhance event enjoyment, earn patron loyalty and optionally provide additional revenues to the theater/stadium or optionally other patrons with the desirable ticket.

The check in procedure continues for a predetermined period of time until a predetermined time period has expired, for example, 5 minutes before the event begins, 10 minutes after the event begins, after a predetermined event, such as the second act of a play, and the like. Once the predetermined time period or event has been completed, the check in procedure may be considered completed to begin the seat re-allocation process. To begin the seat re-allocation process, a re-allocation algorithm is used to re-assign seats for patrons that are willing or interested in different or better seats. Such re-allocation processes or algorithms may include a random process, a process where priority patrons are given priority for re-assignment of seat, a process where patrons are willing to pay additional for the re-assignment to either the theater or the individual patron whose seat is being provided to another patron, frequent event patrons, season ticket patrons, or other predetermined process.

If the patron that is identified by the re-allocation process is determined to be present in the theater, for example, via mobile telephone, wireless device, and/or manual verification, an optional sub-process determines whether the patron's optional profile is also satisfied with the available seating. If the optional subscriber profile is not satisfied, then the re-allocation process searches for another possible patron. If the optional profile sub-process is satisfied, then the eligible patron is notified via one or more means, such as announcement, manually, wireless device, mobile telephone, bulletin board, and/or other means. The patron is then notified and presented with the option of moving for free, use of award points, additional money to the theater and/or patron to whose seat is being provided, or other predetermined criteria to obtain the seat. Optionally, a bidding process may be initiated that allows various patrons to bid against one another. Any standard bidding process may optionally be used. The patron, of course has the option to decline, and if so, the process continues and returns to the re-allocation process to attempt to locate another possible patron.

If the patron accepts, payment of money or other means may be effectuated on the spot via the wireless device, credit card, debit card, points, and the like, and the patron may now move to the other seat. The patron's seat may then optionally be made available as an empty seat to the re-allocation process. If a predetermined period of time has not expired, then the re-allocation process may be run again to optionally continuously re-allocate seats. The patron may optionally store the up-graded ticket on a wireless device for proof of entrance to the better seating area. Optionally, the seat and/or row and/or section, includes a separate reader device to receive optionally the original ticket that is now re-allocated to a better seat, or a new ticket that may optionally be received by the patron via the wireless device and/or manually via a worker in the theater or stadium. The worker in the stadium may input the confirmation number received from the patron to determine the appropriate upgrade. In this embodiment, only confirmation numbers that are provided to the workers are input into the system, thereby reducing the amount of transactions in the system, as opposed to pushing, for example, an upgrade list to all workers in the stadium in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.

In accordance with the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets very near to game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron must be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept.

In one alternative embodiment, if the patron that has their ticket re-allocated in error, e.g., because the patron did not show up to the event based on the predetermined criteria but the patron was still planning on attending because they forgot about their seat being re-allocated, the system can re-allocate seats immediately upon the checking in of the patron and notify them that their seats have changed because they are late. In this situation, the stadium/venue might decide to further upgrade the patrons because of the mistake.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the process of the present invention specifically reserves seats of the highest or very high rating that are considered preferred, in the event a patron's seat is re-allocated prematurely or erroneously. In this situation, the patron who has had their seat re-allocated because they will likely receive an even better seat as a result of the mistaken (stadium or patron) or premature seat re-allocation.

In another embodiment of the present invention, as patrons are entering the venue or stadium, they are provided advantageously with a map of the stadium so patrons can analyze the potential upgrade to make a decision whether the upgraded seats are sufficiently good or of value to warrant the patron moving and/or paying for the additional upgrade. By handing the patron the map of the stadium, the process of the the present invention is not required to transmit a detailed schematic to the patron's wireless device which would not normally be able to effectively permit the patron to evaluate the proposed upgrade seats. The map that is handed out may optionally include information for patrons on where to register for the upgrade and/or additional advertisement opportunities.

In one alternative embodiment, the patron that has purchased the ticket, for example, a season ticket holder, may advise the stadium that for a particular game, set of games or all games, they do not want their seats to be re-allocated, and perhaps, an additional fee is assessed for this type of patron. If the stadium provides the ability for the patron to selectively opt out of the seat re-allocation, the patron can, for example, connect to the system via the Internet, public switched telephone network, cellular network, and the like, and notify the system that they do not want their ticket re-allocated, for example, because they are coming late to the event. Other means of notifying the system and/or other reasons may be utilized in connection with the present invention.

In another alternative embodiment, the system provides patrons the ability to individually select when their tickets may be re-allocated. For example, one patron may prefer to only give up their ticket if they are late to the game by 15 minutes, while another patron may be willing to give up their ticket if they have not arrived 15 minutes before the game. In alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide incentives for the patron to have their ticket re-allocated prior to the game because it increases the stadiums chances of re-allocating/re-selling the ticket.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provide additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In an alternative embodiment, the system determines priority of re-allocation of seats based first upon patrons that have seats that may also be re-allocated. That is, the systems attempts to maximize the number of re-allocations by prioritizing the re-allocation based upon seats that may be re-allocated after already being re-allocated. For example, if front row seats in a stadium are available to be re-allocated, in this alternative embodiment, patrons that are in the next closest section for example on the field level would be upgraded first to those seats. Then, patrons with less preferred seats, for example, in the upper deck would be re-allocated to the seats that have now become available from the patrons that have been upgraded to the front row. Thus, using this alternative priority scheme, the present invention maximizes the re-allocation numbers. Of course, this priority algorithm may be combined with additional factors, for example, relating to subscriber/patron value. As described above, additional factors may be utilized in the algorithm to determine the subscriber or set of subscribers to offer the upgrade.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally rate the upgraded patron, for example, for appropriate behavior, wearing of excessively large hats, drunkenness behavior, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the re-allocation algorithm for future upgrades to the patron.

In alternative embodiments, the patrons eligible for the upgrade may be notified using standard email communications over a wireless device, mobile telephone, and/or other standard communication means. For example, standard text-to-voice and/or voice-to-text communications may be used to contact the patron to evaluate whether an upgrade will be accepted and to actually accept the upgrade.

In another embodiment of the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that have already purchased tickets in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats and/or may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets at any time prior to and/or after beginning of game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron may be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention or even at any location when being offered upgrades and/or seats well in advance of the game. For example, the present invention can upgrade or sell tickets to patrons well in advance of the game since it advantageously is permitted or has the authority to resell tickets either via ticket holders that do not show up during the game and/or, for example, season ticket holders that have authorized the stadium in advance to resell their tickets based on predetermined criteria, for example, when the season ticket holder notifies the stadium that they will not be present at next weeks game.

In one optional embodiment of the invention, the patron presents the usher with the confirmation number which the usher can enter into a wireless device using a local or private wireless network, or can simply use a walkie talkie or telephone to call the dispatcher to confirm the upgrade and/or new seats using the customer provided confirmation number. The dispatcher will have access to the system to enter the confirmation number to confirm the validity of the upgrade. Alternatively, a patron will retain their old ticket. The patron will give in the old ticket to the usher which is scanned or barcoded by the usher for immediate identification of new seats and used in place of, or in addition to, confirmation number.

Of course, the confirmation may optionally be made via customer name with an appropriate identification card or other information. Further, alternative methods may be used to verify that the confirmation number and/or ticket being used by the patron is valid. For example, the patron may be equipped with a printing device associated with the wireless device or download an actual ticket on line from home prior to the game for the new ticket or upgrade. Alternatively, the patron may be equipped with an identifier card, optionally including a bar code with a unique identifier relating to the patron's account information and profile that can be scanned for additional convenience. Alternatively, a wireless device may be used to securely store this type of identification and/or account information.

In at least one alternative embodiment of the invention, the patron may comprise optionally a corporate account that has a number of tickets, for example, season tickets. In this embodiment, the corporate account may have associated therewith a plurality of email addresses or other communication addresses to transmit the seat or upgrade offer to a number of potential patrons that may rotate their attendance at the games. In accordance with this optional embodiment, multiple emails can be stored for a single user/corporate account, and the system may transmit individual messages to all email addresses, or may only transmit messages to individual patrons for corporate account that individually advise the system that they are associated with a particular ticket/bar code for a particular game and will be/are present at a particular game.

In an alternative embodiment, patrons may enter the stadium and subsequently inform the system that they are present and interested in an upgrade via a kiosk where the patron can scan a bar code and enter their customer number to be eligible for upgrades during the game. The system is then able to transmit a message to the customer, assuming that the customer has pre-registered with the system with the appropriate contact information. Alternatively, or in addition to individual use of a kiosk(s), the customer sales office may have a kiosk or additional functionality to enter the customer name and/or customer account and scan in the bar coded ticket on the spot to register each patron as they enter the stadium or venue.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron upon entry in the stadium to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept when an offer is received by the patron at a predetermined time. The graphical map may comprise a small booklet with a map of the stadium showing seat locations, and optionally a game schedule.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provides additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally be eligible for a dating or matching service where patrons register and provide profile information to the system and/or through a third service provider dating service. Once the system knows that the patrons will be coming to the game and/or have actually checked in to the stadium, the system can then arrange for the two, four, etc. patrons to meet each other by allocating and/or re-allocating seats to the patrons together. Thus, based on profile information, customer request and availability, the system is able to upgrade or sell tickets to patrons to maximize their chances of meeting someone at the game. This optional feature provides significant potential enjoyment for the patrons participating in this dating or connection program. In accordance with this embodiment, one possible sequence of acceptance steps involves profile matching the two patrons (or groups of patrons) based on predetermined profile information; transmitting a first message to the first patron regarding availability of the second patron and requesting a conditional acceptance form the first patron; transmitting a second message to the second patron indicating that the first patron has conditionally accepted and request the second patron to accept; and when the second patron accepts before the first patron has rescinded the conditional acceptance, finalizing the upgrade and/or seat allocation for the first and second patrons. This embodiment of the invention is a complete reverse from typical dating and/or matchmaking services which attempt to develop detailed algorithms for the matching process because of the significant decision that exists in determining who to spend valuable time with. In accordance with the invention, patrons are already present at the game, and therefore, half or more than half the effort is already done. The remainder is to actually meet the other person which can be accomplished with profile criteria, whether or not the algorithms are very sophisticated.

In one embodiment, the patrons that are being matched have their original seats maintained and not made available for other upgrades in the event the matching does not work out early on. In this embodiment, one or both the patrons can return to their original seat. Hopefully, there will not be a significant argument of who would need to return to their original seat if an upgrade is actually performed. In addition, in accordance with this embodiment, the seats that are selected do not necessarily have to be better seats in the classical sense. That is, seats further away from other ticket holders might be considered preferred when matching two individuals for the first time. Alternatively, couple that would prefer a little more privacy or quieter game might request to be moved to a more isolated area. Alternatively, families with small children might prefer to be moved to a less busy area as well during the game where the children might be able to freely move around. All these scenarios and/or alternatives are possible in view of the present invention. The advantage of performing a match in a public setting is that the patrons do not have to worry about leaving or ending the date, and also do not have to worry that the other person will have their home address.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like.

In addition, this feature also optionally permits the patrons that have participated in the program to rate one another for future dates. For example, one patron can rate the conversational benefits of the second patron, the appearance of the second patron, the overall short term versus long terms relationship goals of the patron, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the algorithm for future seat assignments, re-allocations and/or upgrades in the future for the first and second patrons, and all other patrons will now benefit with the additional profile information of the first and second patrons. The matching service may be for amusement or work related networking purposes, for example, to meet an executive that the patron currently works with or wishes to work with/sell in the future.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like. In addition, the system advantageously and optionally provides the feature of allowing patrons to text message one another directly, and/or exchange pictures via wireless email, text messaging, and other wireless devices that provide the standard capability of exchanging pictures, such a T Mobile and/or Sprint.

In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder can call in via a voice to text message, text message and/or email and let the stadium know early that they are not coming. In this manner the ticket holder obtains the convenience of the stadium or venue reselling their tickets in advance, thereby providing the venue with additional time to maximize the resale of the ticket.

In alternative embodiments, when the patron enters the stadium, they have their ticket barcoded or other device that detects their presence can bu used such as infrared, Bluetooth, etc., and then they can become eligible for an upgrade. The patron can register in advance that they want to receive upgrades by providing their name, message address, e.g., email, telephone text message address, etc., and optionally their credit card or other payment mechanism for upgrades that actually cost money as opposed to free upgrades. In alternative embodiments, the patron can register at the ticket booth when purchasing their original ticket. In this scenario, the stadium representative can enter this information on behalf of, and with the permission of, the patron since the patron may already be providing their credit card, debit card, etc. to purchase the original tickets. Alternatively or in addition, a kiosk may be provided where the patron can enter their original ticket, e.g., scan in their original ticket and provide their name and text message information in the stadium to register for a one time upgrade for the game after purchasing, for example, a regular admission ticket.

In alternative embodiments, an usher can verify that the patron should be upgraded by the patron providing the confirmation number that may be transmitted in real-time by the system, and/or by the patron using their original confirmation number or original ticket with barcode or other identification means, such as a smart card, infrared reader, etc. that represents original ticket and presenting same to the user. The usher then needs only to scan in the original ticket and the system will verify whether the patron associated with the original ticket is valid and whether the upgrade is valid.

In alternative embodiments, a warning message may be sent to the ticket holder that has not shown up to game warning them that if they do not respond within a certain time period that their seat will be re-allocated or re-assigned to another patron. Similarly, a release message may be sent to the ticket holder after their seat has actually been released and/or re-allocated, thereby notifying the patron that if they change their mind in attending the game, they will have to obtain an additional ticket. In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder that has their seat released and re-allocated can be themselves re-allocated a similar, worse or better seat, depending on, for example, their subscriber value and/or other criteria. For example, if the patron is provided a better seat, this will encourage them to more readily give up their seats in the future even if they are attending the game. On the other hand, if the patron is provided a worse seat, then this encourages them not to artificially give up or have their seat released when attending the game. Accordingly, the present invention is designed to deal with various behavioral patterns of specific ticket holders, and may optionally and advantageously be a ticket holder specific with respect to various criteria for re-assigning, releasing, selling and/or re-allocating tickets.

In alternative embodiments, the system transmits to the ticket holder a welcome message after being upgraded and after having being moved to a new upgraded seat location. In one embodiment, the system identifies that the patron has been successfully upgraded after the patron provides the usher with a confirmation number or original ticket, which is then verified by the usher and system.

In alternative embodiments, the system, after having identified which patrons have checked into the stadium and/or have been upgraded, transmits a trivia question and/or additional advertisements to all patrons attending the game. In alternative embodiments, the information is transmitted to both patrons that are attending the game and additional patrons that have registered in the past to receive information but that are not attending the game. The participants can, for example, answer trivia questions and respond with their wireless device. Depending on whether the patron is attending the game or not, the system may determine to offer or deal with each of the patrons differently. For example, for patrons at the game, winners may be successively determined and narrowed, as patrons successfully and unsuccessfully answer questions, round after round of questions in a ?spelling bee? format. For patrons that are not attending the game, winners may be declared, or statistics provided to the broadcast station that can be aired on television. In yet additional alternative embodiments, instead of transmitting information/questions to the patrons via the wireless device, the information/questions are displayed on the stadium billboard for patrons at the game and/or on television for patrons that are watching the game on television. The patron can then merely respond via the device, e.g., the telephone accordingly via a voice-to-text system or via other mobile devices via text messaging.

In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of additional advertising sponsorship to the venue. For example, in one embodiment, the venue is partitioned into different locations that may be assigned to different sponsors. In one embodiment, the sponsor that provides the most value may be assigned a certain number of premium seats that are not available to other sponsors.

For example, the sponsor may offer a discount on the upgrade if you are a Verizon or Verizon Wireless customer or they credit your cell account for each seat upgrade or you get say 30 free minutes, etc. In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of one wireless provider to advertise on another wireless providers mobile phone or wireless device. For example, if Verizon Wireless is a sponsor of the upgrade system for a particular stadium, the present invention will still work with, for example, AT&T, SPRINT, and CINGULAR customers. An advertisement message sent with the upgrade offer may read on the AT&T phone, ?brought to you by Verizon Wireless.? In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, text messaging is optionally used for mobile phones to perform the message communication of the present invention. The user is only required, in one embodiment, to reply or respond with a ?Yes? to accept the upgrade offer since the user has advantageously pre-registered with the system, thereby minimizing the required communication/input by the user. In an alternative embodiment, the user, instead of pre-registering with the system, is charged on their wireless or even regular telephone number bill when they accept the upgrade offer. Thus, the wireless system that either administers the user's regular or wireless account or the upgrade sponsor may be responsible for actually billing the customer in this alternative embodiment.

In the alternative embodiment when text messaging is optionally used alone or in combination with other communication methods, the system provides the additional advantage of maximizing bandwidth usage by not requiring use of bandwidth on the wireless voice system, thereby maximizing system resources.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention optionally and advantageously provides a security and/or safety feature in the event of, for example, a minor event where a parent gets separated from a child, a disaster or other event that might require evacuation of the stadium. In one embodiment, the person needing help provides their name to an attendant that can search the system for the contact information of their companion/parent. The system can thereafter send an email and/or text message to the companion/parent regarding the status of that person and provide instructions for meeting that person or arranging help, authorizing medical procedures, and the like. In another embodiment, the person requiring help, e.g., a child provides the attendant or kiosk with their ticket which can, e.g., scan the bar code or other reader system. The system can either automatically provide a text message to the parent who can then reply to the child/attendant via the kiosk to meet the child.

Alternatively, the parent can be instructed to meet the child at a predetermined location, and to stop looking for the child because the child was found. Thus, for this example, the person who is lost or separated from their party can notify security or access a kiosk. Security can, for example, notify the parent that child is in safe custody, and should not search the stadium, and therefore, meet outside stadium in a pre-specified safe place.

In an alternative embodiment, if a child/person is separated, the security guard/kiosk can arrange the best place to meet, either in or outside the stadium, together based on an optional global positioning system (GPS). In addition, the party with the mobile device can be provided directions on where to go to meet their party from who they have been separated.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention may also be used in a security, defense and/or safety setting to direct patrons in a stadium for an orderly evacuation or notify patrons regarding status of a safety related event via, for example, a broadcast message including text message, email and the like. In this manner, system communication resources may be most efficiently utilized by not over-utilizing the system via voice communication, unless completely necessary. For example, the message can be broadcast in the event of an impending hurricane. In this situation, patrons in different sections get different messages, for example, to exit the stadium out of gates/exits that are either less occupied or closest to the section the patrons are sitting in. Advantageously, the present invention has the patrons contact information, including optionally and advantageously text messaging, that can be broadcast or sent to different patrons. The advantage of text messaging is that the bandwidth is more efficiently used in the event of an emergency, and there are no busy signals as in a voice network. Further, the message is send, and if the network is at capacity, the system can automatically resend or the message will be placed in queue and sent as soon as capacity becomes available.

In another alternative embodiment of the invention, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction.

For instance, in sporting venues the bracelet ticket includes the machine readable information that comprises at least one of a bar code and radio frequency identifier used for security check in, and optionally check out. In this manner, the standard reading machines that can scan the bar code or RFID information can keep track of people that have checked into the sporting event and/or venue. Advantageously, the machine readable information on the bracelet can also be used by the venue in the event the patrons seat assignment is modified, for example, via an electronic ticket exchange or upgrade program. In this embodiment, the visible indicia are no longer valid for the actual seating that may be dynamically changed and only represents optionally an initial seat assignment. However, the machine readable information may be used as a code to reference the specific patron and assign that patron a new seat. Thus, when the ticket reader scans the ticket and actually identifies, for example, the bar code, this information can be used to reference the patron, update and/or confirm the patron's current seat via the reader used, for example, by ushers in the venue, kiosk, entrance to the venue, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction. This information, as previously mentioned, may be visually cognizable for the patron and in combination, readable by electronic means if the bracelet includes a magnetic strip, bar code imprinting, or RF chip.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the security bracelet and ticket combination of the present invention advantageously includes a bar code or other machine readable information such as a RFID device. When, for example, a child is separated form their parent, the parent can notify security and the seat number associated with the child. If the child attempts to leave with their bar code/identifier, the system detects the bar code/identifier as either being valid and identifying the child that is missing or being invalid and raising another red flag. In an alternative embodiment, the bar codes/identifiers associated between children and adults correspond such that the child identifier must be within a predetermined time and/or number of checking out identifiers from/within the adult identifier. If this does not occur, the system determines that the child is leaving without their parent, and possibly being abducted.

In an alternative embodiment, the system links one or more tickets/identifiers together and requires the tickets/identifiers to exit the venue or event within a predetermined time period from one another and/or within a predetermined number of tickets/identifiers that have exited the venue and/or event. In the event that one ticket/identifier exits the venue or event and the associated identifier does not, then an alarm or other indictor occurs, and the attendants will detain the patrons that have initiated the alarm to for security purposes.

In an alternative embodiment, the tickets are advantageously coded with designations such as adult, child and the like. In the event a child ticket/identifier exits the stadium before the associated adult and/or more that a predetermined time period and/or number of patrons exiting, the system can initiate an alarm so that an attendant can determine if a child has exited the venue or event without their parent or with a wrong parent potentially averting a kidnapping. In this embodiment, an additional combination is the use of the standard fast pass feature, for example, at theme parks, and the like, where the venue records predetermined events that the user of the card enters in a faster line. In this embodiment, if a child ticket/identifier is not associated with a parent ticket/identifier, for example, as described above, the child may be denied entry into the event or venue if not accompanied by their parent. In alternative embodiments, the venue/event sponsor or organizer associates tickets upon request from the patron. In addition, in another alternative embodiment, a kiosk is provided inside and/or outside the venue for, for example, parents to register their tickets and have them associated with their children's tickets to prevent he child from exiting the venue without them, for example, as described above.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system and method are adapted to utilize any type of wireless device with different interface and communication options. For example, different wireless devices have different constraints with respect to the interface, e.g., number of characters, how the subject and body of the messages are used/communicated, etc. Accordingly, the present invention optionally provides a protocol conversion system depending on the type of wireless device and the wireless device constraints, including message constraints and/or the wireless communication system. In alternative embodiments, the system determines the wireless device provider based on the address received from the wireless device, and is able to automatically determine the type of message and/or message constraints and transmission constraints associated therewith based for example, on real-time information or on pre-determined stored information on the device and/or communication system. Accordingly, a protocol conversion system for different wireless devices is provided by the present invention for sending and/or receiving messages, such as upgrade offers, responses, acceptances, and the like, from a variety of different users/mobile devices and wireless systems.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, a security bracelet is advantageously utilized, for example, such as the security bracelet disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/680,207, filed on Oct. 8, 2003, to Abraham I. Reifer, et al., and incorporated herein by reference, in the event of a reported event, security breach, abduction, and the like. In this embodiment, all patrons exiting the stadium must show their ticket and/or identifier so that the venue can check all patrons out of the stadium. Thus, for example, if two kidnappers come in the stadium, and want to use one bracelet for a child, the second kidnapper will be stranded in the stadium. In addition, if one kidnapper buys two tickets, then upon exit with the child and the additional ticket, a barcode/identifier will be exiting without ever having checked in, and then the alarm will go off as well.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention provides a broadcast message to warn patrons of an event, such as an advertisement, sale and/or even a weather related event such as a hurricane that might require the venue to be evacuated. Advantageously, in at least one embodiment, the broadcast message comprises standard text messaging that optimizes or better utilizes capacity form the communication system. Thus, when using text messaging capabilities, the present invention efficiently transmits text messages to numerous subscribers regarding, for example, exit information, contacting and/or meeting additional parties that have been separated, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the present invention optionally provides the capability to penetrate into secondary market with season ticket holders selling ahead of time the games they will not be attending. For example, the present invention optionally provides the feature for the season ticket holder and/or general ticket purchaser the ability to view in advance of the season and/or game the schedule, and to alert the venue and/or stadium of games and/or events they will not be attending, thereby permitting the stadium/venue to attempt to resell the tickets to other patrons. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the patron is provided with a monthly schedule listing the events that may be attended. The patron, such as a season ticket holder, may then click or place an indicator on all games they will not be attending for the season in advance, thereby providing the stadium with the ability to resell tickets well in advance of the event. Once the patron completes identifying games that will not be attended, the system then compiles a list and transmits the list to the patron for an optional confirmation. This list is then used by the system to release seats well in advance of the game. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, registered users of the system for, for example, upgrades, may also be notified of seat availability for sales prior to the game/event. In an alternative of this embodiment, registered users may receive text messages, emails, and the like, notifying them advantageously of the availability of seats that heretofore have never been easily available to the public for sale, thereby allowing the venue to participate in secondary market ticket sales.

In one alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system/process of the present invention provides or operates as a middle person/broker between the ticket holder that is returning tickets to the venue, such as the season ticket holder, and a ticket sales system and/or company, such as tickets.com, by notifying the tickets company of the newly available seats via notification by the ticket holder, such as the season ticket holder of season ticket games not being attended.

In one alternative embodiment of the invention, the system and/or process transmits text messages, emails and the like, to offer tickets and/or seats and/or admittance to subscribers for events and/or games with empty seats even before game. Thus, the present invention allows the venue to participate in the secondary ticket sales market and the upgrade market, thereby increasing revenue and fan loyalty.

Of course, all of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event, and/or venue that require tickets for entry thereof.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the use of machine readable identifiers provides advantages for, for example, the upgrade program or ticket exchange of the present invention. For example, when the upgrade, re-allocation and/or electronic ticket is issued, the machine readable identifier, for example, the bar code, on the original ticket is invalidated, thereby preventing use of the invalidated ticket. Accordingly, when a new ticket holder purchases the ticket form the season ticket holder, the new purchaser will be issued a new machine readable identifier, and optionally a new paper ticket. The present invention advantageously is able to handle the issuance of a new ticket and invalidates the old ticket and optionally the old identifier that has, for example, been returned by the season ticket holder, thereby providing dynamic ticketing capability.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the new patron obtains a new identifier such as a barcode, the old bar code of, for example, the season ticket holder is invalidated. In one embodiment of the invention, season ticket holders are offered to opt in the upgrade process. Various commercial incentives are possible for the season ticket holder to opt in the upgrade process, such as monetary compensation when their ticket is used for an upgrade and/or resold whether they express their intention not to go to the game prior to the game, and the like. Alternatively, season ticket holders may be offered that the cost of their season tickets will, for example, remain the same as the previous year or be reduced if they participate in the program. Therefore, the combination season ticket trade-in and upgrade program in one embodiment of the invention will be beneficial to season ticket holders by allowing them to trade when they already know that they have no intention of attending a game, and allow the season ticket holder to recoup some cost of the season tickets if they do not attend and their ticket is used as an upgrade. In addition, additional patrons of the event and/or sports team are permitted to attend the game in locations/seats that they might never have been able to obtain access to. Further, the venue/stadium/team maximize revenues by being able to place tickets on the secondary market when the ticket holder notifies the venue early enough that they are not attending the event, the venue also obtains additional revenue from upgrades when tickets are upgraded, and the venue obtains additional fan loyalty.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the system provides the ability to advertise via email, text messaging, and the like, for one wireless carrier on the wireless device that is using another wireless carrier. Since the user of the wireless device has requested the service, the user appropriately receives the communication from the ticketing system of the present invention, and therefore, also appropriately received the advertisement from the wireless carrier that is different than the wireless carrier that the user of the wireless may be using at that time.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, offers to purchase seats either during the game or even well in advance of the game are ?pushed? or transmitted out to registered users that have supplied their wireless and/or Internet addresses. For example, patrons can register in advance for the upgrade and/or regular ticket offers to purchase admittance via various methods including the Internet. When seats band/or admittance becomes available, a broadcast message or other standard messages may be transmitted to the registered patrons to notify them of the seat availability. Thus, seat offers are ?pushed? to registered users that have requested this service advantageously to a wireless device and/or other address including standard telephone communication, as well as additional optional advertisements. The system, in one alternative embodiment, provides the user the option when registering to accept certain types of advertisements to be received on their wireless device via email and/or text messaging. In other embodiments, the user does not have the option of which advertisements to receive.

Advantageously, in accordance with one alternative embodiment of the present invention, if a patron decides to attend an event such as a sporting event when the patron does not have time to wait to receive paper tickets (e.g., the patron is visiting in another city/location and does not have time to wait to receive tickets via mail and is on the go), the system of the present invention transmits a ticket to the patron via, for example, a wireless communication system and/or other standard electronic communication system such as the Internet, and the patron can present their ticket, for example, on their wireless device and show up to game.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Patrons then text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers. The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system uses a seat database to determine which of the reserved seats are currently in use. The system may integrate with the seat database system of a venue and/or stadium or optionally be used in parallel with the seat venue/stadium database. For example, prior to the event, the system may utilize the seat database of the venue to determine available seating and patrons that do not show up after a predetermined period of time. Alternatively, the present invention can operate using a separate database from the event/venue by copying or building a separate database used for the ticketing and/or upgrading according to the present invention. In this alternative, as patrons enter the venue, they are checked in directly to this separate database. At the time of the event, the system will be able to check-in patrons using either the identification system, e.g., bar code scanner, of the event or venue, or provide a separate identification system.

In alternative embodiments of the invention, the patron that knows they are attending the game but is going to be late can send in a HOLD message even prior to being provided a warning message that their seats are to be released if the patron does not respond to the message with the HOLD request. That is, in this embodiment, since the patron already knows well in advance that they are attending the game, but perhaps stuck in traffic, the patron can initiate the HOLD message before even being warned in advance of the possibility of their seat being released.

In another alternative embodiment, patrons that have registered with the system and optionally checked into the stadium and/or venue in advance and who also know that they would like an upgrade and/or ticket, may initiate their own upgrade request to the system to notify the system of their willingness to purchase an upgrade and/or new ticket for the event/venue. The system may then place these patrons on a higher priority since they have already expressed and intent and/or willingness to purchase the upgrade or ticket. The patron may notify the event and/or stadium of their willingness optionally well in advance of the game or near/after game time at a time which the patron commits or expresses an additional heightened desire to upgrade and/or purchase a ticket.

In alternative embodiments, the system includes the advantage of allowing patrons to register free for a predetermined period of time, for example, for the first year, without paying a yearly subscriber fee. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system provides the patron with their first upgrade for free or for a reduced rate to further encourage the patron to register with the system and method of the present invention. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system of the present invention offers the patron reduced and/or free concessions when purchasing a membership, ticket and/or upgrade to further encourage the patron to participate in the offers of the present invention.

In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the matching system and/or process, permits participants in the program to initiate a message to the system with the seat location and/or name of the patron that they would like to be matched with for a meeting, networking and/or socializing such as a date. In this embodiment, the system may the push the message to the other subscriber and assign new seats to the individuals that are to be matched. Alternatively, the system Need not require a specific confirmation that the second individual to be notified of the potential match is physically located near the first individual, but can rely on the first individual to provide that information. For example, the first individual may see a potential date in a restaurant, and may then send a message to the system with that person's name or address, that they would like to meet that other individual. In that situation, the second individual will receive a message of the possible match, and can respond and accept or reject the offer to meet. The second individual can then provide a meeting destination or the system can suggest a meeting place based on the first individual advising the system of their location, and the location of the second individual.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Advantageously, the multiple choice questions each have unique selections, such as a1, b1, c1 and d1 for question #1; a2, b2, c2, and d2 for question #2; a3, b3, c3 and d3 for question #3, and the like. In this embodiment, the actual timing of questions is not necessary since each question and answer is unique. Therefore, the speed of responding to the question is immaterial to the winner of the contest and/or correct answer. Also, in the event one patron answers the question late, there will be no confusion which question the patron is submitting an answer for. Patrons text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers as indicated above using the unique set of answers, in one embodiment. In alternative embodiments, the first predetermined number of patrons that answer the question correctly are considered the winners.

The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, e.g., a1 50%, b1 28%, c1 12% and d1 10%, and display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

As discussed above, one or more of the above alternative embodiments may be incorporated into the embodiments described above, and/or any of the embodiments discussed below. Furthermore, any of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating or other event admittance.

FIG. 24 is a flowchart of a second embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 24, the process begins as all tickets are checked in, for example, as the patrons enter the reserved seating area, such as a stadium or theater, through, for example, bar code readers, scanners, infrared readers, and/or manually or other method where the patron is checked in, either at the gate, seat or other location. For example, patrons can optionally check in a predetermined time before the event through a wireless device, Internet connection, manual or voice recognition telephone, or other manner. The important point is to provide a standard manner for allowing patrons to check in, and if the patron fails to check in using a predetermined procedure, to allow that seat to be provided to another willing patron in accordance with a process to be described below. Currently, such a process is impossible and unthinkable in view of the difficulty reserved seating events have in simply getting the patrons seated prior to the beginning of the event. The present invention represents a revolutionary process to enhance event enjoyment, earn patron loyalty and optionally provide additional revenues to the theater/stadium or optionally other patrons with the desirable ticket.

The check in procedure continues for a predetermined period of time until a predetermined time period has expired, for example, 5 minutes before the event begins, 10 minutes after the event begins, after a predetermined event, such as the second act of a play, and the like. Once the predetermined time period or event has been completed, the check in procedure may be considered completed to begin the seat re-allocation process. To begin the seat re-allocation process, a re-allocation algorithm is used to re-assign seats for patrons that are willing or interested in different or better seats. Such re-allocation processes or algorithms may include a random process, a process where priority patrons are given priority for re-assignment of seat, a process where patrons are willing to pay additional for the re-assignment to either the theater or the individual patron whose seat is being provided to another patron, frequent event patrons, season ticket patrons, or other predetermined process.

If the patron that is identified by the re-allocation process is determined to be present in the theater, for example, via mobile telephone, wireless device, and/or manual verification, an optional sub-process determines whether the patron's optional profile is also satisfied with the available seating. If the optional subscriber profile is not satisfied, then the re-allocation process searches for another possible patron. If the optional profile sub-process is satisfied, then the eligible patron is notified via one or more means, such as announcement, manually, wireless device, mobile telephone, bulletin board, and/or other means. The patron is then notified and presented with the option of moving for free, use of award points, additional money to the theater and/or patron to whose seat is being provided, or other predetermined criteria to obtain the seat. The patron, of course has the option to decline, and if so, the process continues and returns to the re-allocation process to attempt to locate another possible patron.

If the patron accepts, payment of money or other means may be effectuated on the spot via the wireless device, credit card, debit card, points, and the like, and the patron may now move to the other seat. In addition, the original ticket holder is optionally reimbursed with award points, a percentage of the revenue, a flat fee, an additional event ticket that might also be upgradable, and/or any other means for rewarding the original ticket holder. The patron's seat may then optionally be made available as an empty seat to the re-allocation process. If a predetermined period of time has not expired, then the re-allocation process may be run again to optionally continuously re-allocate seats. The patron may optionally store the up-graded ticket on a wireless device for proof of entrance to the better seating area. Optionally, the seat and/or row and/or section, includes a separate reader device to receive optionally the original ticket that is now re-allocated to a better seat, or a new ticket that may optionally be received by the patron via the wireless device and/or manually via a worker in the theater or stadium.

In accordance with the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets very near to game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron must be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept.

In one alternative embodiment, if the patron that has their ticket re-allocated in error, e.g., because the patron did not show up to the event based on the predetermined criteria but the patron was still planning on attending because they forgot about their seat being re-allocated, the system can re-allocate seats immediately upon the checking in of the patron and notify them that their seats have changed because they are late. In this situation, the stadium/venue might decide to further upgrade the patrons because of the mistake.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the process of the present invention specifically reserves seats of the highest or very high rating that are considered preferred, in the event a patron's seat is re-allocated prematurely or erroneously. In this situation, the patron who has had their seat re-allocated because they will likely receive an even better seat as a result of the mistaken (stadium or patron) or premature seat re-allocation.

In another embodiment of the present invention, as patrons are entering the venue or stadium, they are provided advantageously with a map of the stadium so patrons can analyze the potential upgrade to make a decision whether the upgraded seats are sufficiently good or of value to warrant the patron moving and/or paying for the additional upgrade. By handing the patron the map of the stadium, the process of the the present invention is not required to transmit a detailed schematic to the patron's wireless device which would not normally be able to effectively permit the patron to evaluate the proposed upgrade seats. The map that is handed out may optionally include information for patrons on where to register for the upgrade and/or additional advertisement opportunities.

In one alternative embodiment, the patron that has purchased the ticket, for example, a season ticket holder, may advise the stadium that for a particular game, set of games or all games, they do not want their seats to be re-allocated, and perhaps, an additional fee is assessed for this type of patron. If the stadium provides the ability for the patron to selectively opt out of the seat re-allocation, the patron can, for example, connect to the system via the Internet, public switched telephone network, cellular network, and the like, and notify the system that they do not want their ticket re-allocated, for example, because they are coming late to the event. Other means of notifying the system and/or other reasons may be utilized in connection with the present invention.

In another alternative embodiment, the system provides patrons the ability to individually select when their tickets may be re-allocated. For example, one patron may prefer to only give up their ticket if they are late to the game by 15 minutes, while another patron may be willing to give up their ticket if they have not arrived 15 minutes before the game. In alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide incentives for the patron to have their ticket re-allocated prior to the game because it increases the stadiums chances of re-allocating/re-selling the ticket.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provide additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In an alternative embodiment, the system determines priority of re-allocation of seats based first upon patrons that have seats that may also be re-allocated. That is, the systems attempts to maximize the number of re-allocations by prioritizing the re-allocation based upon seats that may be re-allocated after already being re-allocated. For example, if front row seats in a stadium are available to be re-allocated, in this alternative embodiment, patrons that are in the next closest section for example on the field level would be upgraded first to those seats. Then, patrons with less preferred seats, for example, in the upper deck would be re-allocated to the seats that have now become available from the patrons that have been upgraded to the front row. Thus, using this alternative priority scheme, the present invention maximizes the re-allocation numbers. Of course, this priority algorithm may be combined with additional factors, for example, relating to subscriber/patron value. As described above, additional factors may be utilized in the algorithm to determine the subscriber or set of subscribers to offer the upgrade.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally rate the upgraded patron, for example, for appropriate behavior, wearing of excessively large hats, drunkenness behavior, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the re-allocation algorithm for future upgrades to the patron.

In alternative embodiments, the patrons eligible for the upgrade may be notified using standard email communications over a wireless device, mobile telephone, and/or other standard communication means. For example, standard text-to-voice and/or voice-to-text communications may be used to contact the patron to evaluate whether an upgrade will be accepted and to actually accept the upgrade.

In another embodiment of the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that have already purchased tickets in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats and/or may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets at any time prior to and/or after beginning of game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron may be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention or even at any location when being offered upgrades and/or seats well in advance of the game. For example, the present invention can upgrade or sell tickets to patrons well in advance of the game since it advantageously is permitted or has the authority to resell tickets either via ticket holders that do not show up during the game and/or, for example, season ticket holders that have authorized the stadium in advance to resell their tickets based on predetermined criteria, for example, when the season ticket holder notifies the stadium that they will not be present at next weeks game.

In one optional embodiment of the invention, the patron presents the usher with the confirmation number which the usher can enter into a wireless device using a local or private wireless network, or can simply use a walkie talkie or telephone to call the dispatcher to confirm the upgrade and/or new seats using the customer provided confirmation number. The dispatcher will have access to the system to enter the confirmation number to confirm the validity of the upgrade. Alternatively, a patron will retain their old ticket. The patron will give in the old ticket to the usher which is scanned or barcoded by the usher for immediate identification of new seats and used in place of, or in addition to, confirmation number.

Of course, the confirmation may optionally be made via customer name with an appropriate identification card or other information. Further, alternative methods may be used to verify that the confirmation number and/or ticket being used by the patron is valid. For example, the patron may be equipped with a printing device associated with the wireless device or download an actual ticket on line from home prior to the game for the new ticket or upgrade. Alternatively, the patron may be equipped with an identifier card, optionally including a bar code with a unique identifier relating to the patron's account information and profile that can be scanned for additional convenience. Alternatively, a wireless device may be used to securely store this type of identification and/or account information.

In at least one alternative embodiment of the invention, the patron may comprise optionally a corporate account that has a number of tickets, for example, season tickets. In this embodiment, the corporate account may have associated therewith a plurality of email addresses or other communication addresses to transmit the seat or upgrade offer to a number of potential patrons that may rotate their attendance at the games. In accordance with this optional embodiment, multiple emails can be stored for a single user/corporate account, and the system may transmit individual messages to all email addresses, or may only transmit messages to individual patrons for corporate account that individually advise the system that they are associated with a particular ticket/bar code for a particular game and will be/are present at a particular game.

In an alternative embodiment, patrons may enter the stadium and subsequently inform the system that they are present and interested in an upgrade via a kiosk where the patron can scan a bar code and enter their customer number to be eligible for upgrades during the game. The system is then able to transmit a message to the customer, assuming that the customer has pre-registered with the system with the appropriate contact information. Alternatively, or in addition to individual use of a kiosk(s), the customer sales office may have a kiosk or additional functionality to enter the customer name and/or customer account and scan in the bar coded ticket on the spot to register each patron as they enter the stadium or venue.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron upon entry in the stadium to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept when an offer is received by the patron at a predetermined time. The graphical map may comprise a small booklet with a map of the stadium showing seat locations, and optionally a game schedule.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provides additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally be eligible for a dating or matching service where patrons register and provide profile information to the system and/or through a third service provider dating service. Once the system knows that the patrons will be coming to the game and/or have actually checked in to the stadium, the system can then arrange for the two, four, etc. patrons to meet each other by allocating and/or re-allocating seats to the patrons together. Thus, based on profile information, customer request and availability, the system is able to upgrade or sell tickets to patrons to maximize their chances of meeting someone at the game. This optional feature provides significant potential enjoyment for the patrons participating in this dating or connection program. In accordance with this embodiment, one possible sequence of acceptance steps involves profile matching the two patrons (or groups of patrons) based on predetermined profile information; transmitting a first message to the first patron regarding availability of the second patron and requesting a conditional acceptance form the first patron; transmitting a second message to the second patron indicating that the first patron has conditionally accepted and request the second patron to accept; and when the second patron accepts before the first patron has rescinded the conditional acceptance, finalizing the upgrade and/or seat allocation for the first and second patrons. This embodiment of the invention is a complete reverse from typical dating and/or matchmaking services which attempt to develop detailed algorithms for the matching process because of the significant decision that exists in determining who to spend valuable time with. In accordance with the invention, patrons are already present at the game, and therefore, half or more than half the effort is already done. The remainder is to actually meet the other person which can be accomplished with profile criteria, whether or not the algorithms are very sophisticated.

In one embodiment, the patrons that are being matched have their original seats maintained and not made available for other upgrades in the event the matching does not work out early on. In this embodiment, one or both the patrons can return to their original seat. Hopefully, there will not be a significant argument of who would need to return to their original seat if an upgrade is actually performed. In addition, in accordance with this embodiment, the seats that are selected do not necessarily have to be better seats in the classical sense. That is, seats further away from other ticket holders might be considered preferred when matching two individuals for the first time. Alternatively, couple that would prefer a little more privacy or quieter game might request to be moved to a more isolated area. Alternatively, families with small children might prefer to be moved to a less busy area as well during the game where the children might be able to freely move around. All these scenarios and/or alternatives are possible in view of the present invention. The advantage of performing a match in a public setting is that the patrons do not have to worry about leaving or ending the date, and also do not have to worry that the other person will have their home address.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like.

In addition, this feature also optionally permits the patrons that have participated in the program to rate one another for future dates. For example, one patron can rate the conversational benefits of the second patron, the appearance of the second patron, the overall short term versus long terms relationship goals of the patron, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the algorithm for future seat assignments, re-allocations and/or upgrades in the future for the first and second patrons, and all other patrons will now benefit with the additional profile information of the first and second patrons. The matching service may be for amusement or work related networking purposes, for example, to meet an executive that the patron currently works with or wishes to work with/sell in the future.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like. In addition, the system advantageously and optionally provides the feature of allowing patrons to text message one another directly, and/or exchange pictures via wireless email, text messaging, and other wireless devices that provide the standard capability of exchanging pictures, such a T Mobile and/or Sprint.

In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder can call in via a voice to text message, text message and/or email and let the stadium know early that they are not coming. In this manner the ticket holder obtains the convenience of the stadium or venue reselling their tickets in advance, thereby providing the venue with additional time to maximize the resale of the ticket.

In alternative embodiments, when the patron enters the stadium, they have their ticket barcoded or other device that detects their presence can bu used such as infrared, Bluetooth, etc., and then they can become eligible for an upgrade. The patron can register in advance that they want to receive upgrades by providing their name, message address, e.g., email, telephone text message address, etc., and optionally their credit card or other payment mechanism for upgrades that actually cost money as opposed to free upgrades. In alternative embodiments, the patron can register at the ticket booth when purchasing their original ticket. In this scenario, the stadium representative can enter this information on behalf of, and with the permission of, the patron since the patron may already be providing their credit card, debit card, etc. to purchase the original tickets. Alternatively or in addition, a kiosk may be provided where the patron can enter their original ticket, e.g., scan in their original ticket and provide their name and text message information in the stadium to register for a one time upgrade for the game after purchasing, for example, a regular admission ticket.

In alternative embodiments, an usher can verify that the patron should be upgraded by the patron providing the confirmation number that may be transmitted in real-time by the system, and/or by the patron using their original confirmation number or original ticket with barcode or other identification means, such as a smart card, infrared reader, etc. that represents original ticket and presenting same to the user. The usher then needs only to scan in the original ticket and the system will verify whether the patron associated with the original ticket is valid and whether the upgrade is valid.

In alternative embodiments, a warning message may be sent to the ticket holder that has not shown up to game warning them that if they do not respond within a certain time period that their seat will be re-allocated or re-assigned to another patron. Similarly, a release message may be sent to the ticket holder after their seat has actually been released and/or re-allocated, thereby notifying the patron that if they change their mind in attending the game, they will have to obtain an additional ticket. In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder that has their seat released and re-allocated can be themselves re-allocated a similar, worse or better seat, depending on, for example, their subscriber value and/or other criteria. For example, if the patron is provided a better seat, this will encourage them to more readily give up their seats in the future even if they are attending the game. On the other hand, if the patron is provided a worse seat, then this encourages them not to artificially give up or have their seat released when attending the game. Accordingly, the present invention is designed to deal with various behavioral patterns of specific ticket holders, and may optionally and advantageously be a ticket holder specific with respect to various criteria for re-assigning, releasing, selling and/or re-allocating tickets.

In alternative embodiments, the system transmits to the ticket holder a welcome message after being upgraded and after having being moved to a new upgraded seat location. In one embodiment, the system identifies that the patron has been successfully upgraded after the patron provides the usher with a confirmation number or original ticket, which is then verified by the usher and system.

In alternative embodiments, the system, after having identified which patrons have checked into the stadium and/or have been upgraded, transmits a trivia question and/or additional advertisements to all patrons attending the game. In alternative embodiments, the information is transmitted to both patrons that are attending the game and additional patrons that have registered in the past to receive information but that are not attending the game. The participants can, for example, answer trivia questions and respond with their wireless device. Depending on whether the patron is attending the game or not, the system may determine to offer or deal with each of the patrons differently. For example, for patrons at the game, winners may be successively determined and narrowed, as patrons successfully and unsuccessfully answer questions, round after round of questions in a ?spelling bee? format. For patrons that are not attending the game, winners may be declared, or statistics provided to the broadcast station that can be aired on television. In yet additional alternative embodiments, instead of transmitting information/questions to the patrons via the wireless device, the information/questions are displayed on the stadium billboard for patrons at the game and/or on television for patrons that are watching the game on television. The patron can then merely respond via the device, e.g., the telephone accordingly via a voice-to-text system or via other mobile devices via text messaging.

In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of additional advertising sponsorship to the venue. For example, in one embodiment, the venue is partitioned into different locations that may be assigned to different sponsors. In one embodiment, the sponsor that provides the most value may be assigned a certain number of premium seats that are not available to other sponsors.

For example, the sponsor may offer a discount on the upgrade if you are a Verizon or Verizon Wireless customer or they credit your cell account for each seat upgrade or you get say 30 free minutes, etc. In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of one wireless provider to advertise on another wireless providers mobile phone or wireless device. For example, if Verizon Wireless is a sponsor of the upgrade system for a particular stadium, the present invention will still work with, for example, AT&T, SPRINT, and CINGULAR customers. An advertisement message sent with the upgrade offer may read on the AT&T phone, ?brought to you by Verizon Wireless.? In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, text messaging is optionally used for mobile phones to perform the message communication of the present invention. The user is only required, in one embodiment, to reply or respond with a ?Yes? to accept the upgrade offer since the user has advantageously pre-registered with the system, thereby minimizing the required communication/input by the user. In an alternative embodiment, the user, instead of pre-registering with the system, is charged on their wireless or even regular telephone number bill when they accept the upgrade offer. Thus, the wireless system that either administers the user's regular or wireless account or the upgrade sponsor may be responsible for actually billing the customer in this alternative embodiment.

In the alternative embodiment when text messaging is optionally used alone or in combination with other communication methods, the system provides the additional advantage of maximizing bandwidth usage by not requiring use of bandwidth on the wireless voice system, thereby maximizing system resources.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention optionally and advantageously provides a security and/or safety feature in the event of, for example, a minor event where a parent gets separated from a child, a disaster or other event that might require evacuation of the stadium. In one embodiment, the person needing help provides their name to an attendant that can search the system for the contact information of their companion/parent. The system can thereafter send an email and/or text message to the companion/parent regarding the status of that person and provide instructions for meeting that person or arranging help, authorizing medical procedures, and the like. In another embodiment, the person requiring help, e.g., a child provides the attendant or kiosk with their ticket which can, e.g., scan the bar code or other reader system. The system can either automatically provide a text message to the parent who can then reply to the child/attendant via the kiosk to meet the child.

Alternatively, the parent can be instructed to meet the child at a predetermined location, and to stop looking for the child because the child was found. Thus, for this example, the person who is lost or separated from their party can notify security or access a kiosk. Security can, for example, notify the parent that child is in safe custody, and should not search the stadium, and therefore, meet outside stadium in a pre-specified safe place.

In an alternative embodiment, if a child/person is separated, the security guard/kiosk can arrange the best place to meet, either in or outside the stadium, together based on an optional global positioning system (GPS). In addition, the party with the mobile device can be provided directions on where to go to meet their party from who they have been separated.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention may also be used in a security, defense and/or safety setting to direct patrons in a stadium for an orderly evacuation or notify patrons regarding status of a safety related event via, for example, a broadcast message including text message, email and the like. In this manner, system communication resources may be most efficiently utilized by not over-utilizing the system via voice communication, unless completely necessary. For example, the message can be broadcast in the event of an impending hurricane. In this situation, patrons in different sections get different messages, for example, to exit the stadium out of gates/exits that are either less occupied or closest to the section the patrons are sitting in. Advantageously, the present invention has the patrons contact information, including optionally and advantageously text messaging, that can be broadcast or sent to different patrons. The advantage of text messaging is that the bandwidth is more efficiently used in the event of an emergency, and there are no busy signals as in a voice network. Further, the message is send, and if the network is at capacity, the system can automatically resend or the message will be placed in queue and sent as soon as capacity becomes available.

In another alternative embodiment of the invention, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction.

For instance, in sporting venues the bracelet ticket includes the machine readable information that comprises at least one of a bar code and radio frequency identifier used for security check in, and optionally check out. In this manner, the standard reading machines that can scan the bar code or RFID information can keep track of people that have checked into the sporting event and/or venue. Advantageously, the machine readable information on the bracelet can also be used by the venue in the event the patrons seat assignment is modified, for example, via an electronic ticket exchange or upgrade program. In this embodiment, the visible indicia are no longer valid for the actual seating that may be dynamically changed and only represents optionally an initial seat assignment. However, the machine readable information may be used as a code to reference the specific patron and assign that patron a new seat. Thus, when the ticket reader scans the ticket and actually identifies, for example, the bar code, this information can be used to reference the patron, update and/or confirm the patron's current seat via the reader used, for example, by ushers in the venue, kiosk, entrance to the venue, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction. This information, as previously mentioned, may be visually cognizable for the patron and in combination, readable by electronic means if the bracelet includes a magnetic strip, bar code imprinting, or RF chip.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the security bracelet and ticket combination of the present invention advantageously includes a bar code or other machine readable information such as a RFID device. When, for example, a child is separated form their parent, the parent can notify security and the seat number associated with the child. If the child attempts to leave with their bar code/identifier, the system detects the bar code/identifier as either being valid and identifying the child that is missing or being invalid and raising another red flag. In an alternative embodiment, the bar codes/identifiers associated between children and adults correspond such that the child identifier must be within a predetermined time and/or number of checking out identifiers from/within the adult identifier. If this does not occur, the system determines that the child is leaving without their parent, and possibly being abducted.

In an alternative embodiment, the system links one or more tickets/identifiers together and requires the tickets/identifiers to exit the venue or event within a predetermined time period from one another and/or within a predetermined number of tickets/identifiers that have exited the venue and/or event. In the event that one ticket/identifier exits the venue or event and the associated identifier does not, then an alarm or other indictor occurs, and the attendants will detain the patrons that have initiated the alarm to for security purposes.

In an alternative embodiment, the tickets are advantageously coded with designations such as adult, child and the like. In the event a child ticket/identifier exits the stadium before the associated adult and/or more that a predetermined time period and/or number of patrons exiting, the system can initiate an alarm so that an attendant can determine if a child has exited the venue or event without their parent or with a wrong parent potentially averting a kidnapping. In this embodiment, an additional combination is the use of the standard fast pass feature, for example, at theme parks, and the like, where the venue records predetermined events that the user of the card enters in a faster line. In this embodiment, if a child ticket/identifier is not associated with a parent ticket/identifier, for example, as described above, the child may be denied entry into the event or venue if not accompanied by their parent. In alternative embodiments, the venue/event sponsor or organizer associates tickets upon request from the patron. In addition, in another alternative embodiment, a kiosk is provided inside and/or outside the venue for, for example, parents to register their tickets and have them associated with their children's tickets to prevent he child from exiting the venue without them, for example, as described above.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system and method are adapted to utilize any type of wireless device with different interface and communication options. For example, different wireless devices have different constraints with respect to the interface, e.g., number of characters, how the subject and body of the messages are used/communicated, etc. Accordingly, the present invention optionally provides a protocol conversion system depending on the type of wireless device and the wireless device constraints, including message constraints and/or the wireless communication system. In alternative embodiments, the system determines the wireless device provider based on the address received from the wireless device, and is able to automatically determine the type of message and/or message constraints and transmission constraints associated therewith based for example, on real-time information or on pre-determined stored information on the device and/or communication system. Accordingly, a protocol conversion system for different wireless devices is provided by the present invention for sending and/or receiving messages, such as upgrade offers, responses, acceptances, and the like, from a variety of different users/mobile devices and wireless systems.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, a security bracelet is advantageously utilized, for example, such as the security bracelet disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/680,207, filed on Oct. 8, 2003, to Abraham I. Reifer, et al., and incorporated herein by reference, in the event of a reported event, security breach, abduction, and the like. In this embodiment, all patrons exiting the stadium must show their ticket and/or identifier so that the venue can check all patrons out of the stadium. Thus, for example, if two kidnappers come in the stadium, and want to use one bracelet for a child, the second kidnapper will be stranded in the stadium. In addition, if one kidnapper buys two tickets, then upon exit with the child and the additional ticket, a barcode/identifier will be exiting without ever having checked in, and then the alarm will go off as well.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention provides a broadcast message to warn patrons of an event, such as an advertisement, sale and/or even a weather related event such as a hurricane that might require the venue to be evacuated. Advantageously, in at least one embodiment, the broadcast message comprises standard text messaging that optimizes or better utilizes capacity form the communication system. Thus, when using text messaging capabilities, the present invention efficiently transmits text messages to numerous subscribers regarding, for example, exit information, contacting and/or meeting additional parties that have been separated, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the present invention optionally provides the capability to penetrate into secondary market with season ticket holders selling ahead of time the games they will not be attending. For example, the present invention optionally provides the feature for the season ticket holder and/or general ticket purchaser the ability to view in advance of the season and/or game the schedule, and to alert the venue and/or stadium of games and/or events they will not be attending, thereby permitting the stadium/venue to attempt to resell the tickets to other patrons. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the patron is provided with a monthly schedule listing the events that may be attended. The patron, such as a season ticket holder, may then click or place an indicator on all games they will not be attending for the season in advance, thereby providing the stadium with the ability to resell tickets well in advance of the event. Once the patron completes identifying games that will not be attended, the system then compiles a list and transmits the list to the patron for an optional confirmation. This list is then used by the system to release seats well in advance of the game. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, registered users of the system for, for example, upgrades, may also be notified of seat availability for sales prior to the game/event. In an alternative of this embodiment, registered users may receive text messages, emails, and the like, notifying them advantageously of the availability of seats that heretofore have never been easily available to the public for sale, thereby allowing the venue to participate in secondary market ticket sales.

In one alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system/process of the present invention provides or operates as a middle person/broker between the ticket holder that is returning tickets to the venue, such as the season ticket holder, and a ticket sales system and/or company, such as tickets.com, by notifying the tickets company of the newly available seats via notification by the ticket holder, such as the season ticket holder of season ticket games not being attended.

In one alternative embodiment of the invention, the system and/or process transmits text messages, emails and the like, to offer tickets and/or seats and/or admittance to subscribers for events and/or games with empty seats even before game. Thus, the present invention allows the venue to participate in the secondary ticket sales market and the upgrade market, thereby increasing revenue and fan loyalty.

Of course, all of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event, and/or venue that require tickets for entry thereof.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the use of machine readable identifiers provides advantages for, for example, the upgrade program or ticket exchange of the present invention. For example, when the upgrade, re-allocation and/or electronic ticket is issued, the machine readable identifier, for example, the bar code, on the original ticket is invalidated, thereby preventing use of the invalidated ticket. Accordingly, when a new ticket holder purchases the ticket form the season ticket holder, the new purchaser will be issued a new machine readable identifier, and optionally a new paper ticket. The present invention advantageously is able to handle the issuance of a new ticket and invalidates the old ticket and optionally the old identifier that has, for example, been returned by the season ticket holder, thereby providing dynamic ticketing capability.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the new patron obtains a new identifier such as a barcode, the old bar code of, for example, the season ticket holder is invalidated. In one embodiment of the invention, season ticket holders are offered to opt in the upgrade process. Various commercial incentives are possible for the season ticket holder to opt in the upgrade process, such as monetary compensation when their ticket is used for an upgrade and/or resold whether they express their intention not to go to the game prior to the game, and the like. Alternatively, season ticket holders may be offered that the cost of their season tickets will, for example, remain the same as the previous year or be reduced if they participate in the program. Therefore, the combination season ticket trade-in and upgrade program in one embodiment of the invention will be beneficial to season ticket holders by allowing them to trade when they already know that they have no intention of attending a game, and allow the season ticket holder to recoup some cost of the season tickets if they do not attend and their ticket is used as an upgrade. In addition, additional patrons of the event and/or sports team are permitted to attend the game in locations/seats that they might never have been able to obtain access to. Further, the venue/stadium/team maximize revenues by being able to place tickets on the secondary market when the ticket holder notifies the venue early enough that they are not attending the event, the venue also obtains additional revenue from upgrades when tickets are upgraded, and the venue obtains additional fan loyalty.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the system provides the ability to advertise via email, text messaging, and the like, for one wireless carrier on the wireless device that is using another wireless carrier. Since the user of the wireless device has requested the service, the user appropriately receives the communication from the ticketing system of the present invention, and therefore, also appropriately received the advertisement from the wireless carrier that is different than the wireless carrier that the user of the wireless may be using at that time.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, offers to purchase seats either during the game or even well in advance of the game are ?pushed? or transmitted out to registered users that have supplied their wireless and/or Internet addresses. For example, patrons can register in advance for the upgrade and/or regular ticket offers to purchase admittance via various methods including the Internet. When seats band/or admittance becomes available, a broadcast message or other standard messages may be transmitted to the registered patrons to notify them of the seat availability. Thus, seat offers are ?pushed? to registered users that have requested this service advantageously to a wireless device and/or other address including standard telephone communication, as well as additional optional advertisements. The system, in one alternative embodiment, provides the user the option when registering to accept certain types of advertisements to be received on their wireless device via email and/or text messaging. In other embodiments, the user does not have the option of which advertisements to receive.

Advantageously, in accordance with one alternative embodiment of the present invention, if a patron decides to attend an event such as a sporting event when the patron does not have time to wait to receive paper tickets (e.g., the patron is visiting in another city/location and does not have time to wait to receive tickets via mail and is on the go), the system of the present invention transmits a ticket to the patron via, for example, a wireless communication system and/or other standard electronic communication system such as the Internet, and the patron can present their ticket, for example, on their wireless device and show up to game.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Patrons then text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers. The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system uses a seat database to determine which of the reserved seats are currently in use. The system may integrate with the seat database system of a venue and/or stadium or optionally be used in parallel with the seat venue/stadium database. For example, prior to the event, the system may utilize the seat database of the venue to determine available seating and patrons that do not show up after a predetermined period of time. Alternatively, the present invention can operate using a separate database from the event/venue by copying or building a separate database used for the ticketing and/or upgrading according to the present invention. In this alternative, as patrons enter the venue, they are checked in directly to this separate database. At the time of the event, the system will be able to check-in patrons using either the identification system, e.g., bar code scanner, of the event or venue, or provide a separate identification system.

In alternative embodiments of the invention, the patron that knows they are attending the game but is going to be late can send in a HOLD message even prior to being provided a warning message that their seats are to be released if the patron does not respond to the message with the HOLD request. That is, in this embodiment, since the patron already knows well in advance that they are attending the game, but perhaps stuck in traffic, the patron can initiate the HOLD message before even being warned in advance of the possibility of their seat being released.

In another alternative embodiment, patrons that have registered with the system and optionally checked into the stadium and/or venue in advance and who also know that they would like an upgrade and/or ticket, may initiate their own upgrade request to the system to notify the system of their willingness to purchase an upgrade and/or new ticket for the event/venue. The system may then place these patrons on a higher priority since they have already expressed and intent and/or willingness to purchase the upgrade or ticket. The patron may notify the event and/or stadium of their willingness optionally well in advance of the game or near/after game time at a time which the patron commits or expresses an additional heightened desire to upgrade and/or purchase a ticket.

In alternative embodiments, the system includes the advantage of allowing patrons to register free for a predetermined period of time, for example, for the first year, without paying a yearly subscriber fee. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system provides the patron with their first upgrade for free or for a reduced rate to further encourage the patron to register with the system and method of the present invention. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system of the present invention offers the patron reduced and/or free concessions when purchasing a membership, ticket and/or upgrade to further encourage the patron to participate in the offers of the present invention.

In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the matching system and/or process, permits participants in the program to initiate a message to the system with the seat location and/or name of the patron that they would like to be matched with for a meeting, networking and/or socializing such as a date. In this embodiment, the system may the push the message to the other subscriber and assign new seats to the individuals that are to be matched. Alternatively, the system Need not require a specific confirmation that the second individual to be notified of the potential match is physically located near the first individual, but can rely on the first individual to provide that information. For example, the first individual may see a potential date in a restaurant, and may then send a message to the system with that person's name or address, that they would like to meet that other individual. In that situation, the second individual will receive a message of the possible match, and can respond and accept or reject the offer to meet. The second individual can then provide a meeting destination or the system can suggest a meeting place based on the first individual advising the system of their location, and the location of the second individual.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Advantageously, the multiple choice questions each have unique selections, such as a1, b1, c1 and d1 for question #1; a2, b2, c2, and d2 for question #2; a3, b3, c3 and d3 for question #3, and the like. In this embodiment, the actual timing of questions is not necessary since each question and answer is unique. Therefore, the speed of responding to the question is immaterial to the winner of the contest and/or correct answer. Also, in the event one patron answers the question late, there will be no confusion which question the patron is submitting an answer for. Patrons text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers as indicated above using the unique set of answers, in one embodiment. In alternative embodiments, the first predetermined number of patrons that answer the question correctly are considered the winners.

The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, e.g., a1 50%, b1 28%, c1 12% and d1 10%, and display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

As discussed above, one or more of the above alternative embodiments may be incorporated into the embodiments described above, and/or any of the embodiments discussed below. Furthermore, any of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event.

FIG. 25 is a flowchart of a third embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 25, the process begins as all tickets are checked in, for example, as the patrons enter the reserved seating area, such as a stadium or theater, through, for example, bar code readers, scanners, infrared readers, and/or manually or other method where the patron is checked in, either at the gate, seat or other location. For example, patrons can optionally check in a predetermined time before the event through a wireless device, Internet connection, manual or voice recognition telephone, or other manner. The important point is to provide a standard manner for allowing patrons to check in, and if the patron fails to check in using a predetermined procedure, to allow that seat to be provided to another willing patron in accordance with a process to be described below. Currently, such a process is impossible and unthinkable in view of the difficulty reserved seating events have in simply getting the patrons seated prior to the beginning of the event. The present invention represents a revolutionary process to enhance event enjoyment, earn patron loyalty and optionally provide additional revenues to the theater/stadium or optionally other patrons with the desirable ticket.

The seat re-allocation process is used to re-assign seats for patrons that are willing or interested in different or better seats. Such re-allocation processes or algorithms may include a random process, a process where priority patrons are given priority for re-assignment of seat, a process where patrons are willing to pay additional for the re-assignment to either the theater or the individual patron whose seat is being provided to another patron, frequent event patrons, season ticket patrons, or other predetermined process. Simultaneously or subsequently, the check in procedure continues for a predetermined period of time until a predetermined time period has expired, for example, 5 minutes before the event begins, 10 minutes after the event begins, after a predetermined event, such as the second act of a play, and the like. Once the predetermined time period or event has been completed, the check in procedure may be considered completed to begin the seat re-allocation process.

If the patron that is identified by the re-allocation process is determined to be present in the theater, for example, via mobile telephone, wireless device, and/or manual verification, an optional sub-process determines whether the patron's optional profile is also satisfied with the available seating. If the optional subscriber profile is not satisfied, then the re-allocation process searches for another possible patron. If the optional profile sub-process is satisfied, then the eligible patron is notified via one or more means, such as announcement, manually, wireless device, mobile telephone, bulletin board, and/or other means. The patron is then notified and presented with the option of moving for free, use of award points, additional money to the theater and/or patron to whose seat is being provided, or other predetermined criteria to obtain the seat. The patron, of course has the option to decline, and if so, the process continues and returns to the re-allocation process to attempt to locate another possible patron.

If the patron accepts, payment of money or other means may be effectuated on the spot via the wireless device, credit card, debit card, points, and the like, and the patron may now move to the other seat. The patron's seat may then optionally be made available as an empty seat to the re-allocation process. If a predetermined period of time has not expired, then the re-allocation process may be run again to optionally continuously re-allocate seats. The patron may optionally store the up-graded ticket on a wireless device for proof of entrance to the better seating area. Optionally, the seat and/or row and/or section, includes a separate reader device to receive optionally the original ticket that is now re-allocated to a better seat, or a new ticket that may optionally be received by the patron via the wireless device and/or manually via a worker in the theater or stadium.

In accordance with the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets very near to game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron must be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept.

In one alternative embodiment, if the patron that has their ticket re-allocated in error, e.g., because the patron did not show up to the event based on the predetermined criteria but the patron was still planning on attending because they forgot about their seat being re-allocated, the system can re-allocate seats immediately upon the checking in of the patron and notify them that their seats have changed because they are late. In this situation, the stadium/venue might decide to further upgrade the patrons because of the mistake.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the process of the present invention specifically reserves seats of the highest or very high rating that are considered preferred, in the event a patron's seat is re-allocated prematurely or erroneously. In this situation, the patron who has had their seat re-allocated because they will likely receive an even better seat as a result of the mistaken (stadium or patron) or premature seat re-allocation.

In another embodiment of the present invention, as patrons are entering the venue or stadium, they are provided advantageously with a map of the stadium so patrons can analyze the potential upgrade to make a decision whether the upgraded seats are sufficiently good or of value to warrant the patron moving and/or paying for the additional upgrade. By handing the patron the map of the stadium, the process of the the present invention is not required to transmit a detailed schematic to the patron's wireless device which would not normally be able to effectively permit the patron to evaluate the proposed upgrade seats. The map that is handed out may optionally include information for patrons on where to register for the upgrade and/or additional advertisement opportunities.

In one alternative embodiment, the patron that has purchased the ticket, for example, a season ticket holder, may advise the stadium that for a particular game, set of games or all games, they do not want their seats to be re-allocated, and perhaps, an additional fee is assessed for this type of patron. If the stadium provides the ability for the patron to selectively opt out of the seat re-allocation, the patron can, for example, connect to the system via the Internet, public switched telephone network, cellular network, and the like, and notify the system that they do not want their ticket re-allocated, for example, because they are coming late to the event. Other means of notifying the system and/or other reasons may be utilized in connection with the present invention.

In another alternative embodiment, the system provides patrons the ability to individually select when their tickets may be re-allocated. For example, one patron may prefer to only give up their ticket if they are late to the game by 15 minutes, while another patron may be willing to give up their ticket if they have not arrived 15 minutes before the game. In alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide incentives for the patron to have their ticket re-allocated prior to the game because it increases the stadiums chances of re-allocating/re-selling the ticket.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provide additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In an alternative embodiment, the system determines priority of re-allocation of seats based first upon patrons that have seats that may also be re-allocated. That is, the systems attempts to maximize the number of re-allocations by prioritizing the re-allocation based upon seats that may be re-allocated after already being re-allocated. For example, if front row seats in a stadium are available to be re-allocated, in this alternative embodiment, patrons that are in the next closest section for example on the field level would be upgraded first to those seats. Then, patrons with less preferred seats, for example, in the upper deck would be re-allocated to the seats that have now become available from the patrons that have been upgraded to the front row. Thus, using this alternative priority scheme, the present invention maximizes the re-allocation numbers. Of course, this priority algorithm may be combined with additional factors, for example, relating to subscriber/patron value. As described above, additional factors may be utilized in the algorithm to determine the subscriber or set of subscribers to offer the upgrade.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally rate the upgraded patron, for example, for appropriate behavior, wearing of excessively large hats, drunkenness behavior, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the re-allocation algorithm for future upgrades to the patron.

In alternative embodiments, the patrons eligible for the upgrade may be notified using standard email communications over a wireless device, mobile telephone, and/or other standard communication means. For example, standard text-to-voice and/or voice-to-text communications may be used to contact the patron to evaluate whether an upgrade will be accepted and to actually accept the upgrade.

In another embodiment of the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that have already purchased tickets in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats and/or may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets at any time prior to and/or after beginning of game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron may be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention or even at any location when being offered upgrades and/or seats well in advance of the game. For example, the present invention can upgrade or sell tickets to patrons well in advance of the game since it advantageously is permitted or has the authority to resell tickets either via ticket holders that do not show up during the game and/or, for example, season ticket holders that have authorized the stadium in advance to resell their tickets based on predetermined criteria, for example, when the season ticket holder notifies the stadium that they will not be present at next weeks game.

In one optional embodiment of the invention, the patron presents the usher with the confirmation number which the usher can enter into a wireless device using a local or private wireless network, or can simply use a walkie talkie or telephone to call the dispatcher to confirm the upgrade and/or new seats using the customer provided confirmation number. The dispatcher will have access to the system to enter the confirmation number to confirm the validity of the upgrade. Alternatively, a patron will retain their old ticket. The patron will give in the old ticket to the usher which is scanned or barcoded by the usher for immediate identification of new seats and used in place of, or in addition to, confirmation number.

Of course, the confirmation may optionally be made via customer name with an appropriate identification card or other information. Further, alternative methods may be used to verify that the confirmation number and/or ticket being used by the patron is valid. For example, the patron may be equipped with a printing device associated with the wireless device or download an actual ticket on line from home prior to the game for the new ticket or upgrade. Alternatively, the patron may be equipped with an identifier card, optionally including a bar code with a unique identifier relating to the patron's account information and profile that can be scanned for additional convenience. Alternatively, a wireless device may be used to securely store this type of identification and/or account information.

In at least one alternative embodiment of the invention, the patron may comprise optionally a corporate account that has a number of tickets, for example, season tickets. In this embodiment, the corporate account may have associated therewith a plurality of email addresses or other communication addresses to transmit the seat or upgrade offer to a number of potential patrons that may rotate their attendance at the games. In accordance with this optional embodiment, multiple emails can be stored for a single user/corporate account, and the system may transmit individual messages to all email addresses, or may only transmit messages to individual patrons for corporate account that individually advise the system that they are associated with a particular ticket/bar code for a particular game and will be/are present at a particular game.

In an alternative embodiment, patrons may enter the stadium and subsequently inform the system that they are present and interested in an upgrade via a kiosk where the patron can scan a bar code and enter their customer number to be eligible for upgrades during the game. The system is then able to transmit a message to the customer, assuming that the customer has pre-registered with the system with the appropriate contact information. Alternatively, or in addition to individual use of a kiosk(s), the customer sales office may have a kiosk or additional functionality to enter the customer name and/or customer account and scan in the bar coded ticket on the spot to register each patron as they enter the stadium or venue.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron upon entry in the stadium to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept when an offer is received by the patron at a predetermined time. The graphical map may comprise a small booklet with a map of the stadium showing seat locations, and optionally a game schedule.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provides additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally be eligible for a dating or matching service where patrons register and provide profile information to the system and/or through a third service provider dating service. Once the system knows that the patrons will be coming to the game and/or have actually checked in to the stadium, the system can then arrange for the two, four, etc. patrons to meet each other by allocating and/or re-allocating seats to the patrons together. Thus, based on profile information, customer request and availability, the system is able to upgrade or sell tickets to patrons to maximize their chances of meeting someone at the game. This optional feature provides significant potential enjoyment for the patrons participating in this dating or connection program. In accordance with this embodiment, one possible sequence of acceptance steps involves profile matching the two patrons (or groups of patrons) based on predetermined profile information; transmitting a first message to the first patron regarding availability of the second patron and requesting a conditional acceptance form the first patron; transmitting a second message to the second patron indicating that the first patron has conditionally accepted and request the second patron to accept; and when the second patron accepts before the first patron has rescinded the conditional acceptance, finalizing the upgrade and/or seat allocation for the first and second patrons. This embodiment of the invention is a complete reverse from typical dating and/or matchmaking services which attempt to develop detailed algorithms for the matching process because of the significant decision that exists in determining who to spend valuable time with. In accordance with the invention, patrons are already present at the game, and therefore, half or more than half the effort is already done. The remainder is to actually meet the other person which can be accomplished with profile criteria, whether or not the algorithms are very sophisticated.

In one embodiment, the patrons that are being matched have their original seats maintained and not made available for other upgrades in the event the matching does not work out early on. In this embodiment, one or both the patrons can return to their original seat. Hopefully, there will not be a significant argument of who would need to return to their original seat if an upgrade is actually performed. In addition, in accordance with this embodiment, the seats that are selected do not necessarily have to be better seats in the classical sense. That is, seats further away from other ticket holders might be considered preferred when matching two individuals for the first time. Alternatively, couple that would prefer a little more privacy or quieter game might request to be moved to a more isolated area. Alternatively, families with small children might prefer to be moved to a less busy area as well during the game where the children might be able to freely move around. All these scenarios and/or alternatives are possible in view of the present invention. The advantage of performing a match in a public setting is that the patrons do not have to worry about leaving or ending the date, and also do not have to worry that the other person will have their home address.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like.

In addition, this feature also optionally permits the patrons that have participated in the program to rate one another for future dates. For example, one patron can rate the conversational benefits of the second patron, the appearance of the second patron, the overall short term versus long terms relationship goals of the patron, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the algorithm for future seat assignments, re-allocations and/or upgrades in the future for the first and second patrons, and all other patrons will now benefit with the additional profile information of the first and second patrons. The matching service may be for amusement or work related networking purposes, for example, to meet an executive that the patron currently works with or wishes to work with/sell in the future.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like. In addition, the system advantageously and optionally provides the feature of allowing patrons to text message one another directly, and/or exchange pictures via wireless email, text messaging, and other wireless devices that provide the standard capability of exchanging pictures, such a T Mobile and/or Sprint.

In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder can call in via a voice to text message, text message and/or email and let the stadium know early that they are not coming. In this manner the ticket holder obtains the convenience of the stadium or venue reselling their tickets in advance, thereby providing the venue with additional time to maximize the resale of the ticket.

In alternative embodiments, when the patron enters the stadium, they have their ticket barcoded or other device that detects their presence can bu used such as infrared, Bluetooth, etc., and then they can become eligible for an upgrade. The patron can register in advance that they want to receive upgrades by providing their name, message address, e.g., email, telephone text message address, etc., and optionally their credit card or other payment mechanism for upgrades that actually cost money as opposed to free upgrades. In alternative embodiments, the patron can register at the ticket booth when purchasing their original ticket. In this scenario, the stadium representative can enter this information on behalf of, and with the permission of, the patron since the patron may already be providing their credit card, debit card, etc. to purchase the original tickets. Alternatively or in addition, a kiosk may be provided where the patron can enter their original ticket, e.g., scan in their original ticket and provide their name and text message information in the stadium to register for a one time upgrade for the game after purchasing, for example, a regular admission ticket.

In alternative embodiments, an usher can verify that the patron should be upgraded by the patron providing the confirmation number that may be transmitted in real-time by the system, and/or by the patron using their original confirmation number or original ticket with barcode or other identification means, such as a smart card, infrared reader, etc. that represents original ticket and presenting same to the user. The usher then needs only to scan in the original ticket and the system will verify whether the patron associated with the original ticket is valid and whether the upgrade is valid.

In alternative embodiments, a warning message may be sent to the ticket holder that has not shown up to game warning them that if they do not respond within a certain time period that their seat will be re-allocated or re-assigned to another patron. Similarly, a release message may be sent to the ticket holder after their seat has actually been released and/or re-allocated, thereby notifying the patron that if they change their mind in attending the game, they will have to obtain an additional ticket. In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder that has their seat released and re-allocated can be themselves re-allocated a similar, worse or better seat, depending on, for example, their subscriber value and/or other criteria. For example, if the patron is provided a better seat, this will encourage them to more readily give up their seats in the future even if they are attending the game. On the other hand, if the patron is provided a worse seat, then this encourages them not to artificially give up or have their seat released when attending the game. Accordingly, the present invention is designed to deal with various behavioral patterns of specific ticket holders, and may optionally and advantageously be a ticket holder specific with respect to various criteria for re-assigning, releasing, selling and/or re-allocating tickets.

In alternative embodiments, the system transmits to the ticket holder a welcome message after being upgraded and after having being moved to a new upgraded seat location. In one embodiment, the system identifies that the patron has been successfully upgraded after the patron provides the usher with a confirmation number or original ticket, which is then verified by the usher and system.

In alternative embodiments, the system, after having identified which patrons have checked into the stadium and/or have been upgraded, transmits a trivia question and/or additional advertisements to all patrons attending the game. In alternative embodiments, the information is transmitted to both patrons that are attending the game and additional patrons that have registered in the past to receive information but that are not attending the game. The participants can, for example, answer trivia questions and respond with their wireless device. Depending on whether the patron is attending the game or not, the system may determine to offer or deal with each of the patrons differently. For example, for patrons at the game, winners may be successively determined and narrowed, as patrons successfully and unsuccessfully answer questions, round after round of questions in a ?spelling bee? format. For patrons that are not attending the game, winners may be declared, or statistics provided to the broadcast station that can be aired on television. In yet additional alternative embodiments, instead of transmitting information/questions to the patrons via the wireless device, the information/questions are displayed on the stadium billboard for patrons at the game and/or on television for patrons that are watching the game on television. The patron can then merely respond via the device, e.g., the telephone accordingly via a voice-to-text system or via other mobile devices via text messaging.

In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of additional advertising sponsorship to the venue. For example, in one embodiment, the venue is partitioned into different locations that may be assigned to different sponsors. In one embodiment, the sponsor that provides the most value may be assigned a certain number of premium seats that are not available to other sponsors.

For example, the sponsor may offer a discount on the upgrade if you are a Verizon or Verizon Wireless customer or they credit your cell account for each seat upgrade or you get say 30 free minutes, etc. In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of one wireless provider to advertise on another wireless providers mobile phone or wireless device. For example, if Verizon Wireless is a sponsor of the upgrade system for a particular stadium, the present invention will still work with, for example, AT&T, SPRINT, and CINGULAR customers. An advertisement message sent with the upgrade offer may read on the AT&T phone, ?brought to you by Verizon Wireless.? In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, text messaging is optionally used for mobile phones to perform the message communication of the present invention. The user is only required, in one embodiment, to reply or respond with a ?Yes? to accept the upgrade offer since the user has advantageously pre-registered with the system, thereby minimizing the required communication/input by the user. In an alternative embodiment, the user, instead of pre-registering with the system, is charged on their wireless or even regular telephone number bill when they accept the upgrade offer. Thus, the wireless system that either administers the user's regular or wireless account or the upgrade sponsor may be responsible for actually billing the customer in this alternative embodiment.

In the alternative embodiment when text messaging is optionally used alone or in combination with other communication methods, the system provides the additional advantage of maximizing bandwidth usage by not requiring use of bandwidth on the wireless voice system, thereby maximizing system resources.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention optionally and advantageously provides a security and/or safety feature in the event of, for example, a minor event where a parent gets separated from a child, a disaster or other event that might require evacuation of the stadium. In one embodiment, the person needing help provides their name to an attendant that can search the system for the contact information of their companion/parent. The system can thereafter send an email and/or text message to the companion/parent regarding the status of that person and provide instructions for meeting that person or arranging help, authorizing medical procedures, and the like. In another embodiment, the person requiring help, e.g., a child provides the attendant or kiosk with their ticket which can, e.g., scan the bar code or other reader system. The system can either automatically provide a text message to the parent who can then reply to the child/attendant via the kiosk to meet the child.

Alternatively, the parent can be instructed to meet the child at a predetermined location, and to stop looking for the child because the child was found. Thus, for this example, the person who is lost or separated from their party can notify security or access a kiosk. Security can, for example, notify the parent that child is in safe custody, and should not search the stadium, and therefore, meet outside stadium in a pre-specified safe place.

In an alternative embodiment, if a child/person is separated, the security guard/kiosk can arrange the best place to meet, either in or outside the stadium, together based on an optional global positioning system (GPS). In addition, the party with the mobile device can be provided directions on where to go to meet their party from who they have been separated.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention may also be used in a security, defense and/or safety setting to direct patrons in a stadium for an orderly evacuation or notify patrons regarding status of a safety related event via, for example, a broadcast message including text message, email and the like. In this manner, system communication resources may be most efficiently utilized by not over-utilizing the system via voice communication, unless completely necessary. For example, the message can be broadcast in the event of an impending hurricane. In this situation, patrons in different sections get different messages, for example, to exit the stadium out of gates/exits that are either less occupied or closest to the section the patrons are sitting in. Advantageously, the present invention has the patrons contact information, including optionally and advantageously text messaging, that can be broadcast or sent to different patrons. The advantage of text messaging is that the bandwidth is more efficiently used in the event of an emergency, and there are no busy signals as in a voice network. Further, the message is send, and if the network is at capacity, the system can automatically resend or the message will be placed in queue and sent as soon as capacity becomes available.

In another alternative embodiment of the invention, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction.

For instance, in sporting venues the bracelet ticket includes the machine readable information that comprises at least one of a bar code and radio frequency identifier used for security check in, and optionally check out. In this manner, the standard reading machines that can scan the bar code or RFID information can keep track of people that have checked into the sporting event and/or venue. Advantageously, the machine readable information on the bracelet can also be used by the venue in the event the patrons seat assignment is modified, for example, via an electronic ticket exchange or upgrade program. In this embodiment, the visible indicia are no longer valid for the actual seating that may be dynamically changed and only represents optionally an initial seat assignment. However, the machine readable information may be used as a code to reference the specific patron and assign that patron a new seat. Thus, when the ticket reader scans the ticket and actually identifies, for example, the bar code, this information can be used to reference the patron, update and/or confirm the patron's current seat via the reader used, for example, by ushers in the venue, kiosk, entrance to the venue, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction. This information, as previously mentioned, may be visually cognizable for the patron and in combination, readable by electronic means if the bracelet includes a magnetic strip, bar code imprinting, or RF chip.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the security bracelet and ticket combination of the present invention advantageously includes a bar code or other machine readable information such as a RFID device. When, for example, a child is separated form their parent, the parent can notify security and the seat number associated with the child. If the child attempts to leave with their bar code/identifier, the system detects the bar code/identifier as either being valid and identifying the child that is missing or being invalid and raising another red flag. In an alternative embodiment, the bar codes/identifiers associated between children and adults correspond such that the child identifier must be within a predetermined time and/or number of checking out identifiers from/within the adult identifier. If this does not occur, the system determines that the child is leaving without their parent, and possibly being abducted.

In an alternative embodiment, the system links one or more tickets/identifiers together and requires the tickets/identifiers to exit the venue or event within a predetermined time period from one another and/or within a predetermined number of tickets/identifiers that have exited the venue and/or event. In the event that one ticket/identifier exits the venue or event and the associated identifier does not, then an alarm or other indictor occurs, and the attendants will detain the patrons that have initiated the alarm to for security purposes.

In an alternative embodiment, the tickets are advantageously coded with designations such as adult, child and the like. In the event a child ticket/identifier exits the stadium before the associated adult and/or more that a predetermined time period and/or number of patrons exiting, the system can initiate an alarm so that an attendant can determine if a child has exited the venue or event without their parent or with a wrong parent potentially averting a kidnapping. In this embodiment, an additional combination is the use of the standard fast pass feature, for example, at theme parks, and the like, where the venue records predetermined events that the user of the card enters in a faster line. In this embodiment, if a child ticket/identifier is not associated with a parent ticket/identifier, for example, as described above, the child may be denied entry into the event or venue if not accompanied by their parent. In alternative embodiments, the venue/event sponsor or organizer associates tickets upon request from the patron. In addition, in another alternative embodiment, a kiosk is provided inside and/or outside the venue for, for example, parents to register their tickets and have them associated with their children's tickets to prevent he child from exiting the venue without them, for example, as described above.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system and method are adapted to utilize any type of wireless device with different interface and communication options. For example, different wireless devices have different constraints with respect to the interface, e.g., number of characters, how the subject and body of the messages are used/communicated, etc. Accordingly, the present invention optionally provides a protocol conversion system depending on the type of wireless device and the wireless device constraints, including message constraints and/or the wireless communication system. In alternative embodiments, the system determines the wireless device provider based on the address received from the wireless device, and is able to automatically determine the type of message and/or message constraints and transmission constraints associated therewith based for example, on real-time information or on pre-determined stored information on the device and/or communication system. Accordingly, a protocol conversion system for different wireless devices is provided by the present invention for sending and/or receiving messages, such as upgrade offers, responses, acceptances, and the like, from a variety of different users/mobile devices and wireless systems.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, a security bracelet is advantageously utilized, for example, such as the security bracelet disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/680,207, filed on Oct. 8, 2003, to Abraham I. Reifer, et al., and incorporated herein by reference, in the event of a reported event, security breach, abduction, and the like. In this embodiment, all patrons exiting the stadium must show their ticket and/or identifier so that the venue can check all patrons out of the stadium. Thus, for example, if two kidnappers come in the stadium, and want to use one bracelet for a child, the second kidnapper will be stranded in the stadium. In addition, if one kidnapper buys two tickets, then upon exit with the child and the additional ticket, a barcode/identifier will be exiting without ever having checked in, and then the alarm will go off as well.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention provides a broadcast message to warn patrons of an event, such as an advertisement, sale and/or even a weather related event such as a hurricane that might require the venue to be evacuated. Advantageously, in at least one embodiment, the broadcast message comprises standard text messaging that optimizes or better utilizes capacity form the communication system. Thus, when using text messaging capabilities, the present invention efficiently transmits text messages to numerous subscribers regarding, for example, exit information, contacting and/or meeting additional parties that have been separated, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the present invention optionally provides the capability to penetrate into secondary market with season ticket holders selling ahead of time the games they will not be attending. For example, the present invention optionally provides the feature for the season ticket holder and/or general ticket purchaser the ability to view in advance of the season and/or game the schedule, and to alert the venue and/or stadium of games and/or events they will not be attending, thereby permitting the stadium/venue to attempt to resell the tickets to other patrons. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the patron is provided with a monthly schedule listing the events that may be attended. The patron, such as a season ticket holder, may then click or place an indicator on all games they will not be attending for the season in advance, thereby providing the stadium with the ability to resell tickets well in advance of the event. Once the patron completes identifying games that will not be attended, the system then compiles a list and transmits the list to the patron for an optional confirmation. This list is then used by the system to release seats well in advance of the game. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, registered users of the system for, for example, upgrades, may also be notified of seat availability for sales prior to the game/event. In an alternative of this embodiment, registered users may receive text messages, emails, and the like, notifying them advantageously of the availability of seats that heretofore have never been easily available to the public for sale, thereby allowing the venue to participate in secondary market ticket sales.

In one alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system/process of the present invention provides or operates as a middle person/broker between the ticket holder that is returning tickets to the venue, such as the season ticket holder, and a ticket sales system and/or company, such as tickets.com, by notifying the tickets company of the newly available seats via notification by the ticket holder, such as the season ticket holder of season ticket games not being attended.

In one alternative embodiment of the invention, the system and/or process transmits text messages, emails and the like, to offer tickets and/or seats and/or admittance to subscribers for events and/or games with empty seats even before game. Thus, the present invention allows the venue to participate in the secondary ticket sales market and the upgrade market, thereby increasing revenue and fan loyalty.

Of course, all of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event, and/or venue that require tickets for entry thereof.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the use of machine readable identifiers provides advantages for, for example, the upgrade program or ticket exchange of the present invention. For example, when the upgrade, re-allocation and/or electronic ticket is issued, the machine readable identifier, for example, the bar code, on the original ticket is invalidated, thereby preventing use of the invalidated ticket. Accordingly, when a new ticket holder purchases the ticket form the season ticket holder, the new purchaser will be issued a new machine readable identifier, and optionally a new paper ticket. The present invention advantageously is able to handle the issuance of a new ticket and invalidates the old ticket and optionally the old identifier that has, for example, been returned by the season ticket holder, thereby providing dynamic ticketing capability.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the new patron obtains a new identifier such as a barcode, the old bar code of, for example, the season ticket holder is invalidated. In one embodiment of the invention, season ticket holders are offered to opt in the upgrade process. Various commercial incentives are possible for the season ticket holder to opt in the upgrade process, such as monetary compensation when their ticket is used for an upgrade and/or resold whether they express their intention not to go to the game prior to the game, and the like. Alternatively, season ticket holders may be offered that the cost of their season tickets will, for example, remain the same as the previous year or be reduced if they participate in the program. Therefore, the combination season ticket trade-in and upgrade program in one embodiment of the invention will be beneficial to season ticket holders by allowing them to trade when they already know that they have no intention of attending a game, and allow the season ticket holder to recoup some cost of the season tickets if they do not attend and their ticket is used as an upgrade. In addition, additional patrons of the event and/or sports team are permitted to attend the game in locations/seats that they might never have been able to obtain access to. Further, the venue/stadium/team maximize revenues by being able to place tickets on the secondary market when the ticket holder notifies the venue early enough that they are not attending the event, the venue also obtains additional revenue from upgrades when tickets are upgraded, and the venue obtains additional fan loyalty.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the system provides the ability to advertise via email, text messaging, and the like, for one wireless carrier on the wireless device that is using another wireless carrier. Since the user of the wireless device has requested the service, the user appropriately receives the communication from the ticketing system of the present invention, and therefore, also appropriately received the advertisement from the wireless carrier that is different than the wireless carrier that the user of the wireless may be using at that time.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, offers to purchase seats either during the game or even well in advance of the game are ?pushed? or transmitted out to registered users that have supplied their wireless and/or Internet addresses. For example, patrons can register in advance for the upgrade and/or regular ticket offers to purchase admittance via various methods including the Internet. When seats band/or admittance becomes available, a broadcast message or other standard messages may be transmitted to the registered patrons to notify them of the seat availability. Thus, seat offers are ?pushed? to registered users that have requested this service advantageously to a wireless device and/or other address including standard telephone communication, as well as additional optional advertisements. The system, in one alternative embodiment, provides the user the option when registering to accept certain types of advertisements to be received on their wireless device via email and/or text messaging. In other embodiments, the user does not have the option of which advertisements to receive.

Advantageously, in accordance with one alternative embodiment of the present invention, if a patron decides to attend an event such as a sporting event when the patron does not have time to wait to receive paper tickets (e.g., the patron is visiting in another city/location and does not have time to wait to receive tickets via mail and is on the go), the system of the present invention transmits a ticket to the patron via, for example, a wireless communication system and/or other standard electronic communication system such as the Internet, and the patron can present their ticket, for example, on their wireless device and show up to game.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Patrons then text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers. The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system uses a seat database to determine which of the reserved seats are currently in use. The system may integrate with the seat database system of a venue and/or stadium or optionally be used in parallel with the seat venue/stadium database. For example, prior to the event, the system may utilize the seat database of the venue to determine available seating and patrons that do not show up after a predetermined period of time. Alternatively, the present invention can operate using a separate database from the event/venue by copying or building a separate database used for the ticketing and/or upgrading according to the present invention. In this alternative, as patrons enter the venue, they are checked in directly to this separate database. At the time of the event, the system will be able to check-in patrons using either the identification system, e.g., bar code scanner, of the event or venue, or provide a separate identification system.

In alternative embodiments of the invention, the patron that knows they are attending the game but is going to be late can send in a HOLD message even prior to being provided a warning message that their seats are to be released if the patron does not respond to the message with the HOLD request. That is, in this embodiment, since the patron already knows well in advance that they are attending the game, but perhaps stuck in traffic, the patron can initiate the HOLD message before even being warned in advance of the possibility of their seat being released.

In another alternative embodiment, patrons that have registered with the system and optionally checked into the stadium and/or venue in advance and who also know that they would like an upgrade and/or ticket, may initiate their own upgrade request to the system to notify the system of their willingness to purchase an upgrade and/or new ticket for the event/venue. The system may then place these patrons on a higher priority since they have already expressed and intent and/or willingness to purchase the upgrade or ticket. The patron may notify the event and/or stadium of their willingness optionally well in advance of the game or near/after game time at a time which the patron commits or expresses an additional heightened desire to upgrade and/or purchase a ticket.

In alternative embodiments, the system includes the advantage of allowing patrons to register free for a predetermined period of time, for example, for the first year, without paying a yearly subscriber fee. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system provides the patron with their first upgrade for free or for a reduced rate to further encourage the patron to register with the system and method of the present invention. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system of the present invention offers the patron reduced and/or free concessions when purchasing a membership, ticket and/or upgrade to further encourage the patron to participate in the offers of the present invention.

In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the matching system and/or process, permits participants in the program to initiate a message to the system with the seat location and/or name of the patron that they would like to be matched with for a meeting, networking and/or socializing such as a date. In this embodiment, the system may the push the message to the other subscriber and assign new seats to the individuals that are to be matched. Alternatively, the system Need not require a specific confirmation that the second individual to be notified of the potential match is physically located near the first individual, but can rely on the first individual to provide that information. For example, the first individual may see a potential date in a restaurant, and may then send a message to the system with that person's name or address, that they would like to meet that other individual. In that situation, the second individual will receive a message of the possible match, and can respond and accept or reject the offer to meet. The second individual can then provide a meeting destination or the system can suggest a meeting place based on the first individual advising the system of their location, and the location of the second individual.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Advantageously, the multiple choice questions each have unique selections, such as a1, b1, c1 and d1 for question #1; a2, b2, c2, and d2 for question #2; a3, b3, c3 and d3 for question #3, and the like. In this embodiment, the actual timing of questions is not necessary since each question and answer is unique. Therefore, the speed of responding to the question is immaterial to the winner of the contest and/or correct answer. Also, in the event one patron answers the question late, there will be no confusion which question the patron is submitting an answer for. Patrons text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers as indicated above using the unique set of answers, in one embodiment. In alternative embodiments, the first predetermined number of patrons that answer the question correctly are considered the winners.

The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, e.g., a1 50%, b1 28%, c1 12% and d1 10%, and display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

As discussed above, one or more of the above alternative embodiments may be incorporated into the embodiments described above, and/or any of the embodiments discussed below. Furthermore, any of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event.

FIG. 26 is a flowchart of a fourth embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 26, the process begins as all tickets are checked in, for example, as the patrons enter the reserved seating area, such as a stadium or theater, through, for example, bar code readers, scanners, infrared readers, and/or manually or other method where the patron is checked in, either at the gate, seat or other location. For example, patrons can optionally check in a predetermined time before the event through a wireless device, Internet connection, manual or voice recognition telephone, or other manner. The important point is to provide a standard manner for allowing patrons to check in, and if the patron fails to check in using a predetermined procedure, to allow that seat to be provided to another willing patron in accordance with a process to be described below. Currently, such a process is impossible and unthinkable in view of the difficulty reserved seating events have in simply getting the patrons seated prior to the beginning of the event. The present invention represents a revolutionary process to enhance event enjoyment, earn patron loyalty and optionally provide additional revenues to the theater/stadium or optionally other patrons with the desirable ticket.

The check in procedure continues for a predetermined period of time until a predetermined time period has expired, for example, 5 minutes before the event begins, 10 minutes after the event begins, after a predetermined event, such as the second act of a play, and the like. Once the predetermined time period or event has been completed, the check in procedure may be considered completed to begin the seat re-ocation allocation process. To begin the seat re-ocation allocation process, a re-allocation algorithm is used to re-assign seats for patrons that are willing or interested in different or better seats. Such re-allocation processes or algorithms may include a random process, a process where priority patrons are given priority for re-ignment assignment of seat, a process where patrons are willing to pay additional for the re-assignment to either the theater or the individual patron whose seat is being provided to another patron, frequent event patrons, season ticket patrons, or other predetermined process.

If the patron that is identified by the re-allocation process is determined to be present in the theater, for example, via mobile telephone, wireless device, and/or manual verification, an optional sub-process determines whether the patron's optional profile is also satisfied with the available seating. If the optional subscriber profile is not satisfied, then the re-allocation process searches for another possible patron. If the optional profile sub-process is satisfied, then the eligible patron is notified via one or more means, such as announcement, manually, wireless device, mobile telephone, bulletin board, and/or other means. The patron is then notified and presented with the option of moving for free, use of award points, additional money to the theater and/or patron to whose seat is being provided, or other predetermined criteria to obtain the seat. The patron, of course has the option to decline, and if so, the process continues and returns to the re-allocation process to attempt to locate another possible patron.

If no confirmation is received from the patron for a predetermined period of time, the re-allocation process continues to wait until the predetermined period of time has expired. Once the predetermined period of time has expired and there is no response received from the patron provided with the option of changing their seat, the patron is cleared or removed from the eligible list, and the seat is considered or assigned empty status for the re-allocation algorithm to be again implemented.

If the patron accepts and a confirmation is received, payment of money or other means may be effectuated on the spot via the wireless device, credit card, debit card, points, and the like, and the patron may now move to the other seat. The patron's seat may then optionally be made available as an empty seat to the re-allocation process. If a predetermined period of time has not expired, then the re-allocation process may be run again to optionally continuously re-allocate seats. The patron may optionally store the up-graded ticket on a wireless device for proof of entrance to the better seating area. Optionally, the seat and/or row and/or section, includes a separate reader device to receive optionally the original ticket that is now re-allocated to a better seat, or a new ticket that may optionally be received by the patron via the wireless device and/or manually via a worker in the theater or stadium.

Of course, the re-allocation algorithm does not have to be run or implemented one patron at a time, but may be run to re-allocate or re-assign a plurality of patrons. If one patron or higher priority patron does not accept, then the next already generated patron may be queried to determine whether the next patron desires the seat re-allocation. Further, the system optionally downloads instructions on how to get to the new location, and can provide step-by-step instructions using an optional standard global positioning system (GPS) incorporated in, or as a separate accessory to, the wireless device.

In accordance with the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets very near to game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron must be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept.

In one alternative embodiment, if the patron that has their ticket re-allocated in error, e.g., because the patron did not show up to the event based on the predetermined criteria but the patron was still planning on attending because they forgot about their seat being re-allocated, the system can re-allocate seats immediately upon the checking in of the patron and notify them that their seats have changed because they are late. In this situation, the stadium/venue might decide to further upgrade the patrons because of the mistake.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the process of the present invention specifically reserves seats of the highest or very high rating that are considered preferred, in the event a patron's seat is re-allocated prematurely or erroneously. In this situation, the patron who has had their seat re-allocated because they will likely receive an even better seat as a result of the mistaken (stadium or patron) or premature seat re-allocation.

In another embodiment of the present invention, as patrons are entering the venue or stadium, they are provided advantageously with a map of the stadium so patrons can analyze the potential upgrade to make a decision whether the upgraded seats are sufficiently good or of value to warrant the patron moving and/or paying for the additional upgrade. By handing the patron the map of the stadium, the process of the the present invention is not required to transmit a detailed schematic to the patron's wireless device which would not normally be able to effectively permit the patron to evaluate the proposed upgrade seats. The map that is handed out may optionally include information for patrons on where to register for the upgrade and/or additional advertisement opportunities.

In one alternative embodiment, the patron that has purchased the ticket, for example, a season ticket holder, may advise the stadium that for a particular game, set of games or all games, they do not want their seats to be re-allocated, and perhaps, an additional fee is assessed for this type of patron. If the stadium provides the ability for the patron to selectively opt out of the seat re-allocation, the patron can, for example, connect to the system via the Internet, public switched telephone network, cellular network, and the like, and notify the system that they do not want their ticket re-allocated, for example, because they are coming late to the event. Other means of notifying the system and/or other reasons may be utilized in connection with the present invention.

In another alternative embodiment, the system provides patrons the ability to individually select when their tickets may be re-allocated. For example, one patron may prefer to only give up their ticket if they are late to the game by 15 minutes, while another patron may be willing to give up their ticket if they have not arrived 15 minutes before the game. In alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide incentives for the patron to have their ticket re-allocated prior to the game because it increases the stadiums chances of re-allocating/re-selling the ticket.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provide additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In an alternative embodiment, the system determines priority of re-allocation of seats based first upon patrons that have seats that may also be re-allocated. That is, the systems attempts to maximize the number of re-allocations by prioritizing the re-allocation based upon seats that may be re-allocated after already being re-allocated. For example, if front row seats in a stadium are available to be re-allocated, in this alternative embodiment, patrons that are in the next closest section for example on the field level would be upgraded first to those seats. Then, patrons with less preferred seats, for example, in the upper deck would be re-allocated to the seats that have now become available from the patrons that have been upgraded to the front row. Thus, using this alternative priority scheme, the present invention maximizes the re-allocation numbers. Of course, this priority algorithm may be combined with additional factors, for example, relating to subscriber/patron value. As described above, additional factors may be utilized in the algorithm to determine the subscriber or set of subscribers to offer the upgrade.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally rate the upgraded patron, for example, for appropriate behavior, wearing of excessively large hats, drunkenness behavior, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the re-allocation algorithm for future upgrades to the patron.

In alternative embodiments, the patrons eligible for the upgrade may be notified using standard email communications over a wireless device, mobile telephone, and/or other standard communication means. For example, standard text-to-voice and/or voice-to-text communications may be used to contact the patron to evaluate whether an upgrade will be accepted and to actually accept the upgrade.

In another embodiment of the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that have already purchased tickets in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats and/or may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets at any time prior to and/or after beginning of game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron may be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention or even at any location when being offered upgrades and/or seats well in advance of the game. For example, the present invention can upgrade or sell tickets to patrons well in advance of the game since it advantageously is permitted or has the authority to resell tickets either via ticket holders that do not show up during the game and/or, for example, season ticket holders that have authorized the stadium in advance to resell their tickets based on predetermined criteria, for example, when the season ticket holder notifies the stadium that they will not be present at next weeks game.

In one optional embodiment of the invention, the patron presents the usher with the confirmation number which the usher can enter into a wireless device using a local or private wireless network, or can simply use a walkie talkie or telephone to call the dispatcher to confirm the upgrade and/or new seats using the customer provided confirmation number. The dispatcher will have access to the system to enter the confirmation number to confirm the validity of the upgrade. Alternatively, a patron will retain their old ticket. The patron will give in the old ticket to the usher which is scanned or barcoded by the usher for immediate identification of new seats and used in place of, or in addition to, confirmation number.

Of course, the confirmation may optionally be made via customer name with an appropriate identification card or other information. Further, alternative methods may be used to verify that the confirmation number and/or ticket being used by the patron is valid. For example, the patron may be equipped with a printing device associated with the wireless device or download an actual ticket on line from home prior to the game for the new ticket or upgrade. Alternatively, the patron may be equipped with an identifier card, optionally including a bar code with a unique identifier relating to the patron's account information and profile that can be scanned for additional convenience. Alternatively, a wireless device may be used to securely store this type of identification and/or account information.

In at least one alternative embodiment of the invention, the patron may comprise optionally a corporate account that has a number of tickets, for example, season tickets. In this embodiment, the corporate account may have associated therewith a plurality of email addresses or other communication addresses to transmit the seat or upgrade offer to a number of potential patrons that may rotate their attendance at the games. In accordance with this optional embodiment, multiple emails can be stored for a single user/corporate account, and the system may transmit individual messages to all email addresses, or may only transmit messages to individual patrons for corporate account that individually advise the system that they are associated with a particular ticket/bar code for a particular game and will be/are present at a particular game.

In an alternative embodiment, patrons may enter the stadium and subsequently inform the system that they are present and interested in an upgrade via a kiosk where the patron can scan a bar code and enter their customer number to be eligible for upgrades during the game. The system is then able to transmit a message to the customer, assuming that the customer has pre-registered with the system with the appropriate contact information. Alternatively, or in addition to individual use of a kiosk(s), the customer sales office may have a kiosk or additional functionality to enter the customer name and/or customer account and scan in the bar coded ticket on the spot to register each patron as they enter the stadium or venue.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron upon entry in the stadium to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept when an offer is received by the patron at a predetermined time. The graphical map may comprise a small booklet with a map of the stadium showing seat locations, and optionally a game schedule.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provides additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally be eligible for a dating or matching service where patrons register and provide profile information to the system and/or through a third service provider dating service. Once the system knows that the patrons will be coming to the game and/or have actually checked in to the stadium, the system can then arrange for the two, four, etc. patrons to meet each other by allocating and/or re-allocating seats to the patrons together. Thus, based on profile information, customer request and availability, the system is able to upgrade or sell tickets to patrons to maximize their chances of meeting someone at the game. This optional feature provides significant potential enjoyment for the patrons participating in this dating or connection program. In accordance with this embodiment, one possible sequence of acceptance steps involves profile matching the two patrons (or groups of patrons) based on predetermined profile information; transmitting a first message to the first patron regarding availability of the second patron and requesting a conditional acceptance form the first patron; transmitting a second message to the second patron indicating that the first patron has conditionally accepted and request the second patron to accept; and when the second patron accepts before the first patron has rescinded the conditional acceptance, finalizing the upgrade and/or seat allocation for the first and second patrons. This embodiment of the invention is a complete reverse from typical dating and/or matchmaking services which attempt to develop detailed algorithms for the matching process because of the significant decision that exists in determining who to spend valuable time with. In accordance with the invention, patrons are already present at the game, and therefore, half or more than half the effort is already done. The remainder is to actually meet the other person which can be accomplished with profile criteria, whether or not the algorithms are very sophisticated.

In one embodiment, the patrons that are being matched have their original seats maintained and not made available for other upgrades in the event the matching does not work out early on. In this embodiment, one or both the patrons can return to their original seat. Hopefully, there will not be a significant argument of who would need to return to their original seat if an upgrade is actually performed. In addition, in accordance with this embodiment, the seats that are selected do not necessarily have to be better seats in the classical sense. That is, seats further away from other ticket holders might be considered preferred when matching two individuals for the first time. Alternatively, couple that would prefer a little more privacy or quieter game might request to be moved to a more isolated area. Alternatively, families with small children might prefer to be moved to a less busy area as well during the game where the children might be able to freely move around. All these scenarios and/or alternatives are possible in view of the present invention. The advantage of performing a match in a public setting is that the patrons do not have to worry about leaving or ending the date, and also do not have to worry that the other person will have their home address.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like.

In addition, this feature also optionally permits the patrons that have participated in the program to rate one another for future dates. For example, one patron can rate the conversational benefits of the second patron, the appearance of the second patron, the overall short term versus long terms relationship goals of the patron, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the algorithm for future seat assignments, re-allocations and/or upgrades in the future for the first and second patrons, and all other patrons will now benefit with the additional profile information of the first and second patrons. The matching service may be for amusement or work related networking purposes, for example, to meet an executive that the patron currently works with or wishes to work with/sell in the future.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like. In addition, the system advantageously and optionally provides the feature of allowing patrons to text message one another directly, and/or exchange pictures via wireless email, text messaging, and other wireless devices that provide the standard capability of exchanging pictures, such a T Mobile and/or Sprint.

In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder can call in via a voice to text message, text message and/or email and let the stadium know early that they are not coming. In this manner the ticket holder obtains the convenience of the stadium or venue reselling their tickets in advance, thereby providing the venue with additional time to maximize the resale of the ticket.

In alternative embodiments, when the patron enters the stadium, they have their ticket barcoded or other device that detects their presence can bu used such as infrared, Bluetooth, etc., and then they can become eligible for an upgrade. The patron can register in advance that they want to receive upgrades by providing their name, message address, e.g., email, telephone text message address, etc., and optionally their credit card or other payment mechanism for upgrades that actually cost money as opposed to free upgrades. In alternative embodiments, the patron can register at the ticket booth when purchasing their original ticket. In this scenario, the stadium representative can enter this information on behalf of, and with the permission of, the patron since the patron may already be providing their credit card, debit card, etc. to purchase the original tickets. Alternatively or in addition, a kiosk may be provided where the patron can enter their original ticket, e.g., scan in their original ticket and provide their name and text message information in the stadium to register for a one time upgrade for the game after purchasing, for example, a regular admission ticket.

In alternative embodiments, an usher can verify that the patron should be upgraded by the patron providing the confirmation number that may be transmitted in real-time by the system, and/or by the patron using their original confirmation number or original ticket with barcode or other identification means, such as a smart card, infrared reader, etc. that represents original ticket and presenting same to the user. The usher then needs only to scan in the original ticket and the system will verify whether the patron associated with the original ticket is valid and whether the upgrade is valid.

In alternative embodiments, a warning message may be sent to the ticket holder that has not shown up to game warning them that if they do not respond within a certain time period that their seat will be re-allocated or re-assigned to another patron. Similarly, a release message may be sent to the ticket holder after their seat has actually been released and/or re-allocated, thereby notifying the patron that if they change their mind in attending the game, they will have to obtain an additional ticket. In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder that has their seat released and re-allocated can be themselves re-allocated a similar, worse or better seat, depending on, for example, their subscriber value and/or other criteria. For example, if the patron is provided a better seat, this will encourage them to more readily give up their seats in the future even if they are attending the game. On the other hand, if the patron is provided a worse seat, then this encourages them not to artificially give up or have their seat released when attending the game. Accordingly, the present invention is designed to deal with various behavioral patterns of specific ticket holders, and may optionally and advantageously be a ticket holder specific with respect to various criteria for re-assigning, releasing, selling and/or re-allocating tickets.

In alternative embodiments, the system transmits to the ticket holder a welcome message after being upgraded and after having being moved to a new upgraded seat location. In one embodiment, the system identifies that the patron has been successfully upgraded after the patron provides the usher with a confirmation number or original ticket, which is then verified by the usher and system.

In alternative embodiments, the system, after having identified which patrons have checked into the stadium and/or have been upgraded, transmits a trivia question and/or additional advertisements to all patrons attending the game. In alternative embodiments, the information is transmitted to both patrons that are attending the game and additional patrons that have registered in the past to receive information but that are not attending the game. The participants can, for example, answer trivia questions and respond with their wireless device. Depending on whether the patron is attending the game or not, the system may determine to offer or deal with each of the patrons differently. For example, for patrons at the game, winners may be successively determined and narrowed, as patrons successfully and unsuccessfully answer questions, round after round of questions in a ?spelling bee? format. For patrons that are not attending the game, winners may be declared, or statistics provided to the broadcast station that can be aired on television. In yet additional alternative embodiments, instead of transmitting information/questions to the patrons via the wireless device, the information/questions are displayed on the stadium billboard for patrons at the game and/or on television for patrons that are watching the game on television. The patron can then merely respond via the device, e.g., the telephone accordingly via a voice-to-text system or via other mobile devices via text messaging.

In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of additional advertising sponsorship to the venue. For example, in one embodiment, the venue is partitioned into different locations that may be assigned to different sponsors. In one embodiment, the sponsor that provides the most value may be assigned a certain number of premium seats that are not available to other sponsors.

For example, the sponsor may offer a discount on the upgrade if you are a Verizon or Verizon Wireless customer or they credit your cell account for each seat upgrade or you get say 30 free minutes, etc. In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of one wireless provider to advertise on another wireless providers mobile phone or wireless device. For example, if Verizon Wireless is a sponsor of the upgrade system for a particular stadium, the present invention will still work with, for example, AT&T, SPRINT, and CINGULAR customers. An advertisement message sent with the upgrade offer may read on the AT&T phone, ?brought to you by Verizon Wireless.? In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, text messaging is optionally used for mobile phones to perform the message communication of the present invention. The user is only required, in one embodiment, to reply or respond with a ?Yes? to accept the upgrade offer since the user has advantageously pre-registered with the system, thereby minimizing the required communication/input by the user. In an alternative embodiment, the user, instead of pre-registering with the system, is charged on their wireless or even regular telephone number bill when they accept the upgrade offer. Thus, the wireless system that either administers the user's regular or wireless account or the upgrade sponsor may be responsible for actually billing the customer in this alternative embodiment.

In the alternative embodiment when text messaging is optionally used alone or in combination with other communication methods, the system provides the additional advantage of maximizing bandwidth usage by not requiring use of bandwidth on the wireless voice system, thereby maximizing system resources.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention optionally and advantageously provides a security and/or safety feature in the event of, for example, a minor event where a parent gets separated from a child, a disaster or other event that might require evacuation of the stadium. In one embodiment, the person needing help provides their name to an attendant that can search the system for the contact information of their companion/parent. The system can thereafter send an email and/or text message to the companion/parent regarding the status of that person and provide instructions for meeting that person or arranging help, authorizing medical procedures, and the like. In another embodiment, the person requiring help, e.g., a child provides the attendant or kiosk with their ticket which can, e.g., scan the bar code or other reader system. The system can either automatically provide a text message to the parent who can then reply to the child/attendant via the kiosk to meet the child.

Alternatively, the parent can be instructed to meet the child at a predetermined location, and to stop looking for the child because the child was found. Thus, for this example, the person who is lost or separated from their party can notify security or access a kiosk. Security can, for example, notify the parent that child is in safe custody, and should not search the stadium, and therefore, meet outside stadium in a pre-specified safe place.

In an alternative embodiment, if a child/person is separated, the security guard/kiosk can arrange the best place to meet, either in or outside the stadium, together based on an optional global positioning system (GPS). In addition, the party with the mobile device can be provided directions on where to go to meet their party from who they have been separated.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention may also be used in a security, defense and/or safety setting to direct patrons in a stadium for an orderly evacuation or notify patrons regarding status of a safety related event via, for example, a broadcast message including text message, email and the like. In this manner, system communication resources may be most efficiently utilized by not over-utilizing the system via voice communication, unless completely necessary. For example, the message can be broadcast in the event of an impending hurricane. In this situation, patrons in different sections get different messages, for example, to exit the stadium out of gates/exits that are either less occupied or closest to the section the patrons are sitting in. Advantageously, the present invention has the patrons contact information, including optionally and advantageously text messaging, that can be broadcast or sent to different patrons. The advantage of text messaging is that the bandwidth is more efficiently used in the event of an emergency, and there are no busy signals as in a voice network. Further, the message is send, and if the network is at capacity, the system can automatically resend or the message will be placed in queue and sent as soon as capacity becomes available.

In another alternative embodiment of the invention, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction.

For instance, in sporting venues the bracelet ticket includes the machine readable information that comprises at least one of a bar code and radio frequency identifier used for security check in, and optionally check out. In this manner, the standard reading machines that can scan the bar code or RFID information can keep track of people that have checked into the sporting event and/or venue. Advantageously, the machine readable information on the bracelet can also be used by the venue in the event the patrons seat assignment is modified, for example, via an electronic ticket exchange or upgrade program. In this embodiment, the visible indicia are no longer valid for the actual seating that may be dynamically changed and only represents optionally an initial seat assignment. However, the machine readable information may be used as a code to reference the specific patron and assign that patron a new seat. Thus, when the ticket reader scans the ticket and actually identifies, for example, the bar code, this information can be used to reference the patron, update and/or confirm the patron's current seat via the reader used, for example, by ushers in the venue, kiosk, entrance to the venue, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction. This information, as previously mentioned, may be visually cognizable for the patron and in combination, readable by electronic means if the bracelet includes a magnetic strip, bar code imprinting, or RF chip.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the security bracelet and ticket combination of the present invention advantageously includes a bar code or other machine readable information such as a RFID device. When, for example, a child is separated form their parent, the parent can notify security and the seat number associated with the child. If the child attempts to leave with their bar code/identifier, the system detects the bar code/identifier as either being valid and identifying the child that is missing or being invalid and raising another red flag. In an alternative embodiment, the bar codes/identifiers associated between children and adults correspond such that the child identifier must be within a predetermined time and/or number of checking out identifiers from/within the adult identifier. If this does not occur, the system determines that the child is leaving without their parent, and possibly being abducted.

In an alternative embodiment, the system links one or more tickets/identifiers together and requires the tickets/identifiers to exit the venue or event within a predetermined time period from one another and/or within a predetermined number of tickets/identifiers that have exited the venue and/or event. In the event that one ticket/identifier exits the venue or event and the associated identifier does not, then an alarm or other indictor occurs, and the attendants will detain the patrons that have initiated the alarm to for security purposes.

In an alternative embodiment, the tickets are advantageously coded with designations such as adult, child and the like. In the event a child ticket/identifier exits the stadium before the associated adult and/or more that a predetermined time period and/or number of patrons exiting, the system can initiate an alarm so that an attendant can determine if a child has exited the venue or event without their parent or with a wrong parent potentially averting a kidnapping. In this embodiment, an additional combination is the use of the standard fast pass feature, for example, at theme parks, and the like, where the venue records predetermined events that the user of the card enters in a faster line. In this embodiment, if a child ticket/identifier is not associated with a parent ticket/identifier, for example, as described above, the child may be denied entry into the event or venue if not accompanied by their parent. In alternative embodiments, the venue/event sponsor or organizer associates tickets upon request from the patron. In addition, in another alternative embodiment, a kiosk is provided inside and/or outside the venue for, for example, parents to register their tickets and have them associated with their children's tickets to prevent he child from exiting the venue without them, for example, as described above.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system and method are adapted to utilize any type of wireless device with different interface and communication options. For example, different wireless devices have different constraints with respect to the interface, e.g., number of characters, how the subject and body of the messages are used/communicated, etc. Accordingly, the present invention optionally provides a protocol conversion system depending on the type of wireless device and the wireless device constraints, including message constraints and/or the wireless communication system. In alternative embodiments, the system determines the wireless device provider based on the address received from the wireless device, and is able to automatically determine the type of message and/or message constraints and transmission constraints associated therewith based for example, on real-time information or on pre-determined stored information on the device and/or communication system. Accordingly, a protocol conversion system for different wireless devices is provided by the present invention for sending and/or receiving messages, such as upgrade offers, responses, acceptances, and the like, from a variety of different users/mobile devices and wireless systems.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, a security bracelet is advantageously utilized, for example, such as the security bracelet disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/680,207, filed on Oct. 8, 2003, to Abraham I. Reifer, et al., and incorporated herein by reference, in the event of a reported event, security breach, abduction, and the like. In this embodiment, all patrons exiting the stadium must show their ticket and/or identifier so that the venue can check all patrons out of the stadium. Thus, for example, if two kidnappers come in the stadium, and want to use one bracelet for a child, the second kidnapper will be stranded in the stadium. In addition, if one kidnapper buys two tickets, then upon exit with the child and the additional ticket, a barcode/identifier will be exiting without ever having checked in, and then the alarm will go off as well.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention provides a broadcast message to warn patrons of an event, such as an advertisement, sale and/or even a weather related event such as a hurricane that might require the venue to be evacuated. Advantageously, in at least one embodiment, the broadcast message comprises standard text messaging that optimizes or better utilizes capacity form the communication system. Thus, when using text messaging capabilities, the present invention efficiently transmits text messages to numerous subscribers regarding, for example, exit information, contacting and/or meeting additional parties that have been separated, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the present invention optionally provides the capability to penetrate into secondary market with season ticket holders selling ahead of time the games they will not be attending. For example, the present invention optionally provides the feature for the season ticket holder and/or general ticket purchaser the ability to view in advance of the season and/or game the schedule, and to alert the venue and/or stadium of games and/or events they will not be attending, thereby permitting the stadium/venue to attempt to resell the tickets to other patrons. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the patron is provided with a monthly schedule listing the events that may be attended. The patron, such as a season ticket holder, may then click or place an indicator on all games they will not be attending for the season in advance, thereby providing the stadium with the ability to resell tickets well in advance of the event. Once the patron completes identifying games that will not be attended, the system then compiles a list and transmits the list to the patron for an optional confirmation. This list is then used by the system to release seats well in advance of the game. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, registered users of the system for, for example, upgrades, may also be notified of seat availability for sales prior to the game/event. In an alternative of this embodiment, registered users may receive text messages, emails, and the like, notifying them advantageously of the availability of seats that heretofore have never been easily available to the public for sale, thereby allowing the venue to participate in secondary market ticket sales.

In one alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system/process of the present invention provides or operates as a middle person/broker between the ticket holder that is returning tickets to the venue, such as the season ticket holder, and a ticket sales system and/or company, such as tickets.com, by notifying the tickets company of the newly available seats via notification by the ticket holder, such as the season ticket holder of season ticket games not being attended.

In one alternative embodiment of the invention, the system and/or process transmits text messages, emails and the like, to offer tickets and/or seats and/or admittance to subscribers for events and/or games with empty seats even before game. Thus, the present invention allows the venue to participate in the secondary ticket sales market and the upgrade market, thereby increasing revenue and fan loyalty.

Of course, all of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event, and/or venue that require tickets for entry thereof.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the use of machine readable identifiers provides advantages for, for example, the upgrade program or ticket exchange of the present invention. For example, when the upgrade, re-allocation and/or electronic ticket is issued, the machine readable identifier, for example, the bar code, on the original ticket is invalidated, thereby preventing use of the invalidated ticket. Accordingly, when a new ticket holder purchases the ticket form the season ticket holder, the new purchaser will be issued a new machine readable identifier, and optionally a new paper ticket. The present invention advantageously is able to handle the issuance of a new ticket and invalidates the old ticket and optionally the old identifier that has, for example, been returned by the season ticket holder, thereby providing dynamic ticketing capability.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the new patron obtains a new identifier such as a barcode, the old bar code of, for example, the season ticket holder is invalidated. In one embodiment of the invention, season ticket holders are offered to opt in the upgrade process. Various commercial incentives are possible for the season ticket holder to opt in the upgrade process, such as monetary compensation when their ticket is used for an upgrade and/or resold whether they express their intention not to go to the game prior to the game, and the like. Alternatively, season ticket holders may be offered that the cost of their season tickets will, for example, remain the same as the previous year or be reduced if they participate in the program. Therefore, the combination season ticket trade-in and upgrade program in one embodiment of the invention will be beneficial to season ticket holders by allowing them to trade when they already know that they have no intention of attending a game, and allow the season ticket holder to recoup some cost of the season tickets if they do not attend and their ticket is used as an upgrade. In addition, additional patrons of the event and/or sports team are permitted to attend the game in locations/seats that they might never have been able to obtain access to. Further, the venue/stadium/team maximize revenues by being able to place tickets on the secondary market when the ticket holder notifies the venue early enough that they are not attending the event, the venue also obtains additional revenue from upgrades when tickets are upgraded, and the venue obtains additional fan loyalty.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the system provides the ability to advertise via email, text messaging, and the like, for one wireless carrier on the wireless device that is using another wireless carrier. Since the user of the wireless device has requested the service, the user appropriately receives the communication from the ticketing system of the present invention, and therefore, also appropriately received the advertisement from the wireless carrier that is different than the wireless carrier that the user of the wireless may be using at that time.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, offers to purchase seats either during the game or even well in advance of the game are ?pushed? or transmitted out to registered users that have supplied their wireless and/or Internet addresses. For example, patrons can register in advance for the upgrade and/or regular ticket offers to purchase admittance via various methods including the Internet. When seats band/or admittance becomes available, a broadcast message or other standard messages may be transmitted to the registered patrons to notify them of the seat availability. Thus, seat offers are ?pushed? to registered users that have requested this service advantageously to a wireless device and/or other address including standard telephone communication, as well as additional optional advertisements. The system, in one alternative embodiment, provides the user the option when registering to accept certain types of advertisements to be received on their wireless device via email and/or text messaging. In other embodiments, the user does not have the option of which advertisements to receive.

Advantageously, in accordance with one alternative embodiment of the present invention, if a patron decides to attend an event such as a sporting event when the patron does not have time to wait to receive paper tickets (e.g., the patron is visiting in another city/location and does not have time to wait to receive tickets via mail and is on the go), the system of the present invention transmits a ticket to the patron via, for example, a wireless communication system and/or other standard electronic communication system such as the Internet, and the patron can present their ticket, for example, on their wireless device and show up to game.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Patrons then text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers. The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system uses a seat database to determine which of the reserved seats are currently in use. The system may integrate with the seat database system of a venue and/or stadium or optionally be used in parallel with the seat venue/stadium database. For example, prior to the event, the system may utilize the seat database of the venue to determine available seating and patrons that do not show up after a predetermined period of time. Alternatively, the present invention can operate using a separate database from the event/venue by copying or building a separate database used for the ticketing and/or upgrading according to the present invention. In this alternative, as patrons enter the venue, they are checked in directly to this separate database. At the time of the event, the system will be able to check-in patrons using either the identification system, e.g., bar code scanner, of the event or venue, or provide a separate identification system.

In alternative embodiments of the invention, the patron that knows they are attending the game but is going to be late can send in a HOLD message even prior to being provided a warning message that their seats are to be released if the patron does not respond to the message with the HOLD request. That is, in this embodiment, since the patron already knows well in advance that they are attending the game, but perhaps stuck in traffic, the patron can initiate the HOLD message before even being warned in advance of the possibility of their seat being released.

In another alternative embodiment, patrons that have registered with the system and optionally checked into the stadium and/or venue in advance and who also know that they would like an upgrade and/or ticket, may initiate their own upgrade request to the system to notify the system of their willingness to purchase an upgrade and/or new ticket for the event/venue. The system may then place these patrons on a higher priority since they have already expressed and intent and/or willingness to purchase the upgrade or ticket. The patron may notify the event and/or stadium of their willingness optionally well in advance of the game or near/after game time at a time which the patron commits or expresses an additional heightened desire to upgrade and/or purchase a ticket.

In alternative embodiments, the system includes the advantage of allowing patrons to register free for a predetermined period of time, for example, for the first year, without paying a yearly subscriber fee. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system provides the patron with their first upgrade for free or for a reduced rate to further encourage the patron to register with the system and method of the present invention. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system of the present invention offers the patron reduced and/or free concessions when purchasing a membership, ticket and/or upgrade to further encourage the patron to participate in the offers of the present invention.

In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the matching system and/or process, permits participants in the program to initiate a message to the system with the seat location and/or name of the patron that they would like to be matched with for a meeting, networking and/or socializing such as a date. In this embodiment, the system may the push the message to the other subscriber and assign new seats to the individuals that are to be matched. Alternatively, the system Need not require a specific confirmation that the second individual to be notified of the potential match is physically located near the first individual, but can rely on the first individual to provide that information. For example, the first individual may see a potential date in a restaurant, and may then send a message to the system with that person's name or address, that they would like to meet that other individual. In that situation, the second individual will receive a message of the possible match, and can respond and accept or reject the offer to meet. The second individual can then provide a meeting destination or the system can suggest a meeting place based on the first individual advising the system of their location, and the location of the second individual.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Advantageously, the multiple choice questions each have unique selections, such as a1, b1, c1 and d1 for question #1; a2, b2, c2, and d2 for question #2; a3, b3, c3 and d3 for question #3, and the like. In this embodiment, the actual timing of questions is not necessary since each question and answer is unique. Therefore, the speed of responding to the question is immaterial to the winner of the contest and/or correct answer. Also, in the event one patron answers the question late, there will be no confusion which question the patron is submitting an answer for. Patrons text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers as indicated above using the unique set of answers, in one embodiment. In alternative embodiments, the first predetermined number of patrons that answer the question correctly are considered the winners.

The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, e.g., a1 50%, b1 28%, c1 12% and d1 10%, and display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

As discussed above, one or more of the above alternative embodiments may be incorporated into the embodiments described above, and/or any of the embodiments discussed below. Furthermore, any of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event.

FIG. 27 is a flowchart of a fifth embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 27, the process begins as all tickets are checked in, for example, as the patrons enter the reserved seating area, such as a stadium or theater, through, for example, bar code readers, scanners, infrared readers, and/or manually or other method where the patron is checked in, either at the gate, seat or other location. For example, patrons can optionally check in a predetermined time before the event through a wireless device, Internet connection, manual or voice recognition telephone, or other manner. The important point is to provide a standard manner for allowing patrons to check in, and if the patron fails to check in using a predetermined procedure, to allow that seat to be provided to another willing patron in accordance with a process to be described below. Currently, such a process is impossible and unthinkable in view of the difficulty reserved seating events have in simply getting the patrons seated prior to the beginning of the event. The present invention represents a revolutionary process to enhance event enjoyment, earn patron loyalty and optionally provide additional revenues to the theater/stadium or optionally other patrons with the desirable ticket.

The check in procedure continues for a predetermined period of time until a predetermined time period has expired, for example, 5 minutes before the event begins, 10 minutes after the event begins, after a predetermined event, such as the second act of a play, and the like. Once the predetermined time period or event has been completed, the check in procedure may be considered completed to begin the seat re-allocation process. To begin the seat re-allocation process, a re-allocation algorithm is used to re-assign seats for patrons that are willing or interested in different or better seats. Such re-allocation processes or algorithms may include a random process, a process where priority patrons are given priority for re-assignment of seat, a process where patrons are willing to pay additional for the re-assignment to either the theater or the individual patron whose seat is being provided to another patron, frequent event patrons, season ticket patrons, or other predetermined process.

If the patron that is identified by the re-allocation process is determined to be present in the theater, for example, via mobile telephone, wireless device, and/or manual verification, an optional sub-process determines whether the patron's optional profile is also satisfied with the available seating. If the optional subscriber profile is not satisfied, then the re-allocation process searches for another possible patron. If the optional profile sub-process is satisfied, then the eligible patron is notified via one or more means, such as announcement, manually, wireless device, mobile telephone, bulletin board, and/or other means. The patron is then notified and presented with the option of moving for free, use of award points, additional money to the theater and/or patron to whose seat is being provided, or other predetermined criteria to obtain the seat. The patron, of course has the option to decline, and if so, the process continues and returns to the re-allocation process to attempt to locate another possible patron.

If the patron accepts, payment of money or other means may be effectuated on the spot via the wireless device, credit card, debit card, points, and the like, and the patron may now move to the other seat. The patron's seat may then optionally be made available as an empty seat to the re-allocation process. The process then optionally determines whether there have been additional vacancies, for example, just prior to the event, during the event or as a result of predetermined processes, and empties and/or makes available these additional seats for the event. For example, if standard smart card, standard scanner, standard bluetooth, wireless, or other technology is used in the present invention, additional seats may be made available as patrons leave the event early, for example if diverted for an urgent business meeting, and the like. These additional seats may provide additional opportunities for patron satisfaction, revenue (theater or patrons), advertising, advertising sponsorship for banner advertising on the wireless device and/or in the theater, and the like. Thus, scanners posted at strategic locations, for example, at the exit of the theater or stadium will confirm that the patron is leaving, and optionally prompt the patron to confirm that they do not plan on returning. This embodiment may optionally be used in other embodiments of the present invention, and vice versa.

If a predetermined period of time has not expired, then the re-allocation process may be run again to optionally continuously re-allocate seats while advantageously including the additional seats. The patron may optionally store the up-graded ticket on a wireless device for proof of entrance to the better seating area. Optionally, the seat and/or row and/or section, includes a separate reader device to receive optionally the original ticket that is now re-allocated to a better seat, or a new ticket that may optionally be received by the patron via the wireless device and/or manually via a worker in the theater or stadium.

In accordance with the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets very near to game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron must be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept.

In one alternative embodiment, if the patron that has their ticket re-allocated in error, e.g., because the patron did not show up to the event based on the predetermined criteria but the patron was still planning on attending because they forgot about their seat being re-allocated, the system can re-allocate seats immediately upon the checking in of the patron and notify them that their seats have changed because they are late. In this situation, the stadium/venue might decide to further upgrade the patrons because of the mistake.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the process of the present invention specifically reserves seats of the highest or very high rating that are considered preferred, in the event a patron's seat is re-allocated prematurely or erroneously. In this situation, the patron who has had their seat re-allocated because they will likely receive an even better seat as a result of the mistaken (stadium or patron) or premature seat re-allocation.

In another embodiment of the present invention, as patrons are entering the venue or stadium, they are provided advantageously with a map of the stadium so patrons can analyze the potential upgrade to make a decision whether the upgraded seats are sufficiently good or of value to warrant the patron moving and/or paying for the additional upgrade. By handing the patron the map of the stadium, the process of the the present invention is not required to transmit a detailed schematic to the patron's wireless device which would not normally be able to effectively permit the patron to evaluate the proposed upgrade seats. The map that is handed out may optionally include information for patrons on where to register for the upgrade and/or additional advertisement opportunities.

In one alternative embodiment, the patron that has purchased the ticket, for example, a season ticket holder, may advise the stadium that for a particular game, set of games or all games, they do not want their seats to be re-allocated, and perhaps, an additional fee is assessed for this type of patron. If the stadium provides the ability for the patron to selectively opt out of the seat re-allocation, the patron can, for example, connect to the system via the Internet, public switched telephone network, cellular network, and the like, and notify the system that they do not want their ticket re-allocated, for example, because they are coming late to the event. Other means of notifying the system and/or other reasons may be utilized in connection with the present invention.

In another alternative embodiment, the system provides patrons the ability to individually select when their tickets may be re-allocated. For example, one patron may prefer to only give up their ticket if they are late to the game by 15 minutes, while another patron may be willing to give up their ticket if they have not arrived 15 minutes before the game. In alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide incentives for the patron to have their ticket re-allocated prior to the game because it increases the stadiums chances of re-allocating/re-selling the ticket.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provide additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In an alternative embodiment, the system determines priority of re-allocation of seats based first upon patrons that have seats that may also be re-allocated. That is, the systems attempts to maximize the number of re-allocations by prioritizing the re-allocation based upon seats that may be re-allocated after already being re-allocated. For example, if front row seats in a stadium are available to be re-allocated, in this alternative embodiment, patrons that are in the next closest section for example on the field level would be upgraded first to those seats. Then, patrons with less preferred seats, for example, in the upper deck would be re-allocated to the seats that have now become available from the patrons that have been upgraded to the front row. Thus, using this alternative priority scheme, the present invention maximizes the re-allocation numbers. Of course, this priority algorithm may be combined with additional factors, for example, relating to subscriber/patron value. As described above, additional factors may be utilized in the algorithm to determine the subscriber or set of subscribers to offer the upgrade.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally rate the upgraded patron, for example, for appropriate behavior, wearing of excessively large hats, drunkenness behavior, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the re-allocation algorithm for future upgrades to the patron.

In alternative embodiments, the patrons eligible for the upgrade may be notified using standard email communications over a wireless device, mobile telephone, and/or other standard communication means. For example, standard text-to-voice and/or voice-to-text communications may be used to contact the patron to evaluate whether an upgrade will be accepted and to actually accept the upgrade.

In another embodiment of the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that have already purchased tickets in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats and/or may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets at any time prior to and/or after beginning of game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron may be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention or even at any location when being offered upgrades and/or seats well in advance of the game. For example, the present invention can upgrade or sell tickets to patrons well in advance of the game since it advantageously is permitted or has the authority to resell tickets either via ticket holders that do not show up during the game and/or, for example, season ticket holders that have authorized the stadium in advance to resell their tickets based on predetermined criteria, for example, when the season ticket holder notifies the stadium that they will not be present at next weeks game.

In one optional embodiment of the invention, the patron presents the usher with the confirmation number which the usher can enter into a wireless device using a local or private wireless network, or can simply use a walkie talkie or telephone to call the dispatcher to confirm the upgrade and/or new seats using the customer provided confirmation number. The dispatcher will have access to the system to enter the confirmation number to confirm the validity of the upgrade. Alternatively, a patron will retain their old ticket. The patron will give in the old ticket to the usher which is scanned or barcoded by the usher for immediate identification of new seats and used in place of, or in addition to, confirmation number.

Of course, the confirmation may optionally be made via customer name with an appropriate identification card or other information. Further, alternative methods may be used to verify that the confirmation number and/or ticket being used by the patron is valid. For example, the patron may be equipped with a printing device associated with the wireless device or download an actual ticket on line from home prior to the game for the new ticket or upgrade. Alternatively, the patron may be equipped with an identifier card, optionally including a bar code with a unique identifier relating to the patron's account information and profile that can be scanned for additional convenience. Alternatively, a wireless device may be used to securely store this type of identification and/or account information.

In at least one alternative embodiment of the invention, the patron may comprise optionally a corporate account that has a number of tickets, for example, season tickets. In this embodiment, the corporate account may have associated therewith a plurality of email addresses or other communication addresses to transmit the seat or upgrade offer to a number of potential patrons that may rotate their attendance at the games. In accordance with this optional embodiment, multiple emails can be stored for a single user/corporate account, and the system may transmit individual messages to all email addresses, or may only transmit messages to individual patrons for corporate account that individually advise the system that they are associated with a particular ticket/bar code for a particular game and will be/are present at a particular game.

In an alternative embodiment, patrons may enter the stadium and subsequently inform the system that they are present and interested in an upgrade via a kiosk where the patron can scan a bar code and enter their customer number to be eligible for upgrades during the game. The system is then able to transmit a message to the customer, assuming that the customer has pre-registered with the system with the appropriate contact information. Alternatively, or in addition to individual use of a kiosk(s), the customer sales office may have a kiosk or additional functionality to enter the customer name and/or customer account and scan in the bar coded ticket on the spot to register each patron as they enter the stadium or venue.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron upon entry in the stadium to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept when an offer is received by the patron at a predetermined time. The graphical map may comprise a small booklet with a map of the stadium showing seat locations, and optionally a game schedule.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provides additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally be eligible for a dating or matching service where patrons register and provide profile information to the system and/or through a third service provider dating service. Once the system knows that the patrons will be coming to the game and/or have actually checked in to the stadium, the system can then arrange for the two, four, etc. patrons to meet each other by allocating and/or re-allocating seats to the patrons together. Thus, based on profile information, customer request and availability, the system is able to upgrade or sell tickets to patrons to maximize their chances of meeting someone at the game. This optional feature provides significant potential enjoyment for the patrons participating in this dating or connection program. In accordance with this embodiment, one possible sequence of acceptance steps involves profile matching the two patrons (or groups of patrons) based on predetermined profile information; transmitting a first message to the first patron regarding availability of the second patron and requesting a conditional acceptance form the first patron; transmitting a second message to the second patron indicating that the first patron has conditionally accepted and request the second patron to accept; and when the second patron accepts before the first patron has rescinded the conditional acceptance, finalizing the upgrade and/or seat allocation for the first and second patrons. This embodiment of the invention is a complete reverse from typical dating and/or matchmaking services which attempt to develop detailed algorithms for the matching process because of the significant decision that exists in determining who to spend valuable time with. In accordance with the invention, patrons are already present at the game, and therefore, half or more than half the effort is already done. The remainder is to actually meet the other person which can be accomplished with profile criteria, whether or not the algorithms are very sophisticated.

In one embodiment, the patrons that are being matched have their original seats maintained and not made available for other upgrades in the event the matching does not work out early on. In this embodiment, one or both the patrons can return to their original seat. Hopefully, there will not be a significant argument of who would need to return to their original seat if an upgrade is actually performed. In addition, in accordance with this embodiment, the seats that are selected do not necessarily have to be better seats in the classical sense. That is, seats further away from other ticket holders might be considered preferred when matching two individuals for the first time. Alternatively, couple that would prefer a little more privacy or quieter game might request to be moved to a more isolated area. Alternatively, families with small children might prefer to be moved to a less busy area as well during the game where the children might be able to freely move around. All these scenarios and/or alternatives are possible in view of the present invention. The advantage of performing a match in a public setting is that the patrons do not have to worry about leaving or ending the date, and also do not have to worry that the other person will have their home address.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like.

In addition, this feature also optionally permits the patrons that have participated in the program to rate one another for future dates. For example, one patron can rate the conversational benefits of the second patron, the appearance of the second patron, the overall short term versus long terms relationship goals of the patron, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the algorithm for future seat assignments, re-allocations and/or upgrades in the future for the first and second patrons, and all other patrons will now benefit with the additional profile information of the first and second patrons. The matching service may be for amusement or work related networking purposes, for example, to meet an executive that the patron currently works with or wishes to work with/sell in the future.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like. In addition, the system advantageously and optionally provides the feature of allowing patrons to text message one another directly, and/or exchange pictures via wireless email, text messaging, and other wireless devices that provide the standard capability of exchanging pictures, such a T Mobile and/or Sprint.

In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder can call in via a voice to text message, text message and/or email and let the stadium know early that they are not coming. In this manner the ticket holder obtains the convenience of the stadium or venue reselling their tickets in advance, thereby providing the venue with additional time to maximize the resale of the ticket.

In alternative embodiments, when the patron enters the stadium, they have their ticket barcoded or other device that detects their presence can bu used such as infrared, Bluetooth, etc., and then they can become eligible for an upgrade. The patron can register in advance that they want to receive upgrades by providing their name, message address, e.g., email, telephone text message address, etc., and optionally their credit card or other payment mechanism for upgrades that actually cost money as opposed to free upgrades. In alternative embodiments, the patron can register at the ticket booth when purchasing their original ticket. In this scenario, the stadium representative can enter this information on behalf of, and with the permission of, the patron since the patron may already be providing their credit card, debit card, etc. to purchase the original tickets. Alternatively or in addition, a kiosk may be provided where the patron can enter their original ticket, e.g., scan in their original ticket and provide their name and text message information in the stadium to register for a one time upgrade for the game after purchasing, for example, a regular admission ticket.

In alternative embodiments, an usher can verify that the patron should be upgraded by the patron providing the confirmation number that may be transmitted in real-time by the system, and/or by the patron using their original confirmation number or original ticket with barcode or other identification means, such as a smart card, infrared reader, etc. that represents original ticket and presenting same to the user. The usher then needs only to scan in the original ticket and the system will verify whether the patron associated with the original ticket is valid and whether the upgrade is valid.

In alternative embodiments, a warning message may be sent to the ticket holder that has not shown up to game warning them that if they do not respond within a certain time period that their seat will be re-allocated or re-assigned to another patron. Similarly, a release message may be sent to the ticket holder after their seat has actually been released and/or re-allocated, thereby notifying the patron that if they change their mind in attending the game, they will have to obtain an additional ticket. In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder that has their seat released and re-allocated can be themselves re-allocated a similar, worse or better seat, depending on, for example, their subscriber value and/or other criteria. For example, if the patron is provided a better seat, this will encourage them to more readily give up their seats in the future even if they are attending the game. On the other hand, if the patron is provided a worse seat, then this encourages them not to artificially give up or have their seat released when attending the game. Accordingly, the present invention is designed to deal with various behavioral patterns of specific ticket holders, and may optionally and advantageously be a ticket holder specific with respect to various criteria for re-assigning, releasing, selling and/or re-allocating tickets.

In alternative embodiments, the system transmits to the ticket holder a welcome message after being upgraded and after having being moved to a new upgraded seat location. In one embodiment, the system identifies that the patron has been successfully upgraded after the patron provides the usher with a confirmation number or original ticket, which is then verified by the usher and system.

In alternative embodiments, the system, after having identified which patrons have checked into the stadium and/or have been upgraded, transmits a trivia question and/or additional advertisements to all patrons attending the game. In alternative embodiments, the information is transmitted to both patrons that are attending the game and additional patrons that have registered in the past to receive information but that are not attending the game. The participants can, for example, answer trivia questions and respond with their wireless device. Depending on whether the patron is attending the game or not, the system may determine to offer or deal with each of the patrons differently. For example, for patrons at the game, winners may be successively determined and narrowed, as patrons successfully and unsuccessfully answer questions, round after round of questions in a ?spelling bee? format. For patrons that are not attending the game, winners may be declared, or statistics provided to the broadcast station that can be aired on television. In yet additional alternative embodiments, instead of transmitting information/questions to the patrons via the wireless device, the information/questions are displayed on the stadium billboard for patrons at the game and/or on television for patrons that are watching the game on television. The patron can then merely respond via the device, e.g., the telephone accordingly via a voice-to-text system or via other mobile devices via text messaging.

In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of additional advertising sponsorship to the venue. For example, in one embodiment, the venue is partitioned into different locations that may be assigned to different sponsors. In one embodiment, the sponsor that provides the most value may be assigned a certain number of premium seats that are not available to other sponsors.

For example, the sponsor may offer a discount on the upgrade if you are a Verizon or Verizon Wireless customer or they credit your cell account for each seat upgrade or you get say 30 free minutes, etc. In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of one wireless provider to advertise on another wireless providers mobile phone or wireless device. For example, if Verizon Wireless is a sponsor of the upgrade system for a particular stadium, the present invention will still work with, for example, AT&T, SPRINT, and CINGULAR customers. An advertisement message sent with the upgrade offer may read on the AT&T phone, ?brought to you by Verizon Wireless.? In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, text messaging is optionally used for mobile phones to perform the message communication of the present invention. The user is only required, in one embodiment, to reply or respond with a ?Yes? to accept the upgrade offer since the user has advantageously pre-registered with the system, thereby minimizing the required communication/input by the user. In an alternative embodiment, the user, instead of pre-registering with the system, is charged on their wireless or even regular telephone number bill when they accept the upgrade offer. Thus, the wireless system that either administers the user's regular or wireless account or the upgrade sponsor may be responsible for actually billing the customer in this alternative embodiment.

In the alternative embodiment when text messaging is optionally used alone or in combination with other communication methods, the system provides the additional advantage of maximizing bandwidth usage by not requiring use of bandwidth on the wireless voice system, thereby maximizing system resources.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention optionally and advantageously provides a security and/or safety feature in the event of, for example, a minor event where a parent gets separated from a child, a disaster or other event that might require evacuation of the stadium. In one embodiment, the person needing help provides their name to an attendant that can search the system for the contact information of their companion/parent. The system can thereafter send an email and/or text message to the companion/parent regarding the status of that person and provide instructions for meeting that person or arranging help, authorizing medical procedures, and the like. In another embodiment, the person requiring help, e.g., a child provides the attendant or kiosk with their ticket which can, e.g., scan the bar code or other reader system. The system can either automatically provide a text message to the parent who can then reply to the child/attendant via the kiosk to meet the child.

Alternatively, the parent can be instructed to meet the child at a predetermined location, and to stop looking for the child because the child was found. Thus, for this example, the person who is lost or separated from their party can notify security or access a kiosk. Security can, for example, notify the parent that child is in safe custody, and should not search the stadium, and therefore, meet outside stadium in a pre-specified safe place.

In an alternative embodiment, if a child/person is separated, the security guard/kiosk can arrange the best place to meet, either in or outside the stadium, together based on an optional global positioning system (GPS). In addition, the party with the mobile device can be provided directions on where to go to meet their party from who they have been separated.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention may also be used in a security, defense and/or safety setting to direct patrons in a stadium for an orderly evacuation or notify patrons regarding status of a safety related event via, for example, a broadcast message including text message, email and the like. In this manner, system communication resources may be most efficiently utilized by not over-utilizing the system via voice communication, unless completely necessary. For example, the message can be broadcast in the event of an impending hurricane. In this situation, patrons in different sections get different messages, for example, to exit the stadium out of gates/exits that are either less occupied or closest to the section the patrons are sitting in. Advantageously, the present invention has the patrons contact information, including optionally and advantageously text messaging, that can be broadcast or sent to different patrons. The advantage of text messaging is that the bandwidth is more efficiently used in the event of an emergency, and there are no busy signals as in a voice network. Further, the message is send, and if the network is at capacity, the system can automatically resend or the message will be placed in queue and sent as soon as capacity becomes available.

In another alternative embodiment of the invention, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction.

For instance, in sporting venues the bracelet ticket includes the machine readable information that comprises at least one of a bar code and radio frequency identifier used for security check in, and optionally check out. In this manner, the standard reading machines that can scan the bar code or RFID information can keep track of people that have checked into the sporting event and/or venue. Advantageously, the machine readable information on the bracelet can also be used by the venue in the event the patrons seat assignment is modified, for example, via an electronic ticket exchange or upgrade program. In this embodiment, the visible indicia are no longer valid for the actual seating that may be dynamically changed and only represents optionally an initial seat assignment. However, the machine readable information may be used as a code to reference the specific patron and assign that patron a new seat. Thus, when the ticket reader scans the ticket and actually identifies, for example, the bar code, this information can be used to reference the patron, update and/or confirm the patron's current seat via the reader used, for example, by ushers in the venue, kiosk, entrance to the venue, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction. This information, as previously mentioned, may be visually cognizable for the patron and in combination, readable by electronic means if the bracelet includes a magnetic strip, bar code imprinting, or RF chip.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the security bracelet and ticket combination of the present invention advantageously includes a bar code or other machine readable information such as a RFID device. When, for example, a child is separated form their parent, the parent can notify security and the seat number associated with the child. If the child attempts to leave with their bar code/identifier, the system detects the bar code/identifier as either being valid and identifying the child that is missing or being invalid and raising another red flag. In an alternative embodiment, the bar codes/identifiers associated between children and adults correspond such that the child identifier must be within a predetermined time and/or number of checking out identifiers from/within the adult identifier. If this does not occur, the system determines that the child is leaving without their parent, and possibly being abducted.

In an alternative embodiment, the system links one or more tickets/identifiers together and requires the tickets/identifiers to exit the venue or event within a predetermined time period from one another and/or within a predetermined number of tickets/identifiers that have exited the venue and/or event. In the event that one ticket/identifier exits the venue or event and the associated identifier does not, then an alarm or other indictor occurs, and the attendants will detain the patrons that have initiated the alarm to for security purposes.

In an alternative embodiment, the tickets are advantageously coded with designations such as adult, child and the like. In the event a child ticket/identifier exits the stadium before the associated adult and/or more that a predetermined time period and/or number of patrons exiting, the system can initiate an alarm so that an attendant can determine if a child has exited the venue or event without their parent or with a wrong parent potentially averting a kidnapping. In this embodiment, an additional combination is the use of the standard fast pass feature, for example, at theme parks, and the like, where the venue records predetermined events that the user of the card enters in a faster line. In this embodiment, if a child ticket/identifier is not associated with a parent ticket/identifier, for example, as described above, the child may be denied entry into the event or venue if not accompanied by their parent. In alternative embodiments, the venue/event sponsor or organizer associates tickets upon request from the patron. In addition, in another alternative embodiment, a kiosk is provided inside and/or outside the venue for, for example, parents to register their tickets and have them associated with their children's tickets to prevent he child from exiting the venue without them, for example, as described above.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system and method are adapted to utilize any type of wireless device with different interface and communication options. For example, different wireless devices have different constraints with respect to the interface, e.g., number of characters, how the subject and body of the messages are used/communicated, etc. Accordingly, the present invention optionally provides a protocol conversion system depending on the type of wireless device and the wireless device constraints, including message constraints and/or the wireless communication system. In alternative embodiments, the system determines the wireless device provider based on the address received from the wireless device, and is able to automatically determine the type of message and/or message constraints and transmission constraints associated therewith based for example, on real-time information or on pre-determined stored information on the device and/or communication system. Accordingly, a protocol conversion system for different wireless devices is provided by the present invention for sending and/or receiving messages, such as upgrade offers, responses, acceptances, and the like, from a variety of different users/mobile devices and wireless systems.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, a security bracelet is advantageously utilized, for example, such as the security bracelet disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/680,207, filed on Oct. 8, 2003, to Abraham I. Reifer, et al., and incorporated herein by reference, in the event of a reported event, security breach, abduction, and the like. In this embodiment, all patrons exiting the stadium must show their ticket and/or identifier so that the venue can check all patrons out of the stadium. Thus, for example, if two kidnappers come in the stadium, and want to use one bracelet for a child, the second kidnapper will be stranded in the stadium. In addition, if one kidnapper buys two tickets, then upon exit with the child and the additional ticket, a barcode/identifier will be exiting without ever having checked in, and then the alarm will go off as well.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention provides a broadcast message to warn patrons of an event, such as an advertisement, sale and/or even a weather related event such as a hurricane that might require the venue to be evacuated. Advantageously, in at least one embodiment, the broadcast message comprises standard text messaging that optimizes or better utilizes capacity form the communication system. Thus, when using text messaging capabilities, the present invention efficiently transmits text messages to numerous subscribers regarding, for example, exit information, contacting and/or meeting additional parties that have been separated, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the present invention optionally provides the capability to penetrate into secondary market with season ticket holders selling ahead of time the games they will not be attending. For example, the present invention optionally provides the feature for the season ticket holder and/or general ticket purchaser the ability to view in advance of the season and/or game the schedule, and to alert the venue and/or stadium of games and/or events they will not be attending, thereby permitting the stadium/venue to attempt to resell the tickets to other patrons. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the patron is provided with a monthly schedule listing the events that may be attended. The patron, such as a season ticket holder, may then click or place an indicator on all games they will not be attending for the season in advance, thereby providing the stadium with the ability to resell tickets well in advance of the event. Once the patron completes identifying games that will not be attended, the system then compiles a list and transmits the list to the patron for an optional confirmation. This list is then used by the system to release seats well in advance of the game. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, registered users of the system for, for example, upgrades, may also be notified of seat availability for sales prior to the game/event. In an alternative of this embodiment, registered users may receive text messages, emails, and the like, notifying them advantageously of the availability of seats that heretofore have never been easily available to the public for sale, thereby allowing the venue to participate in secondary market ticket sales.

In one alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system/process of the present invention provides or operates as a middle person/broker between the ticket holder that is returning tickets to the venue, such as the season ticket holder, and a ticket sales system and/or company, such as tickets.com, by notifying the tickets company of the newly available seats via notification by the ticket holder, such as the season ticket holder of season ticket games not being attended.

In one alternative embodiment of the invention, the system and/or process transmits text messages, emails and the like, to offer tickets and/or seats and/or admittance to subscribers for events and/or games with empty seats even before game. Thus, the present invention allows the venue to participate in the secondary ticket sales market and the upgrade market, thereby increasing revenue and fan loyalty.

Of course, all of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event, and/or venue that require tickets for entry thereof.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the use of machine readable identifiers provides advantages for, for example, the upgrade program or ticket exchange of the present invention. For example, when the upgrade, re-allocation and/or electronic ticket is issued, the machine readable identifier, for example, the bar code, on the original ticket is invalidated, thereby preventing use of the invalidated ticket. Accordingly, when a new ticket holder purchases the ticket form the season ticket holder, the new purchaser will be issued a new machine readable identifier, and optionally a new paper ticket. The present invention advantageously is able to handle the issuance of a new ticket and invalidates the old ticket and optionally the old identifier that has, for example, been returned by the season ticket holder, thereby providing dynamic ticketing capability.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the new patron obtains a new identifier such as a barcode, the old bar code of, for example, the season ticket holder is invalidated. In one embodiment of the invention, season ticket holders are offered to opt in the upgrade process. Various commercial incentives are possible for the season ticket holder to opt in the upgrade process, such as monetary compensation when their ticket is used for an upgrade and/or resold whether they express their intention not to go to the game prior to the game, and the like. Alternatively, season ticket holders may be offered that the cost of their season tickets will, for example, remain the same as the previous year or be reduced if they participate in the program. Therefore, the combination season ticket trade-in and upgrade program in one embodiment of the invention will be beneficial to season ticket holders by allowing them to trade when they already know that they have no intention of attending a game, and allow the season ticket holder to recoup some cost of the season tickets if they do not attend and their ticket is used as an upgrade. In addition, additional patrons of the event and/or sports team are permitted to attend the game in locations/seats that they might never have been able to obtain access to. Further, the venue/stadium/team maximize revenues by being able to place tickets on the secondary market when the ticket holder notifies the venue early enough that they are not attending the event, the venue also obtains additional revenue from upgrades when tickets are upgraded, and the venue obtains additional fan loyalty.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the system provides the ability to advertise via email, text messaging, and the like, for one wireless carrier on the wireless device that is using another wireless carrier. Since the user of the wireless device has requested the service, the user appropriately receives the communication from the ticketing system of the present invention, and therefore, also appropriately received the advertisement from the wireless carrier that is different than the wireless carrier that the user of the wireless may be using at that time.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, offers to purchase seats either during the game or even well in advance of the game are ?pushed? or transmitted out to registered users that have supplied their wireless and/or Internet addresses. For example, patrons can register in advance for the upgrade and/or regular ticket offers to purchase admittance via various methods including the Internet. When seats band/or admittance becomes available, a broadcast message or other standard messages may be transmitted to the registered patrons to notify them of the seat availability. Thus, seat offers are ?pushed? to registered users that have requested this service advantageously to a wireless device and/or other address including standard telephone communication, as well as additional optional advertisements. The system, in one alternative embodiment, provides the user the option when registering to accept certain types of advertisements to be received on their wireless device via email and/or text messaging. In other embodiments, the user does not have the option of which advertisements to receive.

Advantageously, in accordance with one alternative embodiment of the present invention, if a patron decides to attend an event such as a sporting event when the patron does not have time to wait to receive paper tickets (e.g., the patron is visiting in another city/location and does not have time to wait to receive tickets via mail and is on the go), the system of the present invention transmits a ticket to the patron via, for example, a wireless communication system and/or other standard electronic communication system such as the Internet, and the patron can present their ticket, for example, on their wireless device and show up to game.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Patrons then text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers. The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system uses a seat database to determine which of the reserved seats are currently in use. The system may integrate with the seat database system of a venue and/or stadium or optionally be used in parallel with the seat venue/stadium database. For example, prior to the event, the system may utilize the seat database of the venue to determine available seating and patrons that do not show up after a predetermined period of time. Alternatively, the present invention can operate using a separate database from the event/venue by copying or building a separate database used for the ticketing and/or upgrading according to the present invention. In this alternative, as patrons enter the venue, they are checked in directly to this separate database. At the time of the event, the system will be able to check-in patrons using either the identification system, e.g., bar code scanner, of the event or venue, or provide a separate identification system.

In alternative embodiments of the invention, the patron that knows they are attending the game but is going to be late can send in a HOLD message even prior to being provided a warning message that their seats are to be released if the patron does not respond to the message with the HOLD request. That is, in this embodiment, since the patron already knows well in advance that they are attending the game, but perhaps stuck in traffic, the patron can initiate the HOLD message before even being warned in advance of the possibility of their seat being released.

In another alternative embodiment, patrons that have registered with the system and optionally checked into the stadium and/or venue in advance and who also know that they would like an upgrade and/or ticket, may initiate their own upgrade request to the system to notify the system of their willingness to purchase an upgrade and/or new ticket for the event/venue. The system may then place these patrons on a higher priority since they have already expressed and intent and/or willingness to purchase the upgrade or ticket. The patron may notify the event and/or stadium of their willingness optionally well in advance of the game or near/after game time at a time which the patron commits or expresses an additional heightened desire to upgrade and/or purchase a ticket.

In alternative embodiments, the system includes the advantage of allowing patrons to register free for a predetermined period of time, for example, for the first year, without paying a yearly subscriber fee. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system provides the patron with their first upgrade for free or for a reduced rate to further encourage the patron to register with the system and method of the present invention. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system of the present invention offers the patron reduced and/or free concessions when purchasing a membership, ticket and/or upgrade to further encourage the patron to participate in the offers of the present invention.

In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the matching system and/or process, permits participants in the program to initiate a message to the system with the seat location and/or name of the patron that they would like to be matched with for a meeting, networking and/or socializing such as a date. In this embodiment, the system may the push the message to the other subscriber and assign new seats to the individuals that are to be matched. Alternatively, the system Need not require a specific confirmation that the second individual to be notified of the potential match is physically located near the first individual, but can rely on the first individual to provide that information. For example, the first individual may see a potential date in a restaurant, and may then send a message to the system with that person's name or address, that they would like to meet that other individual. In that situation, the second individual will receive a message of the possible match, and can respond and accept or reject the offer to meet. The second individual can then provide a meeting destination or the system can suggest a meeting place based on the first individual advising the system of their location, and the location of the second individual.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Advantageously, the multiple choice questions each have unique selections, such as a1, b1, c1 and d1 for question #1; a2, b2, c2, and d2 for question #2; a3, b3, c3 and d3 for question #3, and the like. In this embodiment, the actual timing of questions is not necessary since each question and answer is unique. Therefore, the speed of responding to the question is immaterial to the winner of the contest and/or correct answer. Also, in the event one patron answers the question late, there will be no confusion which question the patron is submitting an answer for. Patrons text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers as indicated above using the unique set of answers, in one embodiment. In alternative embodiments, the first predetermined number of patrons that answer the question correctly are considered the winners.

The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, e.g., a1 50%, b1 28%, c1 12% and d1 10%, and display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

As discussed above, one or more of the above alternative embodiments may be incorporated into the embodiments described above, and/or any of the embodiments discussed below. Furthermore, any of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event.

FIG. 28 is a flowchart of a sixth embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 28, the process begins by enrolling members in the program that are interested in the ticket upgrade. Tickets are checked in, for example, as the patrons enter the reserved seating area, such as a stadium or theater, through, for example, bar code readers, scanners, infrared readers, and/or manually or other method where the patron is checked in, either at the gate, seat or other location. An optional separate check in area is provided for patrons that want to participate in the upgrade program. For example, patrons can optionally check in a predetermined time before the event through a wireless device, Internet connection, manual or voice recognition telephone, or other manner. The important point is to provide a standard manner for allowing patrons to check in, and if the patron fails to check in using a predetermined procedure, to allow that seat to be provided to another willing patron in accordance with a process to be described below. The patron may check in either a predetermined time before or after the event begins. Currently, such a process is impossible and unthinkable in view of the difficulty reserved seating events have in simply getting the patrons seated prior to the beginning of the event. The present invention represents a revolutionary process to enhance event enjoyment, earn patron loyalty and optionally provide additional revenues to the theater/stadium or optionally other patrons with the desirable ticket.

The check in procedure continues for a predetermined period of time until a predetermined time period has expired, for example, 5 minutes before the event begins, 10 minutes after the event begins, after a predetermined event, such as the second act of a play, and the like. Once the predetermined time period or event has been completed, the check in procedure may be considered completed to begin the seat re-allocation process. To begin the seat re-allocation process, a re-allocation algorithm is used to re-assign seats for patrons that are willing or interested in different or better seats. Such re-allocation processes or algorithms may include a random process, a process where priority patrons are given priority for re-assignment of seat, a process where patrons are willing to pay additional for the re-assignment to either the theater or the individual patron whose seat is being provided to another patron, frequent event patrons, season ticket patrons, a standard bidding process, or other predetermined process.

An optional polling process to poll existing members and non-members in seats to whether additional seats are available. That is, in another optional embodiment of the present invention, non-members may also make their seats available for re-allocation/re-sale at any point in the process. In this additional polling process, the next step is to determine whether additional seats have been made available. If additional seats have been made available, then these additional seats are added to the list of available seats.

If the patron that is identified by the re-allocation process is determined to be present in the theater, for example, via mobile telephone, wireless device, and/or manual verification, an optional sub-process determines whether the patron's optional profile is also satisfied with the available seating. If the optional subscriber profile is not satisfied, then the re-allocation process searches for another possible patron. If the optional profile sub-process is satisfied, then the eligible patron is notified via one or more means, such as announcement, manually, wireless device, mobile telephone, bulletin board, and/or other means. The patron is then notified and presented with the option of moving for free, use of award points, additional money to the theater and/or patron to whose seat is being provided, or other predetermined criteria to obtain the seat. Optionally, a bidding process may be initiated that allows various patrons to bid against one another. Any standard bidding process may optionally be used. The patron, of course has the option to decline, and if so, the process continues and returns to the re-allocation process to attempt to locate another possible patron.

If the patron accepts, payment of money or other means may be effectuated on the spot via the wireless device, credit card, debit card, points, and the like, and the patron may now move to the other seat. The patron's seat may then optionally be made available as an empty seat to the re-allocation process. If a predetermined period of time has not expired, then the re-allocation process may be run again to optionally continuously re-allocate seats. The patron may optionally store the up-graded ticket on a wireless device for proof of entrance to the better seating area. Optionally, the seat and/or row and/or section, includes a separate reader device to receive optionally the original ticket that is now re-allocated to a better seat, or a new ticket that may optionally be received by the patron via the wireless device and/or manually via a worker in the theater or stadium.

In accordance with the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets very near to game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron must be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept.

In one alternative embodiment, if the patron that has their ticket re-allocated in error, e.g., because the patron did not show up to the event based on the predetermined criteria but the patron was still planning on attending because they forgot about their seat being re-allocated, the system can re-allocate seats immediately upon the checking in of the patron and notify them that their seats have changed because they are late. In this situation, the stadium/venue might decide to further upgrade the patrons because of the mistake.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the process of the present invention specifically reserves seats of the highest or very high rating that are considered preferred, in the event a patron's seat is re-allocated prematurely or erroneously. In this situation, the patron who has had their seat re-allocated because they will likely receive an even better seat as a result of the mistaken (stadium or patron) or premature seat re-allocation.

In another embodiment of the present invention, as patrons are entering the venue or stadium, they are provided advantageously with a map of the stadium so patrons can analyze the potential upgrade to make a decision whether the upgraded seats are sufficiently good or of value to warrant the patron moving and/or paying for the additional upgrade. By handing the patron the map of the stadium, the process of the the present invention is not required to transmit a detailed schematic to the patron's wireless device which would not normally be able to effectively permit the patron to evaluate the proposed upgrade seats. The map that is handed out may optionally include information for patrons on where to register for the upgrade and/or additional advertisement opportunities.

In one alternative embodiment, the patron that has purchased the ticket, for example, a season ticket holder, may advise the stadium that for a particular game, set of games or all games, they do not want their seats to be re-allocated, and perhaps, an additional fee is assessed for this type of patron. If the stadium provides the ability for the patron to selectively opt out of the seat re-allocation, the patron can, for example, connect to the system via the Internet, public switched telephone network, cellular network, and the like, and notify the system that they do not want their ticket re-allocated, for example, because they are coming late to the event. Other means of notifying the system and/or other reasons may be utilized in connection with the present invention.

In another alternative embodiment, the system provides patrons the ability to individually select when their tickets may be re-allocated. For example, one patron may prefer to only give up their ticket if they are late to the game by 15 minutes, while another patron may be willing to give up their ticket if they have not arrived 15 minutes before the game. In alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide incentives for the patron to have their ticket re-allocated prior to the game because it increases the stadiums chances of re-allocating/re-selling the ticket.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provide additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In an alternative embodiment, the system determines priority of re-allocation of seats based first upon patrons that have seats that may also be re-allocated. That is, the systems attempts to maximize the number of re-allocations by prioritizing the re-allocation based upon seats that may be re-allocated after already being re-allocated. For example, if front row seats in a stadium are available to be re-allocated, in this alternative embodiment, patrons that are in the next closest section for example on the field level would be upgraded first to those seats. Then, patrons with less preferred seats, for example, in the upper deck would be re-allocated to the seats that have now become available from the patrons that have been upgraded to the front row. Thus, using this alternative priority scheme, the present invention maximizes the re-allocation numbers. Of course, this priority algorithm may be combined with additional factors, for example, relating to subscriber/patron value. As described above, additional factors may be utilized in the algorithm to determine the subscriber or set of subscribers to offer the upgrade.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally rate the upgraded patron, for example, for appropriate behavior, wearing of excessively large hats, drunkenness behavior, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the re-allocation algorithm for future upgrades to the patron.

In alternative embodiments, the patrons eligible for the upgrade may be notified using standard email communications over a wireless device, mobile telephone, and/or other standard communication means. For example, standard text-to-voice and/or voice-to-text communications may be used to contact the patron to evaluate whether an upgrade will be accepted and to actually accept the upgrade.

In another embodiment of the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that have already purchased tickets in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats and/or may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets at any time prior to and/or after beginning of game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron may be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention or even at any location when being offered upgrades and/or seats well in advance of the game. For example, the present invention can upgrade or sell tickets to patrons well in advance of the game since it advantageously is permitted or has the authority to resell tickets either via ticket holders that do not show up during the game and/or, for example, season ticket holders that have authorized the stadium in advance to resell their tickets based on predetermined criteria, for example, when the season ticket holder notifies the stadium that they will not be present at next weeks game.

In one optional embodiment of the invention, the patron presents the usher with the confirmation number which the usher can enter into a wireless device using a local or private wireless network, or can simply use a walkie talkie or telephone to call the dispatcher to confirm the upgrade and/or new seats using the customer provided confirmation number. The dispatcher will have access to the system to enter the confirmation number to confirm the validity of the upgrade. Alternatively, a patron will retain their old ticket. The patron will give in the old ticket to the usher which is scanned or barcoded by the usher for immediate identification of new seats and used in place of, or in addition to, confirmation number.

Of course, the confirmation may optionally be made via customer name with an appropriate identification card or other information. Further, alternative methods may be used to verify that the confirmation number and/or ticket being used by the patron is valid. For example, the patron may be equipped with a printing device associated with the wireless device or download an actual ticket on line from home prior to the game for the new ticket or upgrade. Alternatively, the patron may be equipped with an identifier card, optionally including a bar code with a unique identifier relating to the patron's account information and profile that can be scanned for additional convenience. Alternatively, a wireless device may be used to securely store this type of identification and/or account information.

In at least one alternative embodiment of the invention, the patron may comprise optionally a corporate account that has a number of tickets, for example, season tickets. In this embodiment, the corporate account may have associated therewith a plurality of email addresses or other communication addresses to transmit the seat or upgrade offer to a number of potential patrons that may rotate their attendance at the games. In accordance with this optional embodiment, multiple emails can be stored for a single user/corporate account, and the system may transmit individual messages to all email addresses, or may only transmit messages to individual patrons for corporate account that individually advise the system that they are associated with a particular ticket/bar code for a particular game and will be/are present at a particular game.

In an alternative embodiment, patrons may enter the stadium and subsequently inform the system that they are present and interested in an upgrade via a kiosk where the patron can scan a bar code and enter their customer number to be eligible for upgrades during the game. The system is then able to transmit a message to the customer, assuming that the customer has pre-registered with the system with the appropriate contact information. Alternatively, or in addition to individual use of a kiosk(s), the customer sales office may have a kiosk or additional functionality to enter the customer name and/or customer account and scan in the bar coded ticket on the spot to register each patron as they enter the stadium or venue.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron upon entry in the stadium to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept when an offer is received by the patron at a predetermined time. The graphical map may comprise a small booklet with a map of the stadium showing seat locations, and optionally a game schedule.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provides additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally be eligible for a dating or matching service where patrons register and provide profile information to the system and/or through a third service provider dating service. Once the system knows that the patrons will be coming to the game and/or have actually checked in to the stadium, the system can then arrange for the two, four, etc. patrons to meet each other by allocating and/or re-allocating seats to the patrons together. Thus, based on profile information, customer request and availability, the system is able to upgrade or sell tickets to patrons to maximize their chances of meeting someone at the game. This optional feature provides significant potential enjoyment for the patrons participating in this dating or connection program. In accordance with this embodiment, one possible sequence of acceptance steps involves profile matching the two patrons (or groups of patrons) based on predetermined profile information; transmitting a first message to the first patron regarding availability of the second patron and requesting a conditional acceptance form the first patron; transmitting a second message to the second patron indicating that the first patron has conditionally accepted and request the second patron to accept; and when the second patron accepts before the first patron has rescinded the conditional acceptance, finalizing the upgrade and/or seat allocation for the first and second patrons. This embodiment of the invention is a complete reverse from typical dating and/or matchmaking services which attempt to develop detailed algorithms for the matching process because of the significant decision that exists in determining who to spend valuable time with. In accordance with the invention, patrons are already present at the game, and therefore, half or more than half the effort is already done. The remainder is to actually meet the other person which can be accomplished with profile criteria, whether or not the algorithms are very sophisticated.

In one embodiment, the patrons that are being matched have their original seats maintained and not made available for other upgrades in the event the matching does not work out early on. In this embodiment, one or both the patrons can return to their original seat. Hopefully, there will not be a significant argument of who would need to return to their original seat if an upgrade is actually performed. In addition, in accordance with this embodiment, the seats that are selected do not necessarily have to be better seats in the classical sense. That is, seats further away from other ticket holders might be considered preferred when matching two individuals for the first time. Alternatively, couple that would prefer a little more privacy or quieter game might request to be moved to a more isolated area. Alternatively, families with small children might prefer to be moved to a less busy area as well during the game where the children might be able to freely move around. All these scenarios and/or alternatives are possible in view of the present invention. The advantage of performing a match in a public setting is that the patrons do not have to worry about leaving or ending the date, and also do not have to worry that the other person will have their home address.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like.

In addition, this feature also optionally permits the patrons that have participated in the program to rate one another for future dates. For example, one patron can rate the conversational benefits of the second patron, the appearance of the second patron, the overall short term versus long terms relationship goals of the patron, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the algorithm for future seat assignments, re-allocations and/or upgrades in the future for the first and second patrons, and all other patrons will now benefit with the additional profile information of the first and second patrons. The matching service may be for amusement or work related networking purposes, for example, to meet an executive that the patron currently works with or wishes to work with/sell in the future.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like. In addition, the system advantageously and optionally provides the feature of allowing patrons to text message one another directly, and/or exchange pictures via wireless email, text messaging, and other wireless devices that provide the standard capability of exchanging pictures, such a T Mobile and/or Sprint.

In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder can call in via a voice to text message, text message and/or email and let the stadium know early that they are not coming. In this manner the ticket holder obtains the convenience of the stadium or venue reselling their tickets in advance, thereby providing the venue with additional time to maximize the resale of the ticket.

In alternative embodiments, when the patron enters the stadium, they have their ticket barcoded or other device that detects their presence can bu used such as infrared, Bluetooth, etc., and then they can become eligible for an upgrade. The patron can register in advance that they want to receive upgrades by providing their name, message address, e.g., email, telephone text message address, etc., and optionally their credit card or other payment mechanism for upgrades that actually cost money as opposed to free upgrades. In alternative embodiments, the patron can register at the ticket booth when purchasing their original ticket. In this scenario, the stadium representative can enter this information on behalf of, and with the permission of, the patron since the patron may already be providing their credit card, debit card, etc. to purchase the original tickets. Alternatively or in addition, a kiosk may be provided where the patron can enter their original ticket, e.g., scan in their original ticket and provide their name and text message information in the stadium to register for a one time upgrade for the game after purchasing, for example, a regular admission ticket.

In alternative embodiments, an usher can verify that the patron should be upgraded by the patron providing the confirmation number that may be transmitted in real-time by the system, and/or by the patron using their original confirmation number or original ticket with barcode or other identification means, such as a smart card, infrared reader, etc. that represents original ticket and presenting same to the user. The usher then needs only to scan in the original ticket and the system will verify whether the patron associated with the original ticket is valid and whether the upgrade is valid.

In alternative embodiments, a warning message may be sent to the ticket holder that has not shown up to game warning them that if they do not respond within a certain time period that their seat will be re-allocated or re-assigned to another patron. Similarly, a release message may be sent to the ticket holder after their seat has actually been released and/or re-allocated, thereby notifying the patron that if they change their mind in attending the game, they will have to obtain an additional ticket. In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder that has their seat released and re-allocated can be themselves re-allocated a similar, worse or better seat, depending on, for example, their subscriber value and/or other criteria. For example, if the patron is provided a better seat, this will encourage them to more readily give up their seats in the future even if they are attending the game. On the other hand, if the patron is provided a worse seat, then this encourages them not to artificially give up or have their seat released when attending the game. Accordingly, the present invention is designed to deal with various behavioral patterns of specific ticket holders, and may optionally and advantageously be a ticket holder specific with respect to various criteria for re-assigning, releasing, selling and/or re-allocating tickets.

In alternative embodiments, the system transmits to the ticket holder a welcome message after being upgraded and after having being moved to a new upgraded seat location. In one embodiment, the system identifies that the patron has been successfully upgraded after the patron provides the usher with a confirmation number or original ticket, which is then verified by the usher and system.

In alternative embodiments, the system, after having identified which patrons have checked into the stadium and/or have been upgraded, transmits a trivia question and/or additional advertisements to all patrons attending the game. In alternative embodiments, the information is transmitted to both patrons that are attending the game and additional patrons that have registered in the past to receive information but that are not attending the game. The participants can, for example, answer trivia questions and respond with their wireless device. Depending on whether the patron is attending the game or not, the system may determine to offer or deal with each of the patrons differently. For example, for patrons at the game, winners may be successively determined and narrowed, as patrons successfully and unsuccessfully answer questions, round after round of questions in a ?spelling bee? format. For patrons that are not attending the game, winners may be declared, or statistics provided to the broadcast station that can be aired on television. In yet additional alternative embodiments, instead of transmitting information/questions to the patrons via the wireless device, the information/questions are displayed on the stadium billboard for patrons at the game and/or on television for patrons that are watching the game on television. The patron can then merely respond via the device, e.g., the telephone accordingly via a voice-to-text system or via other mobile devices via text messaging.

In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of additional advertising sponsorship to the venue. For example, in one embodiment, the venue is partitioned into different locations that may be assigned to different sponsors. In one embodiment, the sponsor that provides the most value may be assigned a certain number of premium seats that are not available to other sponsors.

For example, the sponsor may offer a discount on the upgrade if you are a Verizon or Verizon Wireless customer or they credit your cell account for each seat upgrade or you get say 30 free minutes, etc. In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of one wireless provider to advertise on another wireless providers mobile phone or wireless device. For example, if Verizon Wireless is a sponsor of the upgrade system for a particular stadium, the present invention will still work with, for example, AT&T, SPRINT, and CINGULAR customers. An advertisement message sent with the upgrade offer may read on the AT&T phone, ?brought to you by Verizon Wireless.? In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, text messaging is optionally used for mobile phones to perform the message communication of the present invention. The user is only required, in one embodiment, to reply or respond with a ?Yes? to accept the upgrade offer since the user has advantageously pre-registered with the system, thereby minimizing the required communication/input by the user. In an alternative embodiment, the user, instead of pre-registering with the system, is charged on their wireless or even regular telephone number bill when they accept the upgrade offer. Thus, the wireless system that either administers the user's regular or wireless account or the upgrade sponsor may be responsible for actually billing the customer in this alternative embodiment.

In the alternative embodiment when text messaging is optionally used alone or in combination with other communication methods, the system provides the additional advantage of maximizing bandwidth usage by not requiring use of bandwidth on the wireless voice system, thereby maximizing system resources.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention optionally and advantageously provides a security and/or safety feature in the event of, for example, a minor event where a parent gets separated from a child, a disaster or other event that might require evacuation of the stadium. In one embodiment, the person needing help provides their name to an attendant that can search the system for the contact information of their companion/parent. The system can thereafter send an email and/or text message to the companion/parent regarding the status of that person and provide instructions for meeting that person or arranging help, authorizing medical procedures, and the like. In another embodiment, the person requiring help, e.g., a child provides the attendant or kiosk with their ticket which can, e.g., scan the bar code or other reader system. The system can either automatically provide a text message to the parent who can then reply to the child/attendant via the kiosk to meet the child.

Alternatively, the parent can be instructed to meet the child at a predetermined location, and to stop looking for the child because the child was found. Thus, for this example, the person who is lost or separated from their party can notify security or access a kiosk. Security can, for example, notify the parent that child is in safe custody, and should not search the stadium, and therefore, meet outside stadium in a pre-specified safe place.

In an alternative embodiment, if a child/person is separated, the security guard/kiosk can arrange the best place to meet, either in or outside the stadium, together based on an optional global positioning system (GPS). In addition, the party with the mobile device can be provided directions on where to go to meet their party from who they have been separated.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention may also be used in a security, defense and/or safety setting to direct patrons in a stadium for an orderly evacuation or notify patrons regarding status of a safety related event via, for example, a broadcast message including text message, email and the like. In this manner, system communication resources may be most efficiently utilized by not over-utilizing the system via voice communication, unless completely necessary. For example, the message can be broadcast in the event of an impending hurricane. In this situation, patrons in different sections get different messages, for example, to exit the stadium out of gates/exits that are either less occupied or closest to the section the patrons are sitting in. Advantageously, the present invention has the patrons contact information, including optionally and advantageously text messaging, that can be broadcast or sent to different patrons. The advantage of text messaging is that the bandwidth is more efficiently used in the event of an emergency, and there are no busy signals as in a voice network. Further, the message is send, and if the network is at capacity, the system can automatically resend or the message will be placed in queue and sent as soon as capacity becomes available.

In another alternative embodiment of the invention, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction.

For instance, in sporting venues the bracelet ticket includes the machine readable information that comprises at least one of a bar code and radio frequency identifier used for security check in, and optionally check out. In this manner, the standard reading machines that can scan the bar code or RFID information can keep track of people that have checked into the sporting event and/or venue. Advantageously, the machine readable information on the bracelet can also be used by the venue in the event the patrons seat assignment is modified, for example, via an electronic ticket exchange or upgrade program. In this embodiment, the visible indicia are no longer valid for the actual seating that may be dynamically changed and only represents optionally an initial seat assignment. However, the machine readable information may be used as a code to reference the specific patron and assign that patron a new seat. Thus, when the ticket reader scans the ticket and actually identifies, for example, the bar code, this information can be used to reference the patron, update and/or confirm the patron's current seat via the reader used, for example, by ushers in the venue, kiosk, entrance to the venue, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction. This information, as previously mentioned, may be visually cognizable for the patron and in combination, readable by electronic means if the bracelet includes a magnetic strip, bar code imprinting, or RF chip.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the security bracelet and ticket combination of the present invention advantageously includes a bar code or other machine readable information such as a RFID device. When, for example, a child is separated form their parent, the parent can notify security and the seat number associated with the child. If the child attempts to leave with their bar code/identifier, the system detects the bar code/identifier as either being valid and identifying the child that is missing or being invalid and raising another red flag. In an alternative embodiment, the bar codes/identifiers associated between children and adults correspond such that the child identifier must be within a predetermined time and/or number of checking out identifiers from/within the adult identifier. If this does not occur, the system determines that the child is leaving without their parent, and possibly being abducted.

In an alternative embodiment, the system links one or more tickets/identifiers together and requires the tickets/identifiers to exit the venue or event within a predetermined time period from one another and/or within a predetermined number of tickets/identifiers that have exited the venue and/or event. In the event that one ticket/identifier exits the venue or event and the associated identifier does not, then an alarm or other indictor occurs, and the attendants will detain the patrons that have initiated the alarm to for security purposes.

In an alternative embodiment, the tickets are advantageously coded with designations such as adult, child and the like. In the event a child ticket/identifier exits the stadium before the associated adult and/or more that a predetermined time period and/or number of patrons exiting, the system can initiate an alarm so that an attendant can determine if a child has exited the venue or event without their parent or with a wrong parent potentially averting a kidnapping. In this embodiment, an additional combination is the use of the standard fast pass feature, for example, at theme parks, and the like, where the venue records predetermined events that the user of the card enters in a faster line. In this embodiment, if a child ticket/identifier is not associated with a parent ticket/identifier, for example, as described above, the child may be denied entry into the event or venue if not accompanied by their parent. In alternative embodiments, the venue/event sponsor or organizer associates tickets upon request from the patron. In addition, in another alternative embodiment, a kiosk is provided inside and/or outside the venue for, for example, parents to register their tickets and have them associated with their children's tickets to prevent he child from exiting the venue without them, for example, as described above.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system and method are adapted to utilize any type of wireless device with different interface and communication options. For example, different wireless devices have different constraints with respect to the interface, e.g., number of characters, how the subject and body of the messages are used/communicated, etc. Accordingly, the present invention optionally provides a protocol conversion system depending on the type of wireless device and the wireless device constraints, including message constraints and/or the wireless communication system. In alternative embodiments, the system determines the wireless device provider based on the address received from the wireless device, and is able to automatically determine the type of message and/or message constraints and transmission constraints associated therewith based for example, on real-time information or on pre-determined stored information on the device and/or communication system. Accordingly, a protocol conversion system for different wireless devices is provided by the present invention for sending and/or receiving messages, such as upgrade offers, responses, acceptances, and the like, from a variety of different users/mobile devices and wireless systems.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, a security bracelet is advantageously utilized, for example, such as the security bracelet disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/680,207, filed on Oct. 8, 2003, to Abraham I. Reifer, et al., and incorporated herein by reference, in the event of a reported event, security breach, abduction, and the like. In this embodiment, all patrons exiting the stadium must show their ticket and/or identifier so that the venue can check all patrons out of the stadium. Thus, for example, if two kidnappers come in the stadium, and want to use one bracelet for a child, the second kidnapper will be stranded in the stadium. In addition, if one kidnapper buys two tickets, then upon exit with the child and the additional ticket, a barcode/identifier will be exiting without ever having checked in, and then the alarm will go off as well.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention provides a broadcast message to warn patrons of an event, such as an advertisement, sale and/or even a weather related event such as a hurricane that might require the venue to be evacuated. Advantageously, in at least one embodiment, the broadcast message comprises standard text messaging that optimizes or better utilizes capacity form the communication system. Thus, when using text messaging capabilities, the present invention efficiently transmits text messages to numerous subscribers regarding, for example, exit information, contacting and/or meeting additional parties that have been separated, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the present invention optionally provides the capability to penetrate into secondary market with season ticket holders selling ahead of time the games they will not be attending. For example, the present invention optionally provides the feature for the season ticket holder and/or general ticket purchaser the ability to view in advance of the season and/or game the schedule, and to alert the venue and/or stadium of games and/or events they will not be attending, thereby permitting the stadium/venue to attempt to resell the tickets to other patrons. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the patron is provided with a monthly schedule listing the events that may be attended. The patron, such as a season ticket holder, may then click or place an indicator on all games they will not be attending for the season in advance, thereby providing the stadium with the ability to resell tickets well in advance of the event. Once the patron completes identifying games that will not be attended, the system then compiles a list and transmits the list to the patron for an optional confirmation. This list is then used by the system to release seats well in advance of the game. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, registered users of the system for, for example, upgrades, may also be notified of seat availability for sales prior to the game/event. In an alternative of this embodiment, registered users may receive text messages, emails, and the like, notifying them advantageously of the availability of seats that heretofore have never been easily available to the public for sale, thereby allowing the venue to participate in secondary market ticket sales.

In one alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system/process of the present invention provides or operates as a middle person/broker between the ticket holder that is returning tickets to the venue, such as the season ticket holder, and a ticket sales system and/or company, such as tickets.com, by notifying the tickets company of the newly available seats via notification by the ticket holder, such as the season ticket holder of season ticket games not being attended.

In one alternative embodiment of the invention, the system and/or process transmits text messages, emails and the like, to offer tickets and/or seats and/or admittance to subscribers for events and/or games with empty seats even before game. Thus, the present invention allows the venue to participate in the secondary ticket sales market and the upgrade market, thereby increasing revenue and fan loyalty.

Of course, all of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event, and/or venue that require tickets for entry thereof.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the use of machine readable identifiers provides advantages for, for example, the upgrade program or ticket exchange of the present invention. For example, when the upgrade, re-allocation and/or electronic ticket is issued, the machine readable identifier, for example, the bar code, on the original ticket is invalidated, thereby preventing use of the invalidated ticket. Accordingly, when a new ticket holder purchases the ticket form the season ticket holder, the new purchaser will be issued a new machine readable identifier, and optionally a new paper ticket. The present invention advantageously is able to handle the issuance of a new ticket and invalidates the old ticket and optionally the old identifier that has, for example, been returned by the season ticket holder, thereby providing dynamic ticketing capability.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the new patron obtains a new identifier such as a barcode, the old bar code of, for example, the season ticket holder is invalidated. In one embodiment of the invention, season ticket holders are offered to opt in the upgrade process. Various commercial incentives are possible for the season ticket holder to opt in the upgrade process, such as monetary compensation when their ticket is used for an upgrade and/or resold whether they express their intention not to go to the game prior to the game, and the like. Alternatively, season ticket holders may be offered that the cost of their season tickets will, for example, remain the same as the previous year or be reduced if they participate in the program. Therefore, the combination season ticket trade-in and upgrade program in one embodiment of the invention will be beneficial to season ticket holders by allowing them to trade when they already know that they have no intention of attending a game, and allow the season ticket holder to recoup some cost of the season tickets if they do not attend and their ticket is used as an upgrade. In addition, additional patrons of the event and/or sports team are permitted to attend the game in locations/seats that they might never have been able to obtain access to. Further, the venue/stadium/team maximize revenues by being able to place tickets on the secondary market when the ticket holder notifies the venue early enough that they are not attending the event, the venue also obtains additional revenue from upgrades when tickets are upgraded, and the venue obtains additional fan loyalty.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the system provides the ability to advertise via email, text messaging, and the like, for one wireless carrier on the wireless device that is using another wireless carrier. Since the user of the wireless device has requested the service, the user appropriately receives the communication from the ticketing system of the present invention, and therefore, also appropriately received the advertisement from the wireless carrier that is different than the wireless carrier that the user of the wireless may be using at that time.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, offers to purchase seats either during the game or even well in advance of the game are ?pushed? or transmitted out to registered users that have supplied their wireless and/or Internet addresses. For example, patrons can register in advance for the upgrade and/or regular ticket offers to purchase admittance via various methods including the Internet. When seats band/or admittance becomes available, a broadcast message or other standard messages may be transmitted to the registered patrons to notify them of the seat availability. Thus, seat offers are ?pushed? to registered users that have requested this service advantageously to a wireless device and/or other address including standard telephone communication, as well as additional optional advertisements. The system, in one alternative embodiment, provides the user the option when registering to accept certain types of advertisements to be received on their wireless device via email and/or text messaging. In other embodiments, the user does not have the option of which advertisements to receive.

Advantageously, in accordance with one alternative embodiment of the present invention, if a patron decides to attend an event such as a sporting event when the patron does not have time to wait to receive paper tickets (e.g., the patron is visiting in another city/location and does not have time to wait to receive tickets via mail and is on the go), the system of the present invention transmits a ticket to the patron via, for example, a wireless communication system and/or other standard electronic communication system such as the Internet, and the patron can present their ticket, for example, on their wireless device and show up to game.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Patrons then text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers. The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system uses a seat database to determine which of the reserved seats are currently in use. The system may integrate with the seat database system of a venue and/or stadium or optionally be used in parallel with the seat venue/stadium database. For example, prior to the event, the system may utilize the seat database of the venue to determine available seating and patrons that do not show up after a predetermined period of time. Alternatively, the present invention can operate using a separate database from the event/venue by copying or building a separate database used for the ticketing and/or upgrading according to the present invention. In this alternative, as patrons enter the venue, they are checked in directly to this separate database. At the time of the event, the system will be able to check-in patrons using either the identification system, e.g., bar code scanner, of the event or venue, or provide a separate identification system.

In alternative embodiments of the invention, the patron that knows they are attending the game but is going to be late can send in a HOLD message even prior to being provided a warning message that their seats are to be released if the patron does not respond to the message with the HOLD request. That is, in this embodiment, since the patron already knows well in advance that they are attending the game, but perhaps stuck in traffic, the patron can initiate the HOLD message before even being warned in advance of the possibility of their seat being released.

In another alternative embodiment, patrons that have registered with the system and optionally checked into the stadium and/or venue in advance and who also know that they would like an upgrade and/or ticket, may initiate their own upgrade request to the system to notify the system of their willingness to purchase an upgrade and/or new ticket for the event/venue. The system may then place these patrons on a higher priority since they have already expressed and intent and/or willingness to purchase the upgrade or ticket. The patron may notify the event and/or stadium of their willingness optionally well in advance of the game or near/after game time at a time which the patron commits or expresses an additional heightened desire to upgrade and/or purchase a ticket.

In alternative embodiments, the system includes the advantage of allowing patrons to register free for a predetermined period of time, for example, for the first year, without paying a yearly subscriber fee. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system provides the patron with their first upgrade for free or for a reduced rate to further encourage the patron to register with the system and method of the present invention. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system of the present invention offers the patron reduced and/or free concessions when purchasing a membership, ticket and/or upgrade to further encourage the patron to participate in the offers of the present invention.

In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the matching system and/or process, permits participants in the program to initiate a message to the system with the seat location and/or name of the patron that they would like to be matched with for a meeting, networking and/or socializing such as a date. In this embodiment, the system may the push the message to the other subscriber and assign new seats to the individuals that are to be matched. Alternatively, the system Need not require a specific confirmation that the second individual to be notified of the potential match is physically located near the first individual, but can rely on the first individual to provide that information. For example, the first individual may see a potential date in a restaurant, and may then send a message to the system with that person's name or address, that they would like to meet that other individual. In that situation, the second individual will receive a message of the possible match, and can respond and accept or reject the offer to meet. The second individual can then provide a meeting destination or the system can suggest a meeting place based on the first individual advising the system of their location, and the location of the second individual.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Advantageously, the multiple choice questions each have unique selections, such as a1, b1, c1 and d1 for question #1; a2, b2, c2, and d2 for question #2; a3, b3, c3 and d3 for question #3, and the like. In this embodiment, the actual timing of questions is not necessary since each question and answer is unique. Therefore, the speed of responding to the question is immaterial to the winner of the contest and/or correct answer. Also, in the event one patron answers the question late, there will be no confusion which question the patron is submitting an answer for. Patrons text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers as indicated above using the unique set of answers, in one embodiment. In alternative embodiments, the first predetermined number of patrons that answer the question correctly are considered the winners.

The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, e.g., a1 50%, b1 28%, c1 12% and d1 10%, and display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

As discussed above, one or more of the above alternative embodiments may be incorporated into the embodiments described above, and/or any of the embodiments discussed below. Furthermore, any of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event.

FIG. 29 is a flowchart of a seventh embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 29, the process begins by enrolling members in the program that are interested in the ticket upgrade. Tickets are checked in, for example, as the patrons enter the reserved seating area, such as a stadium or theater, through, for example, bar code readers, scanners, infrared readers, and/or manually or other method where the patron is checked in, either at the gate, seat or other location. An optional separate check in area is provided for patrons that want to participate in the upgrade program. For example, patrons can optionally check in a predetermined time before the event through a wireless device, Internet connection, manual or voice recognition telephone, or other manner. The important point is to provide a standard manner for allowing patrons to check in, and if the patron fails to check in using a predetermined procedure, to allow that seat to be provided to another willing patron in accordance with a process to be described below. Currently, such a process is impossible and unthinkable in view of the difficulty reserved seating events have in simply getting the patrons seated prior to the beginning of the event. The present invention represents a revolutionary process to enhance event enjoyment, earn patron loyalty and optionally provide additional revenues to the theater/stadium or optionally other patrons with the desirable ticket.

The check in procedure continues for a predetermined period of time until a predetermined time period has expired, for example, 5 minutes before the event begins, 10 minutes after the event begins, after a predetermined event, such as the second act of a play, and the like. Once the predetermined time period or event has been completed, the check in procedure may be considered completed to begin the seat re-allocation process. To begin the seat re-allocation process, a re-allocation algorithm is used to re-assign seats for patrons that are willing or interested in different or better seats. Such re-allocation processes or algorithms may include a random process, a process where priority patrons are given priority for re-assignment of seat, a process where patrons are willing to pay additional for the re-assignment to either the theater or the individual patron whose seat is being provided to another patron, frequent event patrons, season ticket patrons, a standard bidding process, or other predetermined process.

An optional polling process to poll existing members and non-members in seats to whether additional seats are available. That is, in another optional embodiment of the present invention, non-members may also make their seats available for re-allocation/re-sale at any point in the process. In this additional polling process, the next step is to determine whether additional seats have been made available. If additional seats have been made available, then these additional seats are added to the list of available seats.

If the patron that is identified by the re-allocation process is determined to be present in the theater, for example, via mobile telephone, wireless device, and/or manual verification, an optional sub-process determines whether the patron's optional profile is also satisfied with the available seating. If the optional subscriber profile is not satisfied, then the re-allocation process searches for another possible patron. If the optional profile sub-process is satisfied, then the eligible patron is notified via one or more means, such as announcement, manually, wireless device, mobile telephone, bulletin board, and/or other means. The patron is then notified and presented with the option of moving for free, use of award points, additional money to the theater and/or patron to whose seat is being provided, or other predetermined criteria to obtain the seat. The patron, of course has the option to decline, and if so, the process continues and returns to the re-allocation process to attempt to locate another possible patron.

If the patron accepts, payment of money or other means may be effectuated on the spot via the wireless device, credit card, debit card, points, and the like, and the patron may now move to the other seat. In addition, the original ticket holder is optionally reimbursed with award points, a percentage of the revenue, a flat fee, an additional event ticket that might also be upgradable, and/or any other means for rewarding the original ticket holder. The patron's seat may then optionally be made available as an empty seat to the re-allocation process. If a predetermined period of time has not expired, then the re-allocation process may be run again to optionally continuously re-allocate seats. The patron may optionally store the up-graded ticket on a wireless device for proof of entrance to the better seating area. Optionally, the seat and/or row and/or section, includes a separate reader device to receive optionally the original ticket that is now re-allocated to a better seat, or a new ticket that may optionally be received by the patron via the wireless device and/or manually via a worker in the theater or stadium.

In accordance with the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets very near to game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron must be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept.

In one alternative embodiment, if the patron that has their ticket re-allocated in error, e.g., because the patron did not show up to the event based on the predetermined criteria but the patron was still planning on attending because they forgot about their seat being re-allocated, the system can re-allocate seats immediately upon the checking in of the patron and notify them that their seats have changed because they are late. In this situation, the stadium/venue might decide to further upgrade the patrons because of the mistake.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the process of the present invention specifically reserves seats of the highest or very high rating that are considered preferred, in the event a patron's seat is re-allocated prematurely or erroneously. In this situation, the patron who has had their seat re-allocated because they will likely receive an even better seat as a result of the mistaken (stadium or patron) or premature seat re-allocation.

In another embodiment of the present invention, as patrons are entering the venue or stadium, they are provided advantageously with a map of the stadium so patrons can analyze the potential upgrade to make a decision whether the upgraded seats are sufficiently good or of value to warrant the patron moving and/or paying for the additional upgrade. By handing the patron the map of the stadium, the process of the the present invention is not required to transmit a detailed schematic to the patron's wireless device which would not normally be able to effectively permit the patron to evaluate the proposed upgrade seats. The map that is handed out may optionally include information for patrons on where to register for the upgrade and/or additional advertisement opportunities.

In one alternative embodiment, the patron that has purchased the ticket, for example, a season ticket holder, may advise the stadium that for a particular game, set of games or all games, they do not want their seats to be re-allocated, and perhaps, an additional fee is assessed for this type of patron. If the stadium provides the ability for the patron to selectively opt out of the seat re-allocation, the patron can, for example, connect to the system via the Internet, public switched telephone network, cellular network, and the like, and notify the system that they do not want their ticket re-allocated, for example, because they are coming late to the event. Other means of notifying the system and/or other reasons may be utilized in connection with the present invention.

In another alternative embodiment, the system provides patrons the ability to individually select when their tickets may be re-allocated. For example, one patron may prefer to only give up their ticket if they are late to the game by 15 minutes, while another patron may be willing to give up their ticket if they have not arrived 15 minutes before the game. In alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide incentives for the patron to have their ticket re-allocated prior to the game because it increases the stadiums chances of re-allocating/re-selling the ticket.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provide additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In an alternative embodiment, the system determines priority of re-allocation of seats based first upon patrons that have seats that may also be re-allocated. That is, the systems attempts to maximize the number of re-allocations by prioritizing the re-allocation based upon seats that may be re-allocated after already being re-allocated. For example, if front row seats in a stadium are available to be re-allocated, in this alternative embodiment, patrons that are in the next closest section for example on the field level would be upgraded first to those seats. Then, patrons with less preferred seats, for example, in the upper deck would be re-allocated to the seats that have now become available from the patrons that have been upgraded to the front row. Thus, using this alternative priority scheme, the present invention maximizes the re-allocation numbers. Of course, this priority algorithm may be combined with additional factors, for example, relating to subscriber/patron value. As described above, additional factors may be utilized in the algorithm to determine the subscriber or set of subscribers to offer the upgrade.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally rate the upgraded patron, for example, for appropriate behavior, wearing of excessively large hats, drunkenness behavior, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the re-allocation algorithm for future upgrades to the patron.

In alternative embodiments, the patrons eligible for the upgrade may be notified using standard email communications over a wireless device, mobile telephone, and/or other standard communication means. For example, standard text-to-voice and/or voice-to-text communications may be used to contact the patron to evaluate whether an upgrade will be accepted and to actually accept the upgrade.

In another embodiment of the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that have already purchased tickets in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats and/or may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets at any time prior to and/or after beginning of game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron may be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention or even at any location when being offered upgrades and/or seats well in advance of the game. For example, the present invention can upgrade or sell tickets to patrons well in advance of the game since it advantageously is permitted or has the authority to resell tickets either via ticket holders that do not show up during the game and/or, for example, season ticket holders that have authorized the stadium in advance to resell their tickets based on predetermined criteria, for example, when the season ticket holder notifies the stadium that they will not be present at next weeks game.

In one optional embodiment of the invention, the patron presents the usher with the confirmation number which the usher can enter into a wireless device using a local or private wireless network, or can simply use a walkie talkie or telephone to call the dispatcher to confirm the upgrade and/or new seats using the customer provided confirmation number. The dispatcher will have access to the system to enter the confirmation number to confirm the validity of the upgrade. Alternatively, a patron will retain their old ticket. The patron will give in the old ticket to the usher which is scanned or barcoded by the usher for immediate identification of new seats and used in place of, or in addition to, confirmation number.

Of course, the confirmation may optionally be made via customer name with an appropriate identification card or other information. Further, alternative methods may be used to verify that the confirmation number and/or ticket being used by the patron is valid. For example, the patron may be equipped with a printing device associated with the wireless device or download an actual ticket on line from home prior to the game for the new ticket or upgrade. Alternatively, the patron may be equipped with an identifier card, optionally including a bar code with a unique identifier relating to the patron's account information and profile that can be scanned for additional convenience. Alternatively, a wireless device may be used to securely store this type of identification and/or account information.

In at least one alternative embodiment of the invention, the patron may comprise optionally a corporate account that has a number of tickets, for example, season tickets. In this embodiment, the corporate account may have associated therewith a plurality of email addresses or other communication addresses to transmit the seat or upgrade offer to a number of potential patrons that may rotate their attendance at the games. In accordance with this optional embodiment, multiple emails can be stored for a single user/corporate account, and the system may transmit individual messages to all email addresses, or may only transmit messages to individual patrons for corporate account that individually advise the system that they are associated with a particular ticket/bar code for a particular game and will be/are present at a particular game.

In an alternative embodiment, patrons may enter the stadium and subsequently inform the system that they are present and interested in an upgrade via a kiosk where the patron can scan a bar code and enter their customer number to be eligible for upgrades during the game. The system is then able to transmit a message to the customer, assuming that the customer has pre-registered with the system with the appropriate contact information. Alternatively, or in addition to individual use of a kiosk(s), the customer sales office may have a kiosk or additional functionality to enter the customer name and/or customer account and scan in the bar coded ticket on the spot to register each patron as they enter the stadium or venue.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron upon entry in the stadium to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept when an offer is received by the patron at a predetermined time. The graphical map may comprise a small booklet with a map of the stadium showing seat locations, and optionally a game schedule.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provides additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally be eligible for a dating or matching service where patrons register and provide profile information to the system and/or through a third service provider dating service. Once the system knows that the patrons will be coming to the game and/or have actually checked in to the stadium, the system can then arrange for the two, four, etc. patrons to meet each other by allocating and/or re-allocating seats to the patrons together. Thus, based on profile information, customer request and availability, the system is able to upgrade or sell tickets to patrons to maximize their chances of meeting someone at the game. This optional feature provides significant potential enjoyment for the patrons participating in this dating or connection program. In accordance with this embodiment, one possible sequence of acceptance steps involves profile matching the two patrons (or groups of patrons) based on predetermined profile information; transmitting a first message to the first patron regarding availability of the second patron and requesting a conditional acceptance form the first patron; transmitting a second message to the second patron indicating that the first patron has conditionally accepted and request the second patron to accept; and when the second patron accepts before the first patron has rescinded the conditional acceptance, finalizing the upgrade and/or seat allocation for the first and second patrons. This embodiment of the invention is a complete reverse from typical dating and/or matchmaking services which attempt to develop detailed algorithms for the matching process because of the significant decision that exists in determining who to spend valuable time with. In accordance with the invention, patrons are already present at the game, and therefore, half or more than half the effort is already done. The remainder is to actually meet the other person which can be accomplished with profile criteria, whether or not the algorithms are very sophisticated.

In one embodiment, the patrons that are being matched have their original seats maintained and not made available for other upgrades in the event the matching does not work out early on. In this embodiment, one or both the patrons can return to their original seat. Hopefully, there will not be a significant argument of who would need to return to their original seat if an upgrade is actually performed. In addition, in accordance with this embodiment, the seats that are selected do not necessarily have to be better seats in the classical sense. That is, seats further away from other ticket holders might be considered preferred when matching two individuals for the first time. Alternatively, couple that would prefer a little more privacy or quieter game might request to be moved to a more isolated area. Alternatively, families with small children might prefer to be moved to a less busy area as well during the game where the children might be able to freely move around. All these scenarios and/or alternatives are possible in view of the present invention. The advantage of performing a match in a public setting is that the patrons do not have to worry about leaving or ending the date, and also do not have to worry that the other person will have their home address.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like.

In addition, this feature also optionally permits the patrons that have participated in the program to rate one another for future dates. For example, one patron can rate the conversational benefits of the second patron, the appearance of the second patron, the overall short term versus long terms relationship goals of the patron, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the algorithm for future seat assignments, re-allocations and/or upgrades in the future for the first and second patrons, and all other patrons will now benefit with the additional profile information of the first and second patrons. The matching service may be for amusement or work related networking purposes, for example, to meet an executive that the patron currently works with or wishes to work with/sell in the future.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like. In addition, the system advantageously and optionally provides the feature of allowing patrons to text message one another directly, and/or exchange pictures via wireless email, text messaging, and other wireless devices that provide the standard capability of exchanging pictures, such a T Mobile and/or Sprint.

In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder can call in via a voice to text message, text message and/or email and let the stadium know early that they are not coming. In this manner the ticket holder obtains the convenience of the stadium or venue reselling their tickets in advance, thereby providing the venue with additional time to maximize the resale of the ticket.

In alternative embodiments, when the patron enters the stadium, they have their ticket barcoded or other device that detects their presence can bu used such as infrared, Bluetooth, etc., and then they can become eligible for an upgrade. The patron can register in advance that they want to receive upgrades by providing their name, message address, e.g., email, telephone text message address, etc., and optionally their credit card or other payment mechanism for upgrades that actually cost money as opposed to free upgrades. In alternative embodiments, the patron can register at the ticket booth when purchasing their original ticket. In this scenario, the stadium representative can enter this information on behalf of, and with the permission of, the patron since the patron may already be providing their credit card, debit card, etc. to purchase the original tickets. Alternatively or in addition, a kiosk may be provided where the patron can enter their original ticket, e.g., scan in their original ticket and provide their name and text message information in the stadium to register for a one time upgrade for the game after purchasing, for example, a regular admission ticket.

In alternative embodiments, an usher can verify that the patron should be upgraded by the patron providing the confirmation number that may be transmitted in real-time by the system, and/or by the patron using their original confirmation number or original ticket with barcode or other identification means, such as a smart card, infrared reader, etc. that represents original ticket and presenting same to the user. The usher then needs only to scan in the original ticket and the system will verify whether the patron associated with the original ticket is valid and whether the upgrade is valid.

In alternative embodiments, a warning message may be sent to the ticket holder that has not shown up to game warning them that if they do not respond within a certain time period that their seat will be re-allocated or re-assigned to another patron. Similarly, a release message may be sent to the ticket holder after their seat has actually been released and/or re-allocated, thereby notifying the patron that if they change their mind in attending the game, they will have to obtain an additional ticket. In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder that has their seat released and re-allocated can be themselves re-allocated a similar, worse or better seat, depending on, for example, their subscriber value and/or other criteria. For example, if the patron is provided a better seat, this will encourage them to more readily give up their seats in the future even if they are attending the game. On the other hand, if the patron is provided a worse seat, then this encourages them not to artificially give up or have their seat released when attending the game. Accordingly, the present invention is designed to deal with various behavioral patterns of specific ticket holders, and may optionally and advantageously be a ticket holder specific with respect to various criteria for re-assigning, releasing, selling and/or re-allocating tickets.

In alternative embodiments, the system transmits to the ticket holder a welcome message after being upgraded and after having being moved to a new upgraded seat location. In one embodiment, the system identifies that the patron has been successfully upgraded after the patron provides the usher with a confirmation number or original ticket, which is then verified by the usher and system.

In alternative embodiments, the system, after having identified which patrons have checked into the stadium and/or have been upgraded, transmits a trivia question and/or additional advertisements to all patrons attending the game. In alternative embodiments, the information is transmitted to both patrons that are attending the game and additional patrons that have registered in the past to receive information but that are not attending the game. The participants can, for example, answer trivia questions and respond with their wireless device. Depending on whether the patron is attending the game or not, the system may determine to offer or deal with each of the patrons differently. For example, for patrons at the game, winners may be successively determined and narrowed, as patrons successfully and unsuccessfully answer questions, round after round of questions in a ?spelling bee? format. For patrons that are not attending the game, winners may be declared, or statistics provided to the broadcast station that can be aired on television. In yet additional alternative embodiments, instead of transmitting information/questions to the patrons via the wireless device, the information/questions are displayed on the stadium billboard for patrons at the game and/or on television for patrons that are watching the game on television. The patron can then merely respond via the device, e.g., the telephone accordingly via a voice-to-text system or via other mobile devices via text messaging.

In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of additional advertising sponsorship to the venue. For example, in one embodiment, the venue is partitioned into different locations that may be assigned to different sponsors. In one embodiment, the sponsor that provides the most value may be assigned a certain number of premium seats that are not available to other sponsors.

For example, the sponsor may offer a discount on the upgrade if you are a Verizon or Verizon Wireless customer or they credit your cell account for each seat upgrade or you get say 30 free minutes, etc. In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of one wireless provider to advertise on another wireless providers mobile phone or wireless device. For example, if Verizon Wireless is a sponsor of the upgrade system for a particular stadium, the present invention will still work with, for example, AT&T, SPRINT, and CINGULAR customers. An advertisement message sent with the upgrade offer may read on the AT&T phone, ?brought to you by Verizon Wireless.? In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, text messaging is optionally used for mobile phones to perform the message communication of the present invention. The user is only required, in one embodiment, to reply or respond with a ?Yes? to accept the upgrade offer since the user has advantageously pre-registered with the system, thereby minimizing the required communication/input by the user. In an alternative embodiment, the user, instead of pre-registering with the system, is charged on their wireless or even regular telephone number bill when they accept the upgrade offer. Thus, the wireless system that either administers the user's regular or wireless account or the upgrade sponsor may be responsible for actually billing the customer in this alternative embodiment.

In the alternative embodiment when text messaging is optionally used alone or in combination with other communication methods, the system provides the additional advantage of maximizing bandwidth usage by not requiring use of bandwidth on the wireless voice system, thereby maximizing system resources.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention optionally and advantageously provides a security and/or safety feature in the event of, for example, a minor event where a parent gets separated from a child, a disaster or other event that might require evacuation of the stadium. In one embodiment, the person needing help provides their name to an attendant that can search the system for the contact information of their companion/parent. The system can thereafter send an email and/or text message to the companion/parent regarding the status of that person and provide instructions for meeting that person or arranging help, authorizing medical procedures, and the like. In another embodiment, the person requiring help, e.g., a child provides the attendant or kiosk with their ticket which can, e.g., scan the bar code or other reader system. The system can either automatically provide a text message to the parent who can then reply to the child/attendant via the kiosk to meet the child.

Alternatively, the parent can be instructed to meet the child at a predetermined location, and to stop looking for the child because the child was found. Thus, for this example, the person who is lost or separated from their party can notify security or access a kiosk. Security can, for example, notify the parent that child is in safe custody, and should not search the stadium, and therefore, meet outside stadium in a pre-specified safe place.

In an alternative embodiment, if a child/person is separated, the security guard/kiosk can arrange the best place to meet, either in or outside the stadium, together based on an optional global positioning system (GPS). In addition, the party with the mobile device can be provided directions on where to go to meet their party from who they have been separated.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention may also be used in a security, defense and/or safety setting to direct patrons in a stadium for an orderly evacuation or notify patrons regarding status of a safety related event via, for example, a broadcast message including text message, email and the like. In this manner, system communication resources may be most efficiently utilized by not over-utilizing the system via voice communication, unless completely necessary. For example, the message can be broadcast in the event of an impending hurricane. In this situation, patrons in different sections get different messages, for example, to exit the stadium out of gates/exits that are either less occupied or closest to the section the patrons are sitting in. Advantageously, the present invention has the patrons contact information, including optionally and advantageously text messaging, that can be broadcast or sent to different patrons. The advantage of text messaging is that the bandwidth is more efficiently used in the event of an emergency, and there are no busy signals as in a voice network. Further, the message is send, and if the network is at capacity, the system can automatically resend or the message will be placed in queue and sent as soon as capacity becomes available.

In another alternative embodiment of the invention, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction.

For instance, in sporting venues the bracelet ticket includes the machine readable information that comprises at least one of a bar code and radio frequency identifier used for security check in, and optionally check out. In this manner, the standard reading machines that can scan the bar code or RFID information can keep track of people that have checked into the sporting event and/or venue. Advantageously, the machine readable information on the bracelet can also be used by the venue in the event the patrons seat assignment is modified, for example, via an electronic ticket exchange or upgrade program. In this embodiment, the visible indicia are no longer valid for the actual seating that may be dynamically changed and only represents optionally an initial seat assignment. However, the machine readable information may be used as a code to reference the specific patron and assign that patron a new seat. Thus, when the ticket reader scans the ticket and actually identifies, for example, the bar code, this information can be used to reference the patron, update and/or confirm the patron's current seat via the reader used, for example, by ushers in the venue, kiosk, entrance to the venue, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction. This information, as previously mentioned, may be visually cognizable for the patron and in combination, readable by electronic means if the bracelet includes a magnetic strip, bar code imprinting, or RF chip.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the security bracelet and ticket combination of the present invention advantageously includes a bar code or other machine readable information such as a RFID device. When, for example, a child is separated form their parent, the parent can notify security and the seat number associated with the child. If the child attempts to leave with their bar code/identifier, the system detects the bar code/identifier as either being valid and identifying the child that is missing or being invalid and raising another red flag. In an alternative embodiment, the bar codes/identifiers associated between children and adults correspond such that the child identifier must be within a predetermined time and/or number of checking out identifiers from/within the adult identifier. If this does not occur, the system determines that the child is leaving without their parent, and possibly being abducted.

In an alternative embodiment, the system links one or more tickets/identifiers together and requires the tickets/identifiers to exit the venue or event within a predetermined time period from one another and/or within a predetermined number of tickets/identifiers that have exited the venue and/or event. In the event that one ticket/identifier exits the venue or event and the associated identifier does not, then an alarm or other indictor occurs, and the attendants will detain the patrons that have initiated the alarm to for security purposes.

In an alternative embodiment, the tickets are advantageously coded with designations such as adult, child and the like. In the event a child ticket/identifier exits the stadium before the associated adult and/or more that a predetermined time period and/or number of patrons exiting, the system can initiate an alarm so that an attendant can determine if a child has exited the venue or event without their parent or with a wrong parent potentially averting a kidnapping. In this embodiment, an additional combination is the use of the standard fast pass feature, for example, at theme parks, and the like, where the venue records predetermined events that the user of the card enters in a faster line. In this embodiment, if a child ticket/identifier is not associated with a parent ticket/identifier, for example, as described above, the child may be denied entry into the event or venue if not accompanied by their parent. In alternative embodiments, the venue/event sponsor or organizer associates tickets upon request from the patron. In addition, in another alternative embodiment, a kiosk is provided inside and/or outside the venue for, for example, parents to register their tickets and have them associated with their children's tickets to prevent he child from exiting the venue without them, for example, as described above.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system and method are adapted to utilize any type of wireless device with different interface and communication options. For example, different wireless devices have different constraints with respect to the interface, e.g., number of characters, how the subject and body of the messages are used/communicated, etc. Accordingly, the present invention optionally provides a protocol conversion system depending on the type of wireless device and the wireless device constraints, including message constraints and/or the wireless communication system. In alternative embodiments, the system determines the wireless device provider based on the address received from the wireless device, and is able to automatically determine the type of message and/or message constraints and transmission constraints associated therewith based for example, on real-time information or on pre-determined stored information on the device and/or communication system. Accordingly, a protocol conversion system for different wireless devices is provided by the present invention for sending and/or receiving messages, such as upgrade offers, responses, acceptances, and the like, from a variety of different users/mobile devices and wireless systems.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, a security bracelet is advantageously utilized, for example, such as the security bracelet disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/680,207, filed on Oct. 8, 2003, to Abraham I. Reifer, et al., and incorporated herein by reference, in the event of a reported event, security breach, abduction, and the like. In this embodiment, all patrons exiting the stadium must show their ticket and/or identifier so that the venue can check all patrons out of the stadium. Thus, for example, if two kidnappers come in the stadium, and want to use one bracelet for a child, the second kidnapper will be stranded in the stadium. In addition, if one kidnapper buys two tickets, then upon exit with the child and the additional ticket, a barcode/identifier will be exiting without ever having checked in, and then the alarm will go off as well.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention provides a broadcast message to warn patrons of an event, such as an advertisement, sale and/or even a weather related event such as a hurricane that might require the venue to be evacuated. Advantageously, in at least one embodiment, the broadcast message comprises standard text messaging that optimizes or better utilizes capacity form the communication system. Thus, when using text messaging capabilities, the present invention efficiently transmits text messages to numerous subscribers regarding, for example, exit information, contacting and/or meeting additional parties that have been separated, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the present invention optionally provides the capability to penetrate into secondary market with season ticket holders selling ahead of time the games they will not be attending. For example, the present invention optionally provides the feature for the season ticket holder and/or general ticket purchaser the ability to view in advance of the season and/or game the schedule, and to alert the venue and/or stadium of games and/or events they will not be attending, thereby permitting the stadium/venue to attempt to resell the tickets to other patrons. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the patron is provided with a monthly schedule listing the events that may be attended. The patron, such as a season ticket holder, may then click or place an indicator on all games they will not be attending for the season in advance, thereby providing the stadium with the ability to resell tickets well in advance of the event. Once the patron completes identifying games that will not be attended, the system then compiles a list and transmits the list to the patron for an optional confirmation. This list is then used by the system to release seats well in advance of the game. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, registered users of the system for, for example, upgrades, may also be notified of seat availability for sales prior to the game/event. In an alternative of this embodiment, registered users may receive text messages, emails, and the like, notifying them advantageously of the availability of seats that heretofore have never been easily available to the public for sale, thereby allowing the venue to participate in secondary market ticket sales.

In one alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system/process of the present invention provides or operates as a middle person/broker between the ticket holder that is returning tickets to the venue, such as the season ticket holder, and a ticket sales system and/or company, such as tickets.com, by notifying the tickets company of the newly available seats via notification by the ticket holder, such as the season ticket holder of season ticket games not being attended.

In one alternative embodiment of the invention, the system and/or process transmits text messages, emails and the like, to offer tickets and/or seats and/or admittance to subscribers for events and/or games with empty seats even before game. Thus, the present invention allows the venue to participate in the secondary ticket sales market and the upgrade market, thereby increasing revenue and fan loyalty.

Of course, all of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event, and/or venue that require tickets for entry thereof.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the use of machine readable identifiers provides advantages for, for example, the upgrade program or ticket exchange of the present invention. For example, when the upgrade, re-allocation and/or electronic ticket is issued, the machine readable identifier, for example, the bar code, on the original ticket is invalidated, thereby preventing use of the invalidated ticket. Accordingly, when a new ticket holder purchases the ticket form the season ticket holder, the new purchaser will be issued a new machine readable identifier, and optionally a new paper ticket. The present invention advantageously is able to handle the issuance of a new ticket and invalidates the old ticket and optionally the old identifier that has, for example, been returned by the season ticket holder, thereby providing dynamic ticketing capability.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the new patron obtains a new identifier such as a barcode, the old bar code of, for example, the season ticket holder is invalidated. In one embodiment of the invention, season ticket holders are offered to opt in the upgrade process. Various commercial incentives are possible for the season ticket holder to opt in the upgrade process, such as monetary compensation when their ticket is used for an upgrade and/or resold whether they express their intention not to go to the game prior to the game, and the like. Alternatively, season ticket holders may be offered that the cost of their season tickets will, for example, remain the same as the previous year or be reduced if they participate in the program. Therefore, the combination season ticket trade-in and upgrade program in one embodiment of the invention will be beneficial to season ticket holders by allowing them to trade when they already know that they have no intention of attending a game, and allow the season ticket holder to recoup some cost of the season tickets if they do not attend and their ticket is used as an upgrade. In addition, additional patrons of the event and/or sports team are permitted to attend the game in locations/seats that they might never have been able to obtain access to. Further, the venue/stadium/team maximize revenues by being able to place tickets on the secondary market when the ticket holder notifies the venue early enough that they are not attending the event, the venue also obtains additional revenue from upgrades when tickets are upgraded, and the venue obtains additional fan loyalty.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the system provides the ability to advertise via email, text messaging, and the like, for one wireless carrier on the wireless device that is using another wireless carrier. Since the user of the wireless device has requested the service, the user appropriately receives the communication from the ticketing system of the present invention, and therefore, also appropriately received the advertisement from the wireless carrier that is different than the wireless carrier that the user of the wireless may be using at that time.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, offers to purchase seats either during the game or even well in advance of the game are ?pushed? or transmitted out to registered users that have supplied their wireless and/or Internet addresses. For example, patrons can register in advance for the upgrade and/or regular ticket offers to purchase admittance via various methods including the Internet. When seats band/or admittance becomes available, a broadcast message or other standard messages may be transmitted to the registered patrons to notify them of the seat availability. Thus, seat offers are ?pushed? to registered users that have requested this service advantageously to a wireless device and/or other address including standard telephone communication, as well as additional optional advertisements. The system, in one alternative embodiment, provides the user the option when registering to accept certain types of advertisements to be received on their wireless device via email and/or text messaging. In other embodiments, the user does not have the option of which advertisements to receive.

Advantageously, in accordance with one alternative embodiment of the present invention, if a patron decides to attend an event such as a sporting event when the patron does not have time to wait to receive paper tickets (e.g., the patron is visiting in another city/location and does not have time to wait to receive tickets via mail and is on the go), the system of the present invention transmits a ticket to the patron via, for example, a wireless communication system and/or other standard electronic communication system such as the Internet, and the patron can present their ticket, for example, on their wireless device and show up to game.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Patrons then text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers. The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system uses a seat database to determine which of the reserved seats are currently in use. The system may integrate with the seat database system of a venue and/or stadium or optionally be used in parallel with the seat venue/stadium database. For example, prior to the event, the system may utilize the seat database of the venue to determine available seating and patrons that do not show up after a predetermined period of time. Alternatively, the present invention can operate using a separate database from the event/venue by copying or building a separate database used for the ticketing and/or upgrading according to the present invention. In this alternative, as patrons enter the venue, they are checked in directly to this separate database. At the time of the event, the system will be able to check-in patrons using either the identification system, e.g., bar code scanner, of the event or venue, or provide a separate identification system.

In alternative embodiments of the invention, the patron that knows they are attending the game but is going to be late can send in a HOLD message even prior to being provided a warning message that their seats are to be released if the patron does not respond to the message with the HOLD request. That is, in this embodiment, since the patron already knows well in advance that they are attending the game, but perhaps stuck in traffic, the patron can initiate the HOLD message before even being warned in advance of the possibility of their seat being released.

In another alternative embodiment, patrons that have registered with the system and optionally checked into the stadium and/or venue in advance and who also know that they would like an upgrade and/or ticket, may initiate their own upgrade request to the system to notify the system of their willingness to purchase an upgrade and/or new ticket for the event/venue. The system may then place these patrons on a higher priority since they have already expressed and intent and/or willingness to purchase the upgrade or ticket. The patron may notify the event and/or stadium of their willingness optionally well in advance of the game or near/after game time at a time which the patron commits or expresses an additional heightened desire to upgrade and/or purchase a ticket.

In alternative embodiments, the system includes the advantage of allowing patrons to register free for a predetermined period of time, for example, for the first year, without paying a yearly subscriber fee. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system provides the patron with their first upgrade for free or for a reduced rate to further encourage the patron to register with the system and method of the present invention. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system of the present invention offers the patron reduced and/or free concessions when purchasing a membership, ticket and/or upgrade to further encourage the patron to participate in the offers of the present invention.

In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the matching system and/or process, permits participants in the program to initiate a message to the system with the seat location and/or name of the patron that they would like to be matched with for a meeting, networking and/or socializing such as a date. In this embodiment, the system may the push the message to the other subscriber and assign new seats to the individuals that are to be matched. Alternatively, the system Need not require a specific confirmation that the second individual to be notified of the potential match is physically located near the first individual, but can rely on the first individual to provide that information. For example, the first individual may see a potential date in a restaurant, and may then send a message to the system with that person's name or address, that they would like to meet that other individual. In that situation, the second individual will receive a message of the possible match, and can respond and accept or reject the offer to meet. The second individual can then provide a meeting destination or the system can suggest a meeting place based on the first individual advising the system of their location, and the location of the second individual.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Advantageously, the multiple choice questions each have unique selections, such as a1, b1, c1 and d1 for question #1; a2, b2, c2, and d2 for question #2; a3, b3, c3 and d3 for question #3, and the like. In this embodiment, the actual timing of questions is not necessary since each question and answer is unique. Therefore, the speed of responding to the question is immaterial to the winner of the contest and/or correct answer. Also, in the event one patron answers the question late, there will be no confusion which question the patron is submitting an answer for. Patrons text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers as indicated above using the unique set of answers, in one embodiment. In alternative embodiments, the first predetermined number of patrons that answer the question correctly are considered the winners.

The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, e.g., a1 50%, b1 28%, c1 12% and d1 10%, and display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

As discussed above, one or more of the above alternative embodiments may be incorporated into the embodiments described above, and/or any of the embodiments discussed below. Furthermore, any of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event.

FIG. 30 is a flowchart of an eighth embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 30, the process begins by enrolling members in the program that are interested in the ticket upgrade. Tickets are checked in, for example, as the patrons enter the reserved seating area, such as a stadium or theater, through, for example, bar code readers, scanners, infrared readers, and/or manually or other method where the patron is checked in, either at the gate, seat or other location. An optional separate check in area is provided for patrons that want to participate in the upgrade program. For example, patrons can optionally check in a predetermined time before the event through a wireless device, Internet connection, manual or voice recognition telephone, or other manner. The important point is to provide a standard manner for allowing patrons to check in, and if the patron fails to check in using a predetermined procedure, to allow that seat to be provided to another willing patron in accordance with a process to be described below. Currently, such a process is impossible and unthinkable in view of the difficulty reserved seating events have in simply getting the patrons seated prior to the beginning of the event. The present invention represents a revolutionary process to enhance event enjoyment, earn patron loyalty and optionally provide additional revenues to the theater/stadium or optionally other patrons with the desirable ticket.

The seat re-allocation process is used to re-assign seats for patrons that are willing or interested in different or better seats. Such re-allocation processes or algorithms may include a random process, a process where priority patrons are given priority for re-assignment of seat, a process where patrons are willing to pay additional for the re-assignment to either the theater or the individual patron whose seat is being provided to another patron, frequent event patrons, season ticket patrons, a standard bidding process, or other predetermined process. Simultaneously or subsequently, the check in procedure continues for a predetermined period of time until a predetermined time period has expired, for example, 5 minutes before the event begins, 10 minutes after the event begins, after a predetermined event, such as the second act of a play, and the like. Once the predetermined time period or event has been completed, the check in procedure may be considered completed to begin the seat re-allocation process.

An optional polling process to poll existing members and non-members in seats to whether additional seats are available. That is, in another optional embodiment of the present invention, non-members may also make their seats available for re-allocation/re-sale at any point in the process. In this additional polling process, the next step is to determine whether additional seats have been made available. If additional seats have been made available, then these additional seats are added to the list of available seats.

If the patron that is identified by the re-allocation process is determined to be present in the theater, for example, via mobile telephone, wireless device, and/or manual verification, an optional sub-process determines whether the patron's optional profile is also satisfied with the available seating. If the optional subscriber profile is not satisfied, then the re-allocation process searches for another possible patron. If the optional profile sub-process is satisfied, then the eligible patron is notified via one or more means, such as announcement, manually, wireless device, mobile telephone, bulletin board, and/or other means. The patron is then notified and presented with the option of moving for free, use of award points, additional money to the theater and/or patron to whose seat is being provided, or other predetermined criteria to obtain the seat. The patron, of course has the option to decline, and if so, the process continues and returns to the re-allocation process to attempt to locate another possible patron.

If the patron accepts, payment of money or other means may be effectuated on the spot via the wireless device, credit card, debit card, points, and the like, and the patron may now move to the other seat. The patron's seat may then optionally be made available as an empty seat to the re-allocation process. If a predetermined period of time has not expired, then the re-allocation process may be run again to optionally continuously re-allocate seats. The patron may optionally store the up-graded ticket on a wireless device for proof of entrance to the better seating area. Optionally, the seat and/or row and/or section, includes a separate reader device to receive optionally the original ticket that is now re-allocated to a better seat, or a new ticket that may optionally be received by the patron via the wireless device and/or manually via a worker in the theater or stadium.

In accordance with the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets very near to game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron must be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept.

In one alternative embodiment, if the patron that has their ticket re-allocated in error, e.g., because the patron did not show up to the event based on the predetermined criteria but the patron was still planning on attending because they forgot about their seat being re-allocated, the system can re-allocate seats immediately upon the checking in of the patron and notify them that their seats have changed because they are late. In this situation, the stadium/venue might decide to further upgrade the patrons because of the mistake.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the process of the present invention specifically reserves seats of the highest or very high rating that are considered preferred, in the event a patron's seat is re-allocated prematurely or erroneously. In this situation, the patron who has had their seat re-allocated because they will likely receive an even better seat as a result of the mistaken (stadium or patron) or premature seat re-allocation.

In another embodiment of the present invention, as patrons are entering the venue or stadium, they are provided advantageously with a map of the stadium so patrons can analyze the potential upgrade to make a decision whether the upgraded seats are sufficiently good or of value to warrant the patron moving and/or paying for the additional upgrade. By handing the patron the map of the stadium, the process of the the present invention is not required to transmit a detailed schematic to the patron's wireless device which would not normally be able to effectively permit the patron to evaluate the proposed upgrade seats. The map that is handed out may optionally include information for patrons on where to register for the upgrade and/or additional advertisement opportunities.

In one alternative embodiment, the patron that has purchased the ticket, for example, a season ticket holder, may advise the stadium that for a particular game, set of games or all games, they do not want their seats to be re-allocated, and perhaps, an additional fee is assessed for this type of patron. If the stadium provides the ability for the patron to selectively opt out of the seat re-allocation, the patron can, for example, connect to the system via the Internet, public switched telephone network, cellular network, and the like, and notify the system that they do not want their ticket re-allocated, for example, because they are coming late to the event. Other means of notifying the system and/or other reasons may be utilized in connection with the present invention.

In another alternative embodiment, the system provides patrons the ability to individually select when their tickets may be re-allocated. For example, one patron may prefer to only give up their ticket if they are late to the game by 15 minutes, while another patron may be willing to give up their ticket if they have not arrived 15 minutes before the game. In alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide incentives for the patron to have their ticket re-allocated prior to the game because it increases the stadiums chances of re-allocating/re-selling the ticket.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provide additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In an alternative embodiment, the system determines priority of re-allocation of seats based first upon patrons that have seats that may also be re-allocated. That is, the systems attempts to maximize the number of re-allocations by prioritizing the re-allocation based upon seats that may be re-allocated after already being re-allocated. For example, if front row seats in a stadium are available to be re-allocated, in this alternative embodiment, patrons that are in the next closest section for example on the field level would be upgraded first to those seats. Then, patrons with less preferred seats, for example, in the upper deck would be re-allocated to the seats that have now become available from the patrons that have been upgraded to the front row. Thus, using this alternative priority scheme, the present invention maximizes the re-allocation numbers. Of course, this priority algorithm may be combined with additional factors, for example, relating to subscriber/patron value. As described above, additional factors may be utilized in the algorithm to determine the subscriber or set of subscribers to offer the upgrade.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally rate the upgraded patron, for example, for appropriate behavior, wearing of excessively large hats, drunkenness behavior, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the re-allocation algorithm for future upgrades to the patron.

In alternative embodiments, the patrons eligible for the upgrade may be notified using standard email communications over a wireless device, mobile telephone, and/or other standard communication means. For example, standard text-to-voice and/or voice-to-text communications may be used to contact the patron to evaluate whether an upgrade will be accepted and to actually accept the upgrade.

In another embodiment of the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that have already purchased tickets in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats and/or may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets at any time prior to and/or after beginning of game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron may be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention or even at any location when being offered upgrades and/or seats well in advance of the game. For example, the present invention can upgrade or sell tickets to patrons well in advance of the game since it advantageously is permitted or has the authority to resell tickets either via ticket holders that do not show up during the game and/or, for example, season ticket holders that have authorized the stadium in advance to resell their tickets based on predetermined criteria, for example, when the season ticket holder notifies the stadium that they will not be present at next weeks game.

In one optional embodiment of the invention, the patron presents the usher with the confirmation number which the usher can enter into a wireless device using a local or private wireless network, or can simply use a walkie talkie or telephone to call the dispatcher to confirm the upgrade and/or new seats using the customer provided confirmation number. The dispatcher will have access to the system to enter the confirmation number to confirm the validity of the upgrade. Alternatively, a patron will retain their old ticket. The patron will give in the old ticket to the usher which is scanned or barcoded by the usher for immediate identification of new seats and used in place of, or in addition to, confirmation number.

Of course, the confirmation may optionally be made via customer name with an appropriate identification card or other information. Further, alternative methods may be used to verify that the confirmation number and/or ticket being used by the patron is valid. For example, the patron may be equipped with a printing device associated with the wireless device or download an actual ticket on line from home prior to the game for the new ticket or upgrade. Alternatively, the patron may be equipped with an identifier card, optionally including a bar code with a unique identifier relating to the patron's account information and profile that can be scanned for additional convenience. Alternatively, a wireless device may be used to securely store this type of identification and/or account information.

In at least one alternative embodiment of the invention, the patron may comprise optionally a corporate account that has a number of tickets, for example, season tickets. In this embodiment, the corporate account may have associated therewith a plurality of email addresses or other communication addresses to transmit the seat or upgrade offer to a number of potential patrons that may rotate their attendance at the games. In accordance with this optional embodiment, multiple emails can be stored for a single user/corporate account, and the system may transmit individual messages to all email addresses, or may only transmit messages to individual patrons for corporate account that individually advise the system that they are associated with a particular ticket/bar code for a particular game and will be/are present at a particular game.

In an alternative embodiment, patrons may enter the stadium and subsequently inform the system that they are present and interested in an upgrade via a kiosk where the patron can scan a bar code and enter their customer number to be eligible for upgrades during the game. The system is then able to transmit a message to the customer, assuming that the customer has pre-registered with the system with the appropriate contact information. Alternatively, or in addition to individual use of a kiosk(s), the customer sales office may have a kiosk or additional functionality to enter the customer name and/or customer account and scan in the bar coded ticket on the spot to register each patron as they enter the stadium or venue.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron upon entry in the stadium to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept when an offer is received by the patron at a predetermined time. The graphical map may comprise a small booklet with a map of the stadium showing seat locations, and optionally a game schedule.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provides additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally be eligible for a dating or matching service where patrons register and provide profile information to the system and/or through a third service provider dating service. Once the system knows that the patrons will be coming to the game and/or have actually checked in to the stadium, the system can then arrange for the two, four, etc. patrons to meet each other by allocating and/or re-allocating seats to the patrons together. Thus, based on profile information, customer request and availability, the system is able to upgrade or sell tickets to patrons to maximize their chances of meeting someone at the game. This optional feature provides significant potential enjoyment for the patrons participating in this dating or connection program. In accordance with this embodiment, one possible sequence of acceptance steps involves profile matching the two patrons (or groups of patrons) based on predetermined profile information; transmitting a first message to the first patron regarding availability of the second patron and requesting a conditional acceptance form the first patron; transmitting a second message to the second patron indicating that the first patron has conditionally accepted and request the second patron to accept; and when the second patron accepts before the first patron has rescinded the conditional acceptance, finalizing the upgrade and/or seat allocation for the first and second patrons. This embodiment of the invention is a complete reverse from typical dating and/or matchmaking services which attempt to develop detailed algorithms for the matching process because of the significant decision that exists in determining who to spend valuable time with. In accordance with the invention, patrons are already present at the game, and therefore, half or more than half the effort is already done. The remainder is to actually meet the other person which can be accomplished with profile criteria, whether or not the algorithms are very sophisticated.

In one embodiment, the patrons that are being matched have their original seats maintained and not made available for other upgrades in the event the matching does not work out early on. In this embodiment, one or both the patrons can return to their original seat. Hopefully, there will not be a significant argument of who would need to return to their original seat if an upgrade is actually performed. In addition, in accordance with this embodiment, the seats that are selected do not necessarily have to be better seats in the classical sense. That is, seats further away from other ticket holders might be considered preferred when matching two individuals for the first time. Alternatively, couple that would prefer a little more privacy or quieter game might request to be moved to a more isolated area. Alternatively, families with small children might prefer to be moved to a less busy area as well during the game where the children might be able to freely move around. All these scenarios and/or alternatives are possible in view of the present invention. The advantage of performing a match in a public setting is that the patrons do not have to worry about leaving or ending the date, and also do not have to worry that the other person will have their home address.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like.

In addition, this feature also optionally permits the patrons that have participated in the program to rate one another for future dates. For example, one patron can rate the conversational benefits of the second patron, the appearance of the second patron, the overall short term versus long terms relationship goals of the patron, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the algorithm for future seat assignments, re-allocations and/or upgrades in the future for the first and second patrons, and all other patrons will now benefit with the additional profile information of the first and second patrons. The matching service may be for amusement or work related networking purposes, for example, to meet an executive that the patron currently works with or wishes to work with/sell in the future.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like. In addition, the system advantageously and optionally provides the feature of allowing patrons to text message one another directly, and/or exchange pictures via wireless email, text messaging, and other wireless devices that provide the standard capability of exchanging pictures, such a T Mobile and/or Sprint.

In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder can call in via a voice to text message, text message and/or email and let the stadium know early that they are not coming. In this manner the ticket holder obtains the convenience of the stadium or venue reselling their tickets in advance, thereby providing the venue with additional time to maximize the resale of the ticket.

In alternative embodiments, when the patron enters the stadium, they have their ticket barcoded or other device that detects their presence can bu used such as infrared, Bluetooth, etc., and then they can become eligible for an upgrade. The patron can register in advance that they want to receive upgrades by providing their name, message address, e.g., email, telephone text message address, etc., and optionally their credit card or other payment mechanism for upgrades that actually cost money as opposed to free upgrades. In alternative embodiments, the patron can register at the ticket booth when purchasing their original ticket. In this scenario, the stadium representative can enter this information on behalf of, and with the permission of, the patron since the patron may already be providing their credit card, debit card, etc. to purchase the original tickets. Alternatively or in addition, a kiosk may be provided where the patron can enter their original ticket, e.g., scan in their original ticket and provide their name and text message information in the stadium to register for a one time upgrade for the game after purchasing, for example, a regular admission ticket.

In alternative embodiments, an usher can verify that the patron should be upgraded by the patron providing the confirmation number that may be transmitted in real-time by the system, and/or by the patron using their original confirmation number or original ticket with barcode or other identification means, such as a smart card, infrared reader, etc. that represents original ticket and presenting same to the user. The usher then needs only to scan in the original ticket and the system will verify whether the patron associated with the original ticket is valid and whether the upgrade is valid.

In alternative embodiments, a warning message may be sent to the ticket holder that has not shown up to game warning them that if they do not respond within a certain time period that their seat will be re-allocated or re-assigned to another patron. Similarly, a release message may be sent to the ticket holder after their seat has actually been released and/or re-allocated, thereby notifying the patron that if they change their mind in attending the game, they will have to obtain an additional ticket. In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder that has their seat released and re-allocated can be themselves re-allocated a similar, worse or better seat, depending on, for example, their subscriber value and/or other criteria. For example, if the patron is provided a better seat, this will encourage them to more readily give up their seats in the future even if they are attending the game. On the other hand, if the patron is provided a worse seat, then this encourages them not to artificially give up or have their seat released when attending the game. Accordingly, the present invention is designed to deal with various behavioral patterns of specific ticket holders, and may optionally and advantageously be a ticket holder specific with respect to various criteria for re-assigning, releasing, selling and/or re-allocating tickets.

In alternative embodiments, the system transmits to the ticket holder a welcome message after being upgraded and after having being moved to a new upgraded seat location. In one embodiment, the system identifies that the patron has been successfully upgraded after the patron provides the usher with a confirmation number or original ticket, which is then verified by the usher and system.

In alternative embodiments, the system, after having identified which patrons have checked into the stadium and/or have been upgraded, transmits a trivia question and/or additional advertisements to all patrons attending the game. In alternative embodiments, the information is transmitted to both patrons that are attending the game and additional patrons that have registered in the past to receive information but that are not attending the game. The participants can, for example, answer trivia questions and respond with their wireless device. Depending on whether the patron is attending the game or not, the system may determine to offer or deal with each of the patrons differently. For example, for patrons at the game, winners may be successively determined and narrowed, as patrons successfully and unsuccessfully answer questions, round after round of questions in a ?spelling bee? format. For patrons that are not attending the game, winners may be declared, or statistics provided to the broadcast station that can be aired on television. In yet additional alternative embodiments, instead of transmitting information/questions to the patrons via the wireless device, the information/questions are displayed on the stadium billboard for patrons at the game and/or on television for patrons that are watching the game on television. The patron can then merely respond via the device, e.g., the telephone accordingly via a voice-to-text system or via other mobile devices via text messaging.

In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of additional advertising sponsorship to the venue. For example, in one embodiment, the venue is partitioned into different locations that may be assigned to different sponsors. In one embodiment, the sponsor that provides the most value may be assigned a certain number of premium seats that are not available to other sponsors.

For example, the sponsor may offer a discount on the upgrade if you are a Verizon or Verizon Wireless customer or they credit your cell account for each seat upgrade or you get say 30 free minutes, etc. In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of one wireless provider to advertise on another wireless providers mobile phone or wireless device. For example, if Verizon Wireless is a sponsor of the upgrade system for a particular stadium, the present invention will still work with, for example, AT&T, SPRINT, and CINGULAR customers. An advertisement message sent with the upgrade offer may read on the AT&T phone, ?brought to you by Verizon Wireless.? In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, text messaging is optionally used for mobile phones to perform the message communication of the present invention. The user is only required, in one embodiment, to reply or respond with a ?Yes? to accept the upgrade offer since the user has advantageously pre-registered with the system, thereby minimizing the required communication/input by the user. In an alternative embodiment, the user, instead of pre-registering with the system, is charged on their wireless or even regular telephone number bill when they accept the upgrade offer. Thus, the wireless system that either administers the user's regular or wireless account or the upgrade sponsor may be responsible for actually billing the customer in this alternative embodiment.

In the alternative embodiment when text messaging is optionally used alone or in combination with other communication methods, the system provides the additional advantage of maximizing bandwidth usage by not requiring use of bandwidth on the wireless voice system, thereby maximizing system resources.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention optionally and advantageously provides a security and/or safety feature in the event of, for example, a minor event where a parent gets separated from a child, a disaster or other event that might require evacuation of the stadium. In one embodiment, the person needing help provides their name to an attendant that can search the system for the contact information of their companion/parent. The system can thereafter send an email and/or text message to the companion/parent regarding the status of that person and provide instructions for meeting that person or arranging help, authorizing medical procedures, and the like. In another embodiment, the person requiring help, e.g., a child provides the attendant or kiosk with their ticket which can, e.g., scan the bar code or other reader system. The system can either automatically provide a text message to the parent who can then reply to the child/attendant via the kiosk to meet the child.

Alternatively, the parent can be instructed to meet the child at a predetermined location, and to stop looking for the child because the child was found. Thus, for this example, the person who is lost or separated from their party can notify security or access a kiosk. Security can, for example, notify the parent that child is in safe custody, and should not search the stadium, and therefore, meet outside stadium in a pre-specified safe place.

In an alternative embodiment, if a child/person is separated, the security guard/kiosk can arrange the best place to meet, either in or outside the stadium, together based on an optional global positioning system (GPS). In addition, the party with the mobile device can be provided directions on where to go to meet their party from who they have been separated.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention may also be used in a security, defense and/or safety setting to direct patrons in a stadium for an orderly evacuation or notify patrons regarding status of a safety related event via, for example, a broadcast message including text message, email and the like. In this manner, system communication resources may be most efficiently utilized by not over-utilizing the system via voice communication, unless completely necessary. For example, the message can be broadcast in the event of an impending hurricane. In this situation, patrons in different sections get different messages, for example, to exit the stadium out of gates/exits that are either less occupied or closest to the section the patrons are sitting in. Advantageously, the present invention has the patrons contact information, including optionally and advantageously text messaging, that can be broadcast or sent to different patrons. The advantage of text messaging is that the bandwidth is more efficiently used in the event of an emergency, and there are no busy signals as in a voice network. Further, the message is send, and if the network is at capacity, the system can automatically resend or the message will be placed in queue and sent as soon as capacity becomes available.

In another alternative embodiment of the invention, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction.

For instance, in sporting venues the bracelet ticket includes the machine readable information that comprises at least one of a bar code and radio frequency identifier used for security check in, and optionally check out. In this manner, the standard reading machines that can scan the bar code or RFID information can keep track of people that have checked into the sporting event and/or venue. Advantageously, the machine readable information on the bracelet can also be used by the venue in the event the patrons seat assignment is modified, for example, via an electronic ticket exchange or upgrade program. In this embodiment, the visible indicia are no longer valid for the actual seating that may be dynamically changed and only represents optionally an initial seat assignment. However, the machine readable information may be used as a code to reference the specific patron and assign that patron a new seat. Thus, when the ticket reader scans the ticket and actually identifies, for example, the bar code, this information can be used to reference the patron, update and/or confirm the patron's current seat via the reader used, for example, by ushers in the venue, kiosk, entrance to the venue, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction. This information, as previously mentioned, may be visually cognizable for the patron and in combination, readable by electronic means if the bracelet includes a magnetic strip, bar code imprinting, or RF chip.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the security bracelet and ticket combination of the present invention advantageously includes a bar code or other machine readable information such as a RFID device. When, for example, a child is separated form their parent, the parent can notify security and the seat number associated with the child. If the child attempts to leave with their bar code/identifier, the system detects the bar code/identifier as either being valid and identifying the child that is missing or being invalid and raising another red flag. In an alternative embodiment, the bar codes/identifiers associated between children and adults correspond such that the child identifier must be within a predetermined time and/or number of checking out identifiers from/within the adult identifier. If this does not occur, the system determines that the child is leaving without their parent, and possibly being abducted.

In an alternative embodiment, the system links one or more tickets/identifiers together and requires the tickets/identifiers to exit the venue or event within a predetermined time period from one another and/or within a predetermined number of tickets/identifiers that have exited the venue and/or event. In the event that one ticket/identifier exits the venue or event and the associated identifier does not, then an alarm or other indictor occurs, and the attendants will detain the patrons that have initiated the alarm to for security purposes.

In an alternative embodiment, the tickets are advantageously coded with designations such as adult, child and the like. In the event a child ticket/identifier exits the stadium before the associated adult and/or more that a predetermined time period and/or number of patrons exiting, the system can initiate an alarm so that an attendant can determine if a child has exited the venue or event without their parent or with a wrong parent potentially averting a kidnapping. In this embodiment, an additional combination is the use of the standard fast pass feature, for example, at theme parks, and the like, where the venue records predetermined events that the user of the card enters in a faster line. In this embodiment, if a child ticket/identifier is not associated with a parent ticket/identifier, for example, as described above, the child may be denied entry into the event or venue if not accompanied by their parent. In alternative embodiments, the venue/event sponsor or organizer associates tickets upon request from the patron. In addition, in another alternative embodiment, a kiosk is provided inside and/or outside the venue for, for example, parents to register their tickets and have them associated with their children's tickets to prevent he child from exiting the venue without them, for example, as described above.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system and method are adapted to utilize any type of wireless device with different interface and communication options. For example, different wireless devices have different constraints with respect to the interface, e.g., number of characters, how the subject and body of the messages are used/communicated, etc. Accordingly, the present invention optionally provides a protocol conversion system depending on the type of wireless device and the wireless device constraints, including message constraints and/or the wireless communication system. In alternative embodiments, the system determines the wireless device provider based on the address received from the wireless device, and is able to automatically determine the type of message and/or message constraints and transmission constraints associated therewith based for example, on real-time information or on pre-determined stored information on the device and/or communication system. Accordingly, a protocol conversion system for different wireless devices is provided by the present invention for sending and/or receiving messages, such as upgrade offers, responses, acceptances, and the like, from a variety of different users/mobile devices and wireless systems.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, a security bracelet is advantageously utilized, for example, such as the security bracelet disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/680,207, filed on Oct. 8, 2003, to Abraham I. Reifer, et al., and incorporated herein by reference, in the event of a reported event, security breach, abduction, and the like. In this embodiment, all patrons exiting the stadium must show their ticket and/or identifier so that the venue can check all patrons out of the stadium. Thus, for example, if two kidnappers come in the stadium, and want to use one bracelet for a child, the second kidnapper will be stranded in the stadium. In addition, if one kidnapper buys two tickets, then upon exit with the child and the additional ticket, a barcode/identifier will be exiting without ever having checked in, and then the alarm will go off as well.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention provides a broadcast message to warn patrons of an event, such as an advertisement, sale and/or even a weather related event such as a hurricane that might require the venue to be evacuated. Advantageously, in at least one embodiment, the broadcast message comprises standard text messaging that optimizes or better utilizes capacity form the communication system. Thus, when using text messaging capabilities, the present invention efficiently transmits text messages to numerous subscribers regarding, for example, exit information, contacting and/or meeting additional parties that have been separated, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the present invention optionally provides the capability to penetrate into secondary market with season ticket holders selling ahead of time the games they will not be attending. For example, the present invention optionally provides the feature for the season ticket holder and/or general ticket purchaser the ability to view in advance of the season and/or game the schedule, and to alert the venue and/or stadium of games and/or events they will not be attending, thereby permitting the stadium/venue to attempt to resell the tickets to other patrons. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the patron is provided with a monthly schedule listing the events that may be attended. The patron, such as a season ticket holder, may then click or place an indicator on all games they will not be attending for the season in advance, thereby providing the stadium with the ability to resell tickets well in advance of the event. Once the patron completes identifying games that will not be attended, the system then compiles a list and transmits the list to the patron for an optional confirmation. This list is then used by the system to release seats well in advance of the game. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, registered users of the system for, for example, upgrades, may also be notified of seat availability for sales prior to the game/event. In an alternative of this embodiment, registered users may receive text messages, emails, and the like, notifying them advantageously of the availability of seats that heretofore have never been easily available to the public for sale, thereby allowing the venue to participate in secondary market ticket sales.

In one alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system/process of the present invention provides or operates as a middle person/broker between the ticket holder that is returning tickets to the venue, such as the season ticket holder, and a ticket sales system and/or company, such as tickets.com, by notifying the tickets company of the newly available seats via notification by the ticket holder, such as the season ticket holder of season ticket games not being attended.

In one alternative embodiment of the invention, the system and/or process transmits text messages, emails and the like, to offer tickets and/or seats and/or admittance to subscribers for events and/or games with empty seats even before game. Thus, the present invention allows the venue to participate in the secondary ticket sales market and the upgrade market, thereby increasing revenue and fan loyalty.

Of course, all of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event, and/or venue that require tickets for entry thereof.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the use of machine readable identifiers provides advantages for, for example, the upgrade program or ticket exchange of the present invention. For example, when the upgrade, re-allocation and/or electronic ticket is issued, the machine readable identifier, for example, the bar code, on the original ticket is invalidated, thereby preventing use of the invalidated ticket. Accordingly, when a new ticket holder purchases the ticket form the season ticket holder, the new purchaser will be issued a new machine readable identifier, and optionally a new paper ticket. The present invention advantageously is able to handle the issuance of a new ticket and invalidates the old ticket and optionally the old identifier that has, for example, been returned by the season ticket holder, thereby providing dynamic ticketing capability.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the new patron obtains a new identifier such as a barcode, the old bar code of, for example, the season ticket holder is invalidated. In one embodiment of the invention, season ticket holders are offered to opt in the upgrade process. Various commercial incentives are possible for the season ticket holder to opt in the upgrade process, such as monetary compensation when their ticket is used for an upgrade and/or resold whether they express their intention not to go to the game prior to the game, and the like. Alternatively, season ticket holders may be offered that the cost of their season tickets will, for example, remain the same as the previous year or be reduced if they participate in the program. Therefore, the combination season ticket trade-in and upgrade program in one embodiment of the invention will be beneficial to season ticket holders by allowing them to trade when they already know that they have no intention of attending a game, and allow the season ticket holder to recoup some cost of the season tickets if they do not attend and their ticket is used as an upgrade. In addition, additional patrons of the event and/or sports team are permitted to attend the game in locations/seats that they might never have been able to obtain access to. Further, the venue/stadium/team maximize revenues by being able to place tickets on the secondary market when the ticket holder notifies the venue early enough that they are not attending the event, the venue also obtains additional revenue from upgrades when tickets are upgraded, and the venue obtains additional fan loyalty.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the system provides the ability to advertise via email, text messaging, and the like, for one wireless carrier on the wireless device that is using another wireless carrier. Since the user of the wireless device has requested the service, the user appropriately receives the communication from the ticketing system of the present invention, and therefore, also appropriately received the advertisement from the wireless carrier that is different than the wireless carrier that the user of the wireless may be using at that time.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, offers to purchase seats either during the game or even well in advance of the game are ?pushed? or transmitted out to registered users that have supplied their wireless and/or Internet addresses. For example, patrons can register in advance for the upgrade and/or regular ticket offers to purchase admittance via various methods including the Internet. When seats band/or admittance becomes available, a broadcast message or other standard messages may be transmitted to the registered patrons to notify them of the seat availability. Thus, seat offers are ?pushed? to registered users that have requested this service advantageously to a wireless device and/or other address including standard telephone communication, as well as additional optional advertisements. The system, in one alternative embodiment, provides the user the option when registering to accept certain types of advertisements to be received on their wireless device via email and/or text messaging. In other embodiments, the user does not have the option of which advertisements to receive.

Advantageously, in accordance with one alternative embodiment of the present invention, if a patron decides to attend an event such as a sporting event when the patron does not have time to wait to receive paper tickets (e.g., the patron is visiting in another city/location and does not have time to wait to receive tickets via mail and is on the go), the system of the present invention transmits a ticket to the patron via, for example, a wireless communication system and/or other standard electronic communication system such as the Internet, and the patron can present their ticket, for example, on their wireless device and show up to game.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Patrons then text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers. The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system uses a seat database to determine which of the reserved seats are currently in use. The system may integrate with the seat database system of a venue and/or stadium or optionally be used in parallel with the seat venue/stadium database. For example, prior to the event, the system may utilize the seat database of the venue to determine available seating and patrons that do not show up after a predetermined period of time. Alternatively, the present invention can operate using a separate database from the event/venue by copying or building a separate database used for the ticketing and/or upgrading according to the present invention. In this alternative, as patrons enter the venue, they are checked in directly to this separate database. At the time of the event, the system will be able to check-in patrons using either the identification system, e.g., bar code scanner, of the event or venue, or provide a separate identification system.

In alternative embodiments of the invention, the patron that knows they are attending the game but is going to be late can send in a HOLD message even prior to being provided a warning message that their seats are to be released if the patron does not respond to the message with the HOLD request. That is, in this embodiment, since the patron already knows well in advance that they are attending the game, but perhaps stuck in traffic, the patron can initiate the HOLD message before even being warned in advance of the possibility of their seat being released.

In another alternative embodiment, patrons that have registered with the system and optionally checked into the stadium and/or venue in advance and who also know that they would like an upgrade and/or ticket, may initiate their own upgrade request to the system to notify the system of their willingness to purchase an upgrade and/or new ticket for the event/venue. The system may then place these patrons on a higher priority since they have already expressed and intent and/or willingness to purchase the upgrade or ticket. The patron may notify the event and/or stadium of their willingness optionally well in advance of the game or near/after game time at a time which the patron commits or expresses an additional heightened desire to upgrade and/or purchase a ticket.

In alternative embodiments, the system includes the advantage of allowing patrons to register free for a predetermined period of time, for example, for the first year, without paying a yearly subscriber fee. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system provides the patron with their first upgrade for free or for a reduced rate to further encourage the patron to register with the system and method of the present invention. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system of the present invention offers the patron reduced and/or free concessions when purchasing a membership, ticket and/or upgrade to further encourage the patron to participate in the offers of the present invention.

In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the matching system and/or process, permits participants in the program to initiate a message to the system with the seat location and/or name of the patron that they would like to be matched with for a meeting, networking and/or socializing such as a date. In this embodiment, the system may the push the message to the other subscriber and assign new seats to the individuals that are to be matched. Alternatively, the system Need not require a specific confirmation that the second individual to be notified of the potential match is physically located near the first individual, but can rely on the first individual to provide that information. For example, the first individual may see a potential date in a restaurant, and may then send a message to the system with that person's name or address, that they would like to meet that other individual. In that situation, the second individual will receive a message of the possible match, and can respond and accept or reject the offer to meet. The second individual can then provide a meeting destination or the system can suggest a meeting place based on the first individual advising the system of their location, and the location of the second individual.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Advantageously, the multiple choice questions each have unique selections, such as a1, b1, c1 and d1 for question #1; a2, b2, c2, and d2 for question #2; a3, b3, c3 and d3 for question #3, and the like. In this embodiment, the actual timing of questions is not necessary since each question and answer is unique. Therefore, the speed of responding to the question is immaterial to the winner of the contest and/or correct answer. Also, in the event one patron answers the question late, there will be no confusion which question the patron is submitting an answer for. Patrons text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers as indicated above using the unique set of answers, in one embodiment. In alternative embodiments, the first predetermined number of patrons that answer the question correctly are considered the winners.

The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, e.g., a1 50%, b1 28%, c1 12% and d1 10%, and display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

As discussed above, one or more of the above alternative embodiments may be incorporated into the embodiments described above, and/or any of the embodiments discussed below. Furthermore, any of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event.

FIG. 31 is a flowchart of a ninth embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 31, the process begins by enrolling members in the program that are interested in the ticket upgrade. Tickets are checked in, for example, as the patrons enter the reserved seating area, such as a stadium or theater, through, for example, bar code readers, scanners, infrared readers, and/or manually or other method where the patron is checked in, either at the gate, seat or other location. An optional separate check in area is provided for patrons that want to participate in the upgrade program. For example, patrons can optionally check in a predetermined time before the event through a wireless device, Internet connection, manual or voice recognition telephone, or other manner. The important point is to provide a standard manner for allowing patrons to check in, and if the patron fails to check in using a predetermined procedure, to allow that seat to be provided to another willing patron in accordance with a process to be described below. Currently, such a process is impossible and unthinkable in view of the difficulty reserved seating events have in simply getting the patrons seated prior to the beginning of the event. The present invention represents a revolutionary process to enhance event enjoyment, earn patron loyalty and optionally provide additional revenues to the theater/stadium or optionally other patrons with the desirable ticket.

The check in procedure continues for a predetermined period of time until a predetermined time period has expired, for example, 5 minutes before the event begins, 10 minutes after the event begins, after a predetermined event, such as the second act of a play, and the like. Once the predetermined time period or event has been completed, the check in procedure may be considered completed to begin the seat re-allocation process. To begin the seat re-allocation process, a re-allocation algorithm is used to re-assign seats for patrons that are willing or interested in different or better seats. Such re-allocation processes or algorithms may include a random process, a process where priority patrons are given priority for re-assignment of seat, a process where patrons are willing to pay additional for the re-assignment to either the theater or the individual patron whose seat is being provided to another patron, frequent event patrons, season ticket patrons, a standard bidding process, or other predetermined process.

An optional polling process to poll existing members and non-members in seats to whether additional seats are available. That is, in another optional embodiment of the present invention, non-members may also make their seats available for re-allocation/re-sale at any point in the process. In this additional polling process, the next step is to determine whether additional seats have been made available. If additional seats have been made available, then these additional seats are added to the list of available seats.

If the patron that is identified by the re-allocation process is determined to be present in the theater, for example, via mobile telephone, wireless device, and/or manual verification, an optional sub-process determines whether the patron's optional profile is also satisfied with the available seating. If the optional subscriber profile is not satisfied, then the re-allocation process searches for another possible patron. If the optional profile sub-process is satisfied, then the eligible patron is notified via one or more means, such as announcement, manually, wireless device, mobile telephone, bulletin board, and/or other means. The patron is then notified and presented with the option of moving for free, use of award points, additional money to the theater and/or patron to whose seat is being provided, or other predetermined criteria to obtain the seat. The patron, of course has the option to decline, and if so, the process continues and returns to the re-allocation process to attempt to locate another possible patron.

If no confirmation is received from the patron for a predetermined period of time, the re-allocation process continues to wait until the predetermined period of time has expired. Once the predetermined period of time has expired and there is no response received from the patron provided with the option of changing their seat, the patron is cleared or removed from the eligible list, and the seat is considered or assigned empty status for the re-allocation algorithm to be again implemented.

If the patron accepts and a confirmation is received, payment of money or other means may be effectuated on the spot via the wireless device, credit card, debit card, points, and the like, and the patron may now move to the other seat. The patron's seat may then optionally be made available as an empty seat to the re-allocation process. If a predetermined period of time has not expired, then the re-allocation process may be run again to optionally continuously re-allocate seats. The patron may optionally store the up-graded ticket on a wireless device for proof of entrance to the better seating area. Optionally, the seat and/or row and/or section, includes a separate reader device to receive optionally the original ticket that is now re-allocated to a better seat, or a new ticket that may optionally be received by the patron via the wireless device and/or manually via a worker in the theater or stadium.

Of course, the re-allocation algorithm does not have to be run or implemented one patron at a time, but may be run to re-allocate or re-assign a plurality of patrons. If one patron or higher priority patron does not accept, then the next already generated patron may be queried to determine whether the next patron desires the seat re-allocation. Further, the system optionally downloads instructions on how to get to the new location, and can provide step-by-step instructions using an optional standard global positioning system (GPS) incorporated in, or as a separate accessory to, the wireless device.

In accordance with the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets very near to game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron must be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept.

In one alternative embodiment, if the patron that has their ticket re-allocated in error, e.g., because the patron did not show up to the event based on the predetermined criteria but the patron was still planning on attending because they forgot about their seat being re-allocated, the system can re-allocate seats immediately upon the checking in of the patron and notify them that their seats have changed because they are late. In this situation, the stadium/venue might decide to further upgrade the patrons because of the mistake.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the process of the present invention specifically reserves seats of the highest or very high rating that are considered preferred, in the event a patron's seat is re-allocated prematurely or erroneously. In this situation, the patron who has had their seat re-allocated because they will likely receive an even better seat as a result of the mistaken (stadium or patron) or premature seat re-allocation.

In another embodiment of the present invention, as patrons are entering the venue or stadium, they are provided advantageously with a map of the stadium so patrons can analyze the potential upgrade to make a decision whether the upgraded seats are sufficiently good or of value to warrant the patron moving and/or paying for the additional upgrade. By handing the patron the map of the stadium, the process of the the present invention is not required to transmit a detailed schematic to the patron's wireless device which would not normally be able to effectively permit the patron to evaluate the proposed upgrade seats. The map that is handed out may optionally include information for patrons on where to register for the upgrade and/or additional advertisement opportunities.

In one alternative embodiment, the patron that has purchased the ticket, for example, a season ticket holder, may advise the stadium that for a particular game, set of games or all games, they do not want their seats to be re-allocated, and perhaps, an additional fee is assessed for this type of patron. If the stadium provides the ability for the patron to selectively opt out of the seat re-allocation, the patron can, for example, connect to the system via the Internet, public switched telephone network, cellular network, and the like, and notify the system that they do not want their ticket re-allocated, for example, because they are coming late to the event. Other means of notifying the system and/or other reasons may be utilized in connection with the present invention.

In another alternative embodiment, the system provides patrons the ability to individually select when their tickets may be re-allocated. For example, one patron may prefer to only give up their ticket if they are late to the game by 15 minutes, while another patron may be willing to give up their ticket if they have not arrived 15 minutes before the game. In alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide incentives for the patron to have their ticket re-allocated prior to the game because it increases the stadiums chances of re-allocating/re-selling the ticket.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provide additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In an alternative embodiment, the system determines priority of re-allocation of seats based first upon patrons that have seats that may also be re-allocated. That is, the systems attempts to maximize the number of re-allocations by prioritizing the re-allocation based upon seats that may be re-allocated after already being re-allocated. For example, if front row seats in a stadium are available to be re-allocated, in this alternative embodiment, patrons that are in the next closest section for example on the field level would be upgraded first to those seats. Then, patrons with less preferred seats, for example, in the upper deck would be re-allocated to the seats that have now become available from the patrons that have been upgraded to the front row. Thus, using this alternative priority scheme, the present invention maximizes the re-allocation numbers. Of course, this priority algorithm may be combined with additional factors, for example, relating to subscriber/patron value. As described above, additional factors may be utilized in the algorithm to determine the subscriber or set of subscribers to offer the upgrade.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally rate the upgraded patron, for example, for appropriate behavior, wearing of excessively large hats, drunkenness behavior, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the re-allocation algorithm for future upgrades to the patron.

In alternative embodiments, the patrons eligible for the upgrade may be notified using standard email communications over a wireless device, mobile telephone, and/or other standard communication means. For example, standard text-to-voice and/or voice-to-text communications may be used to contact the patron to evaluate whether an upgrade will be accepted and to actually accept the upgrade.

In another embodiment of the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that have already purchased tickets in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats and/or may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets at any time prior to and/or after beginning of game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron may be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention or even at any location when being offered upgrades and/or seats well in advance of the game. For example, the present invention can upgrade or sell tickets to patrons well in advance of the game since it advantageously is permitted or has the authority to resell tickets either via ticket holders that do not show up during the game and/or, for example, season ticket holders that have authorized the stadium in advance to resell their tickets based on predetermined criteria, for example, when the season ticket holder notifies the stadium that they will not be present at next weeks game.

In one optional embodiment of the invention, the patron presents the usher with the confirmation number which the usher can enter into a wireless device using a local or private wireless network, or can simply use a walkie talkie or telephone to call the dispatcher to confirm the upgrade and/or new seats using the customer provided confirmation number. The dispatcher will have access to the system to enter the confirmation number to confirm the validity of the upgrade. Alternatively, a patron will retain their old ticket. The patron will give in the old ticket to the usher which is scanned or barcoded by the usher for immediate identification of new seats and used in place of, or in addition to, confirmation number.

Of course, the confirmation may optionally be made via customer name with an appropriate identification card or other information. Further, alternative methods may be used to verify that the confirmation number and/or ticket being used by the patron is valid. For example, the patron may be equipped with a printing device associated with the wireless device or download an actual ticket on line from home prior to the game for the new ticket or upgrade. Alternatively, the patron may be equipped with an identifier card, optionally including a bar code with a unique identifier relating to the patron's account information and profile that can be scanned for additional convenience. Alternatively, a wireless device may be used to securely store this type of identification and/or account information.

In at least one alternative embodiment of the invention, the patron may comprise optionally a corporate account that has a number of tickets, for example, season tickets. In this embodiment, the corporate account may have associated therewith a plurality of email addresses or other communication addresses to transmit the seat or upgrade offer to a number of potential patrons that may rotate their attendance at the games. In accordance with this optional embodiment, multiple emails can be stored for a single user/corporate account, and the system may transmit individual messages to all email addresses, or may only transmit messages to individual patrons for corporate account that individually advise the system that they are associated with a particular ticket/bar code for a particular game and will be/are present at a particular game.

In an alternative embodiment, patrons may enter the stadium and subsequently inform the system that they are present and interested in an upgrade via a kiosk where the patron can scan a bar code and enter their customer number to be eligible for upgrades during the game. The system is then able to transmit a message to the customer, assuming that the customer has pre-registered with the system with the appropriate contact information. Alternatively, or in addition to individual use of a kiosk(s), the customer sales office may have a kiosk or additional functionality to enter the customer name and/or customer account and scan in the bar coded ticket on the spot to register each patron as they enter the stadium or venue.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron upon entry in the stadium to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept when an offer is received by the patron at a predetermined time. The graphical map may comprise a small booklet with a map of the stadium showing seat locations, and optionally a game schedule.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provides additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally be eligible for a dating or matching service where patrons register and provide profile information to the system and/or through a third service provider dating service. Once the system knows that the patrons will be coming to the game and/or have actually checked in to the stadium, the system can then arrange for the two, four, etc. patrons to meet each other by allocating and/or re-allocating seats to the patrons together. Thus, based on profile information, customer request and availability, the system is able to upgrade or sell tickets to patrons to maximize their chances of meeting someone at the game. This optional feature provides significant potential enjoyment for the patrons participating in this dating or connection program. In accordance with this embodiment, one possible sequence of acceptance steps involves profile matching the two patrons (or groups of patrons) based on predetermined profile information; transmitting a first message to the first patron regarding availability of the second patron and requesting a conditional acceptance form the first patron; transmitting a second message to the second patron indicating that the first patron has conditionally accepted and request the second patron to accept; and when the second patron accepts before the first patron has rescinded the conditional acceptance, finalizing the upgrade and/or seat allocation for the first and second patrons. This embodiment of the invention is a complete reverse from typical dating and/or matchmaking services which attempt to develop detailed algorithms for the matching process because of the significant decision that exists in determining who to spend valuable time with. In accordance with the invention, patrons are already present at the game, and therefore, half or more than half the effort is already done. The remainder is to actually meet the other person which can be accomplished with profile criteria, whether or not the algorithms are very sophisticated.

In one embodiment, the patrons that are being matched have their original seats maintained and not made available for other upgrades in the event the matching does not work out early on. In this embodiment, one or both the patrons can return to their original seat. Hopefully, there will not be a significant argument of who would need to return to their original seat if an upgrade is actually performed. In addition, in accordance with this embodiment, the seats that are selected do not necessarily have to be better seats in the classical sense. That is, seats further away from other ticket holders might be considered preferred when matching two individuals for the first time. Alternatively, couple that would prefer a little more privacy or quieter game might request to be moved to a more isolated area. Alternatively, families with small children might prefer to be moved to a less busy area as well during the game where the children might be able to freely move around. All these scenarios and/or alternatives are possible in view of the present invention. The advantage of performing a match in a public setting is that the patrons do not have to worry about leaving or ending the date, and also do not have to worry that the other person will have their home address.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like.

In addition, this feature also optionally permits the patrons that have participated in the program to rate one another for future dates. For example, one patron can rate the conversational benefits of the second patron, the appearance of the second patron, the overall short term versus long terms relationship goals of the patron, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the algorithm for future seat assignments, re-allocations and/or upgrades in the future for the first and second patrons, and all other patrons will now benefit with the additional profile information of the first and second patrons. The matching service may be for amusement or work related networking purposes, for example, to meet an executive that the patron currently works with or wishes to work with/sell in the future.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like. In addition, the system advantageously and optionally provides the feature of allowing patrons to text message one another directly, and/or exchange pictures via wireless email, text messaging, and other wireless devices that provide the standard capability of exchanging pictures, such a T Mobile and/or Sprint.

In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder can call in via a voice to text message, text message and/or email and let the stadium know early that they are not coming. In this manner the ticket holder obtains the convenience of the stadium or venue reselling their tickets in advance, thereby providing the venue with additional time to maximize the resale of the ticket.

In alternative embodiments, when the patron enters the stadium, they have their ticket barcoded or other device that detects their presence can bu used such as infrared, Bluetooth, etc., and then they can become eligible for an upgrade. The patron can register in advance that they want to receive upgrades by providing their name, message address, e.g., email, telephone text message address, etc., and optionally their credit card or other payment mechanism for upgrades that actually cost money as opposed to free upgrades. In alternative embodiments, the patron can register at the ticket booth when purchasing their original ticket. In this scenario, the stadium representative can enter this information on behalf of, and with the permission of, the patron since the patron may already be providing their credit card, debit card, etc. to purchase the original tickets. Alternatively or in addition, a kiosk may be provided where the patron can enter their original ticket, e.g., scan in their original ticket and provide their name and text message information in the stadium to register for a one time upgrade for the game after purchasing, for example, a regular admission ticket.

In alternative embodiments, an usher can verify that the patron should be upgraded by the patron providing the confirmation number that may be transmitted in real-time by the system, and/or by the patron using their original confirmation number or original ticket with barcode or other identification means, such as a smart card, infrared reader, etc. that represents original ticket and presenting same to the user. The usher then needs only to scan in the original ticket and the system will verify whether the patron associated with the original ticket is valid and whether the upgrade is valid.

In alternative embodiments, a warning message may be sent to the ticket holder that has not shown up to game warning them that if they do not respond within a certain time period that their seat will be re-allocated or re-assigned to another patron. Similarly, a release message may be sent to the ticket holder after their seat has actually been released and/or re-allocated, thereby notifying the patron that if they change their mind in attending the game, they will have to obtain an additional ticket. In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder that has their seat released and re-allocated can be themselves re-allocated a similar, worse or better seat, depending on, for example, their subscriber value and/or other criteria. For example, if the patron is provided a better seat, this will encourage them to more readily give up their seats in the future even if they are attending the game. On the other hand, if the patron is provided a worse seat, then this encourages them not to artificially give up or have their seat released when attending the game. Accordingly, the present invention is designed to deal with various behavioral patterns of specific ticket holders, and may optionally and advantageously be a ticket holder specific with respect to various criteria for re-assigning, releasing, selling and/or re-allocating tickets.

In alternative embodiments, the system transmits to the ticket holder a welcome message after being upgraded and after having being moved to a new upgraded seat location. In one embodiment, the system identifies that the patron has been successfully upgraded after the patron provides the usher with a confirmation number or original ticket, which is then verified by the usher and system.

In alternative embodiments, the system, after having identified which patrons have checked into the stadium and/or have been upgraded, transmits a trivia question and/or additional advertisements to all patrons attending the game. In alternative embodiments, the information is transmitted to both patrons that are attending the game and additional patrons that have registered in the past to receive information but that are not attending the game. The participants can, for example, answer trivia questions and respond with their wireless device. Depending on whether the patron is attending the game or not, the system may determine to offer or deal with each of the patrons differently. For example, for patrons at the game, winners may be successively determined and narrowed, as patrons successfully and unsuccessfully answer questions, round after round of questions in a ?spelling bee? format. For patrons that are not attending the game, winners may be declared, or statistics provided to the broadcast station that can be aired on television. In yet additional alternative embodiments, instead of transmitting information/questions to the patrons via the wireless device, the information/questions are displayed on the stadium billboard for patrons at the game and/or on television for patrons that are watching the game on television. The patron can then merely respond via the device, e.g., the telephone accordingly via a voice-to-text system or via other mobile devices via text messaging.

In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of additional advertising sponsorship to the venue. For example, in one embodiment, the venue is partitioned into different locations that may be assigned to different sponsors. In one embodiment, the sponsor that provides the most value may be assigned a certain number of premium seats that are not available to other sponsors.

For example, the sponsor may offer a discount on the upgrade if you are a Verizon or Verizon Wireless customer or they credit your cell account for each seat upgrade or you get say 30 free minutes, etc. In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of one wireless provider to advertise on another wireless providers mobile phone or wireless device. For example, if Verizon Wireless is a sponsor of the upgrade system for a particular stadium, the present invention will still work with, for example, AT&T, SPRINT, and CINGULAR customers. An advertisement message sent with the upgrade offer may read on the AT&T phone, ?brought to you by Verizon Wireless.? In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, text messaging is optionally used for mobile phones to perform the message communication of the present invention. The user is only required, in one embodiment, to reply or respond with a ?Yes? to accept the upgrade offer since the user has advantageously pre-registered with the system, thereby minimizing the required communication/input by the user. In an alternative embodiment, the user, instead of pre-registering with the system, is charged on their wireless or even regular telephone number bill when they accept the upgrade offer. Thus, the wireless system that either administers the user's regular or wireless account or the upgrade sponsor may be responsible for actually billing the customer in this alternative embodiment.

In the alternative embodiment when text messaging is optionally used alone or in combination with other communication methods, the system provides the additional advantage of maximizing bandwidth usage by not requiring use of bandwidth on the wireless voice system, thereby maximizing system resources.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention optionally and advantageously provides a security and/or safety feature in the event of, for example, a minor event where a parent gets separated from a child, a disaster or other event that might require evacuation of the stadium. In one embodiment, the person needing help provides their name to an attendant that can search the system for the contact information of their companion/parent. The system can thereafter send an email and/or text message to the companion/parent regarding the status of that person and provide instructions for meeting that person or arranging help, authorizing medical procedures, and the like. In another embodiment, the person requiring help, e.g., a child provides the attendant or kiosk with their ticket which can, e.g., scan the bar code or other reader system. The system can either automatically provide a text message to the parent who can then reply to the child/attendant via the kiosk to meet the child.

Alternatively, the parent can be instructed to meet the child at a predetermined location, and to stop looking for the child because the child was found. Thus, for this example, the person who is lost or separated from their party can notify security or access a kiosk. Security can, for example, notify the parent that child is in safe custody, and should not search the stadium, and therefore, meet outside stadium in a pre-specified safe place.

In an alternative embodiment, if a child/person is separated, the security guard/kiosk can arrange the best place to meet, either in or outside the stadium, together based on an optional global positioning system (GPS). In addition, the party with the mobile device can be provided directions on where to go to meet their party from who they have been separated.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention may also be used in a security, defense and/or safety setting to direct patrons in a stadium for an orderly evacuation or notify patrons regarding status of a safety related event via, for example, a broadcast message including text message, email and the like. In this manner, system communication resources may be most efficiently utilized by not over-utilizing the system via voice communication, unless completely necessary. For example, the message can be broadcast in the event of an impending hurricane. In this situation, patrons in different sections get different messages, for example, to exit the stadium out of gates/exits that are either less occupied or closest to the section the patrons are sitting in. Advantageously, the present invention has the patrons contact information, including optionally and advantageously text messaging, that can be broadcast or sent to different patrons. The advantage of text messaging is that the bandwidth is more efficiently used in the event of an emergency, and there are no busy signals as in a voice network. Further, the message is send, and if the network is at capacity, the system can automatically resend or the message will be placed in queue and sent as soon as capacity becomes available.

In another alternative embodiment of the invention, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction.

For instance, in sporting venues the bracelet ticket includes the machine readable information that comprises at least one of a bar code and radio frequency identifier used for security check in, and optionally check out. In this manner, the standard reading machines that can scan the bar code or RFID information can keep track of people that have checked into the sporting event and/or venue. Advantageously, the machine readable information on the bracelet can also be used by the venue in the event the patrons seat assignment is modified, for example, via an electronic ticket exchange or upgrade program. In this embodiment, the visible indicia are no longer valid for the actual seating that may be dynamically changed and only represents optionally an initial seat assignment. However, the machine readable information may be used as a code to reference the specific patron and assign that patron a new seat. Thus, when the ticket reader scans the ticket and actually identifies, for example, the bar code, this information can be used to reference the patron, update and/or confirm the patron's current seat via the reader used, for example, by ushers in the venue, kiosk, entrance to the venue, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction. This information, as previously mentioned, may be visually cognizable for the patron and in combination, readable by electronic means if the bracelet includes a magnetic strip, bar code imprinting, or RF chip.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the security bracelet and ticket combination of the present invention advantageously includes a bar code or other machine readable information such as a RFID device. When, for example, a child is separated form their parent, the parent can notify security and the seat number associated with the child. If the child attempts to leave with their bar code/identifier, the system detects the bar code/identifier as either being valid and identifying the child that is missing or being invalid and raising another red flag. In an alternative embodiment, the bar codes/identifiers associated between children and adults correspond such that the child identifier must be within a predetermined time and/or number of checking out identifiers from/within the adult identifier. If this does not occur, the system determines that the child is leaving without their parent, and possibly being abducted.

In an alternative embodiment, the system links one or more tickets/identifiers together and requires the tickets/identifiers to exit the venue or event within a predetermined time period from one another and/or within a predetermined number of tickets/identifiers that have exited the venue and/or event. In the event that one ticket/identifier exits the venue or event and the associated identifier does not, then an alarm or other indictor occurs, and the attendants will detain the patrons that have initiated the alarm to for security purposes.

In an alternative embodiment, the tickets are advantageously coded with designations such as adult, child and the like. In the event a child ticket/identifier exits the stadium before the associated adult and/or more that a predetermined time period and/or number of patrons exiting, the system can initiate an alarm so that an attendant can determine if a child has exited the venue or event without their parent or with a wrong parent potentially averting a kidnapping. In this embodiment, an additional combination is the use of the standard fast pass feature, for example, at theme parks, and the like, where the venue records predetermined events that the user of the card enters in a faster line. In this embodiment, if a child ticket/identifier is not associated with a parent ticket/identifier, for example, as described above, the child may be denied entry into the event or venue if not accompanied by their parent. In alternative embodiments, the venue/event sponsor or organizer associates tickets upon request from the patron. In addition, in another alternative embodiment, a kiosk is provided inside and/or outside the venue for, for example, parents to register their tickets and have them associated with their children's tickets to prevent he child from exiting the venue without them, for example, as described above.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system and method are adapted to utilize any type of wireless device with different interface and communication options. For example, different wireless devices have different constraints with respect to the interface, e.g., number of characters, how the subject and body of the messages are used/communicated, etc. Accordingly, the present invention optionally provides a protocol conversion system depending on the type of wireless device and the wireless device constraints, including message constraints and/or the wireless communication system. In alternative embodiments, the system determines the wireless device provider based on the address received from the wireless device, and is able to automatically determine the type of message and/or message constraints and transmission constraints associated therewith based for example, on real-time information or on pre-determined stored information on the device and/or communication system. Accordingly, a protocol conversion system for different wireless devices is provided by the present invention for sending and/or receiving messages, such as upgrade offers, responses, acceptances, and the like, from a variety of different users/mobile devices and wireless systems.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, a security bracelet is advantageously utilized, for example, such as the security bracelet disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/680,207, filed on Oct. 8, 2003, to Abraham I. Reifer, et al., and incorporated herein by reference, in the event of a reported event, security breach, abduction, and the like. In this embodiment, all patrons exiting the stadium must show their ticket and/or identifier so that the venue can check all patrons out of the stadium. Thus, for example, if two kidnappers come in the stadium, and want to use one bracelet for a child, the second kidnapper will be stranded in the stadium. In addition, if one kidnapper buys two tickets, then upon exit with the child and the additional ticket, a barcode/identifier will be exiting without ever having checked in, and then the alarm will go off as well.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention provides a broadcast message to warn patrons of an event, such as an advertisement, sale and/or even a weather related event such as a hurricane that might require the venue to be evacuated. Advantageously, in at least one embodiment, the broadcast message comprises standard text messaging that optimizes or better utilizes capacity form the communication system. Thus, when using text messaging capabilities, the present invention efficiently transmits text messages to numerous subscribers regarding, for example, exit information, contacting and/or meeting additional parties that have been separated, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the present invention optionally provides the capability to penetrate into secondary market with season ticket holders selling ahead of time the games they will not be attending. For example, the present invention optionally provides the feature for the season ticket holder and/or general ticket purchaser the ability to view in advance of the season and/or game the schedule, and to alert the venue and/or stadium of games and/or events they will not be attending, thereby permitting the stadium/venue to attempt to resell the tickets to other patrons. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the patron is provided with a monthly schedule listing the events that may be attended. The patron, such as a season ticket holder, may then click or place an indicator on all games they will not be attending for the season in advance, thereby providing the stadium with the ability to resell tickets well in advance of the event. Once the patron completes identifying games that will not be attended, the system then compiles a list and transmits the list to the patron for an optional confirmation. This list is then used by the system to release seats well in advance of the game. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, registered users of the system for, for example, upgrades, may also be notified of seat availability for sales prior to the game/event. In an alternative of this embodiment, registered users may receive text messages, emails, and the like, notifying them advantageously of the availability of seats that heretofore have never been easily available to the public for sale, thereby allowing the venue to participate in secondary market ticket sales.

In one alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system/process of the present invention provides or operates as a middle person/broker between the ticket holder that is returning tickets to the venue, such as the season ticket holder, and a ticket sales system and/or company, such as tickets.com, by notifying the tickets company of the newly available seats via notification by the ticket holder, such as the season ticket holder of season ticket games not being attended.

In one alternative embodiment of the invention, the system and/or process transmits text messages, emails and the like, to offer tickets and/or seats and/or admittance to subscribers for events and/or games with empty seats even before game. Thus, the present invention allows the venue to participate in the secondary ticket sales market and the upgrade market, thereby increasing revenue and fan loyalty.

Of course, all of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event, and/or venue that require tickets for entry thereof.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the use of machine readable identifiers provides advantages for, for example, the upgrade program or ticket exchange of the present invention. For example, when the upgrade, re-allocation and/or electronic ticket is issued, the machine readable identifier, for example, the bar code, on the original ticket is invalidated, thereby preventing use of the invalidated ticket. Accordingly, when a new ticket holder purchases the ticket form the season ticket holder, the new purchaser will be issued a new machine readable identifier, and optionally a new paper ticket. The present invention advantageously is able to handle the issuance of a new ticket and invalidates the old ticket and optionally the old identifier that has, for example, been returned by the season ticket holder, thereby providing dynamic ticketing capability.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the new patron obtains a new identifier such as a barcode, the old bar code of, for example, the season ticket holder is invalidated. In one embodiment of the invention, season ticket holders are offered to opt in the upgrade process. Various commercial incentives are possible for the season ticket holder to opt in the upgrade process, such as monetary compensation when their ticket is used for an upgrade and/or resold whether they express their intention not to go to the game prior to the game, and the like. Alternatively, season ticket holders may be offered that the cost of their season tickets will, for example, remain the same as the previous year or be reduced if they participate in the program. Therefore, the combination season ticket trade-in and upgrade program in one embodiment of the invention will be beneficial to season ticket holders by allowing them to trade when they already know that they have no intention of attending a game, and allow the season ticket holder to recoup some cost of the season tickets if they do not attend and their ticket is used as an upgrade. In addition, additional patrons of the event and/or sports team are permitted to attend the game in locations/seats that they might never have been able to obtain access to. Further, the venue/stadium/team maximize revenues by being able to place tickets on the secondary market when the ticket holder notifies the venue early enough that they are not attending the event, the venue also obtains additional revenue from upgrades when tickets are upgraded, and the venue obtains additional fan loyalty.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the system provides the ability to advertise via email, text messaging, and the like, for one wireless carrier on the wireless device that is using another wireless carrier. Since the user of the wireless device has requested the service, the user appropriately receives the communication from the ticketing system of the present invention, and therefore, also appropriately received the advertisement from the wireless carrier that is different than the wireless carrier that the user of the wireless may be using at that time.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, offers to purchase seats either during the game or even well in advance of the game are ?pushed? or transmitted out to registered users that have supplied their wireless and/or Internet addresses. For example, patrons can register in advance for the upgrade and/or regular ticket offers to purchase admittance via various methods including the Internet. When seats band/or admittance becomes available, a broadcast message or other standard messages may be transmitted to the registered patrons to notify them of the seat availability. Thus, seat offers are ?pushed? to registered users that have requested this service advantageously to a wireless device and/or other address including standard telephone communication, as well as additional optional advertisements. The system, in one alternative embodiment, provides the user the option when registering to accept certain types of advertisements to be received on their wireless device via email and/or text messaging. In other embodiments, the user does not have the option of which advertisements to receive.

Advantageously, in accordance with one alternative embodiment of the present invention, if a patron decides to attend an event such as a sporting event when the patron does not have time to wait to receive paper tickets (e.g., the patron is visiting in another city/location and does not have time to wait to receive tickets via mail and is on the go), the system of the present invention transmits a ticket to the patron via, for example, a wireless communication system and/or other standard electronic communication system such as the Internet, and the patron can present their ticket, for example, on their wireless device and show up to game.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Patrons then text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers. The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system uses a seat database to determine which of the reserved seats are currently in use. The system may integrate with the seat database system of a venue and/or stadium or optionally be used in parallel with the seat venue/stadium database. For example, prior to the event, the system may utilize the seat database of the venue to determine available seating and patrons that do not show up after a predetermined period of time. Alternatively, the present invention can operate using a separate database from the event/venue by copying or building a separate database used for the ticketing and/or upgrading according to the present invention. In this alternative, as patrons enter the venue, they are checked in directly to this separate database. At the time of the event, the system will be able to check-in patrons using either the identification system, e.g., bar code scanner, of the event or venue, or provide a separate identification system.

In alternative embodiments of the invention, the patron that knows they are attending the game but is going to be late can send in a HOLD message even prior to being provided a warning message that their seats are to be released if the patron does not respond to the message with the HOLD request. That is, in this embodiment, since the patron already knows well in advance that they are attending the game, but perhaps stuck in traffic, the patron can initiate the HOLD message before even being warned in advance of the possibility of their seat being released.

In another alternative embodiment, patrons that have registered with the system and optionally checked into the stadium and/or venue in advance and who also know that they would like an upgrade and/or ticket, may initiate their own upgrade request to the system to notify the system of their willingness to purchase an upgrade and/or new ticket for the event/venue. The system may then place these patrons on a higher priority since they have already expressed and intent and/or willingness to purchase the upgrade or ticket. The patron may notify the event and/or stadium of their willingness optionally well in advance of the game or near/after game time at a time which the patron commits or expresses an additional heightened desire to upgrade and/or purchase a ticket.

In alternative embodiments, the system includes the advantage of allowing patrons to register free for a predetermined period of time, for example, for the first year, without paying a yearly subscriber fee. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system provides the patron with their first upgrade for free or for a reduced rate to further encourage the patron to register with the system and method of the present invention. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system of the present invention offers the patron reduced and/or free concessions when purchasing a membership, ticket and/or upgrade to further encourage the patron to participate in the offers of the present invention.

In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the matching system and/or process, permits participants in the program to initiate a message to the system with the seat location and/or name of the patron that they would like to be matched with for a meeting, networking and/or socializing such as a date. In this embodiment, the system may the push the message to the other subscriber and assign new seats to the individuals that are to be matched. Alternatively, the system Need not require a specific confirmation that the second individual to be notified of the potential match is physically located near the first individual, but can rely on the first individual to provide that information. For example, the first individual may see a potential date in a restaurant, and may then send a message to the system with that person's name or address, that they would like to meet that other individual. In that situation, the second individual will receive a message of the possible match, and can respond and accept or reject the offer to meet. The second individual can then provide a meeting destination or the system can suggest a meeting place based on the first individual advising the system of their location, and the location of the second individual.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Advantageously, the multiple choice questions each have unique selections, such as a1, b1, c1 and d1 for question #1; a2, b2, c2, and d2 for question #2; a3, b3, c3 and d3 for question #3, and the like. In this embodiment, the actual timing of questions is not necessary since each question and answer is unique. Therefore, the speed of responding to the question is immaterial to the winner of the contest and/or correct answer. Also, in the event one patron answers the question late, there will be no confusion which question the patron is submitting an answer for. Patrons text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers as indicated above using the unique set of answers, in one embodiment. In alternative embodiments, the first predetermined number of patrons that answer the question correctly are considered the winners.

The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, e.g., a1 50%, b1 28%, c1 12% and d1 10%, and display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

As discussed above, one or more of the above alternative embodiments may be incorporated into the embodiments described above, and/or any of the embodiments discussed below. Furthermore, any of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating or other event.

FIG. 32 is a flowchart of a tenth embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 32, the process begins by enrolling members in the program that are interested in the ticket upgrade. Tickets are checked in, for example, as the patrons enter the reserved seating area, such as a stadium or theater, through, for example, bar code readers, scanners, infrared readers, and/or manually or other method where the patron is checked in, either at the gate, seat or other location. An optional separate check in area is provided for patrons that want to participate in the upgrade program. For example, patrons can optionally check in a predetermined time before the event through a wireless device, Internet connection, manual or voice recognition telephone, or other manner. The important point is to provide a standard manner for allowing patrons to check in, and if the patron fails to check in using a predetermined procedure, to allow that seat to be provided to another willing patron in accordance with a process to be described below. Currently, such a process is impossible and unthinkable in view of the difficulty reserved seating events have in simply getting the patrons seated prior to the beginning of the event. The present invention represents a revolutionary process to enhance event enjoyment, earn patron loyalty and optionally provide additional revenues to the theater/stadium or optionally other patrons with the desirable ticket.

The check in procedure continues for a predetermined period of time until a predetermined time period has expired, for example, 5 minutes before the event begins, 10 minutes after the event begins, after a predetermined event, such as the second act of a play, and the like. Once the predetermined time period or event has been completed, the check in procedure may be considered completed to begin the seat re-allocation process. To begin the seat re-allocation process, a re-allocation algorithm is used to re-assign seats for patrons that are willing or interested in different or better seats. Such re-allocation processes or algorithms may include a random process, a process where priority patrons are given priority for re-assignment of seat, a process where patrons are willing to pay additional for the re-assignment to either the theater or the individual patron whose seat is being provided to another patron, frequent event patrons, season ticket patrons, a standard bidding process, or other predetermined process.

An optional polling process to poll existing members and non-members in seats to whether additional seats are available. That is, in another optional embodiment of the present invention, non-members may also make their seats available for re-allocation/re-sale at any point in the process. In this additional polling process, the next step is to determine whether additional seats have been made available. If additional seats have been made available, then these additional seats are added to the list of available seats.

If the patron that is identified by the re-allocation process is determined to be present in the theater, for example, via mobile telephone, wireless device, and/or manual verification, an optional sub-process determines whether the patron's optional profile is also satisfied with the available seating. If the optional subscriber profile is not satisfied, then the re-allocation process searches for another possible patron. If the optional profile sub-process is satisfied, then the eligible patron is notified via one or more means, such as announcement, manually, wireless device, mobile telephone, bulletin board, and/or other means. The patron is then notified and presented with the option of moving for free, use of award points, additional money to the theater and/or patron to whose seat is being provided, or other predetermined criteria to obtain the seat. The patron, of course has the option to decline, and if so, the process continues and returns to the re-allocation process to attempt to locate another possible patron.

If the patron accepts, payment of money or other means may be effectuated on the spot via the wireless device, credit card, debit card, points, and the like, and the patron may now move to the other seat. The patron's seat may then optionally be made available as an empty seat to the re-allocation process. The process then optionally determines whether there have been additional vacancies, for example, just prior to the event, during the event or as a result of predetermined processes, and empties and/or makes available these additional seats for the event. For example, if standard smart card, standard scanner, standard bluetooth, wireless, or other technology is used in the present invention, additional seats may be made available as patrons leave the event early, for example if diverted for an urgent business meeting, and the like. These additional seats may provide additional opportunities for patron satisfaction, revenue (theater or patrons), advertising, advertising sponsorship for banner advertising on the wireless device and/or in the theater, and the like. Thus, scanners posted at strategic locations, for example, at the exit of the theater or stadium will confirm that the patron is leaving, and optionally prompt the patron to confirm that they do not plan on returning. This embodiment may optionally be used in other embodiments of the present invention, and vice versa.

If a predetermined period of time has not expired, then the re-allocation process may be run again to optionally continuously re-allocate seats while advantageously including the additional seats. The patron may optionally store the up-graded ticket on a wireless device for proof of entrance to the better seating area. Optionally, the seat and/or row and/or section, includes a separate reader device to receive optionally the original ticket that is now re-allocated to a better seat, or a new ticket that may optionally be received by the patron via the wireless device and/or manually via a worker in the theater or stadium.

In accordance with the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets very near to game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron must be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept.

In one alternative embodiment, if the patron that has their ticket re-allocated in error, e.g., because the patron did not show up to the event based on the predetermined criteria but the patron was still planning on attending because they forgot about their seat being re-allocated, the system can re-allocate seats immediately upon the checking in of the patron and notify them that their seats have changed because they are late. In this situation, the stadium/venue might decide to further upgrade the patrons because of the mistake.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the process of the present invention specifically reserves seats of the highest or very high rating that are considered preferred, in the event a patron's seat is re-allocated prematurely or erroneously. In this situation, the patron who has had their seat re-allocated because they will likely receive an even better seat as a result of the mistaken (stadium or patron) or premature seat re-allocation.

In another embodiment of the present invention, as patrons are entering the venue or stadium, they are provided advantageously with a map of the stadium so patrons can analyze the potential upgrade to make a decision whether the upgraded seats are sufficiently good or of value to warrant the patron moving and/or paying for the additional upgrade. By handing the patron the map of the stadium, the process of the the present invention is not required to transmit a detailed schematic to the patron's wireless device which would not normally be able to effectively permit the patron to evaluate the proposed upgrade seats. The map that is handed out may optionally include information for patrons on where to register for the upgrade and/or additional advertisement opportunities.

In one alternative embodiment, the patron that has purchased the ticket, for example, a season ticket holder, may advise the stadium that for a particular game, set of games or all games, they do not want their seats to be re-allocated, and perhaps, an additional fee is assessed for this type of patron. If the stadium provides the ability for the patron to selectively opt out of the seat re-allocation, the patron can, for example, connect to the system via the Internet, public switched telephone network, cellular network, and the like, and notify the system that they do not want their ticket re-allocated, for example, because they are coming late to the event. Other means of notifying the system and/or other reasons may be utilized in connection with the present invention.

In another alternative embodiment, the system provides patrons the ability to individually select when their tickets may be re-allocated. For example, one patron may prefer to only give up their ticket if they are late to the game by 15 minutes, while another patron may be willing to give up their ticket if they have not arrived 15 minutes before the game. In alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide incentives for the patron to have their ticket re-allocated prior to the game because it increases the stadiums chances of re-allocating/re-selling the ticket.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provide additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In an alternative embodiment, the system determines priority of re-allocation of seats based first upon patrons that have seats that may also be re-allocated. That is, the systems attempts to maximize the number of re-allocations by prioritizing the re-allocation based upon seats that may be re-allocated after already being re-allocated. For example, if front row seats in a stadium are available to be re-allocated, in this alternative embodiment, patrons that are in the next closest section for example on the field level would be upgraded first to those seats. Then, patrons with less preferred seats, for example, in the upper deck would be re-allocated to the seats that have now become available from the patrons that have been upgraded to the front row. Thus, using this alternative priority scheme, the present invention maximizes the re-allocation numbers. Of course, this priority algorithm may be combined with additional factors, for example, relating to subscriber/patron value. As described above, additional factors may be utilized in the algorithm to determine the subscriber or set of subscribers to offer the upgrade.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally rate the upgraded patron, for example, for appropriate behavior, wearing of excessively large hats, drunkenness behavior, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the re-allocation algorithm for future upgrades to the patron.

In alternative embodiments, the patrons eligible for the upgrade may be notified using standard email communications over a wireless device, mobile telephone, and/or other standard communication means. For example, standard text-to-voice and/or voice-to-text communications may be used to contact the patron to evaluate whether an upgrade will be accepted and to actually accept the upgrade.

In another embodiment of the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that have already purchased tickets in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats and/or may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets at any time prior to and/or after beginning of game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron may be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention or even at any location when being offered upgrades and/or seats well in advance of the game. For example, the present invention can upgrade or sell tickets to patrons well in advance of the game since it advantageously is permitted or has the authority to resell tickets either via ticket holders that do not show up during the game and/or, for example, season ticket holders that have authorized the stadium in advance to resell their tickets based on predetermined criteria, for example, when the season ticket holder notifies the stadium that they will not be present at next weeks game.

In one optional embodiment of the invention, the patron presents the usher with the confirmation number which the usher can enter into a wireless device using a local or private wireless network, or can simply use a walkie talkie or telephone to call the dispatcher to confirm the upgrade and/or new seats using the customer provided confirmation number. The dispatcher will have access to the system to enter the confirmation number to confirm the validity of the upgrade. Alternatively, a patron will retain their old ticket. The patron will give in the old ticket to the usher which is scanned or barcoded by the usher for immediate identification of new seats and used in place of, or in addition to, confirmation number.

Of course, the confirmation may optionally be made via customer name with an appropriate identification card or other information. Further, alternative methods may be used to verify that the confirmation number and/or ticket being used by the patron is valid. For example, the patron may be equipped with a printing device associated with the wireless device or download an actual ticket on line from home prior to the game for the new ticket or upgrade. Alternatively, the patron may be equipped with an identifier card, optionally including a bar code with a unique identifier relating to the patron's account information and profile that can be scanned for additional convenience. Alternatively, a wireless device may be used to securely store this type of identification and/or account information.

In at least one alternative embodiment of the invention, the patron may comprise optionally a corporate account that has a number of tickets, for example, season tickets. In this embodiment, the corporate account may have associated therewith a plurality of email addresses or other communication addresses to transmit the seat or upgrade offer to a number of potential patrons that may rotate their attendance at the games. In accordance with this optional embodiment, multiple emails can be stored for a single user/corporate account, and the system may transmit individual messages to all email addresses, or may only transmit messages to individual patrons for corporate account that individually advise the system that they are associated with a particular ticket/bar code for a particular game and will be/are present at a particular game.

In an alternative embodiment, patrons may enter the stadium and subsequently inform the system that they are present and interested in an upgrade via a kiosk where the patron can scan a bar code and enter their customer number to be eligible for upgrades during the game. The system is then able to transmit a message to the customer, assuming that the customer has pre-registered with the system with the appropriate contact information. Alternatively, or in addition to individual use of a kiosk(s), the customer sales office may have a kiosk or additional functionality to enter the customer name and/or customer account and scan in the bar coded ticket on the spot to register each patron as they enter the stadium or venue.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron upon entry in the stadium to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept when an offer is received by the patron at a predetermined time. The graphical map may comprise a small booklet with a map of the stadium showing seat locations, and optionally a game schedule.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provides additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally be eligible for a dating or matching service where patrons register and provide profile information to the system and/or through a third service provider dating service. Once the system knows that the patrons will be coming to the game and/or have actually checked in to the stadium, the system can then arrange for the two, four, etc. patrons to meet each other by allocating and/or re-allocating seats to the patrons together. Thus, based on profile information, customer request and availability, the system is able to upgrade or sell tickets to patrons to maximize their chances of meeting someone at the game. This optional feature provides significant potential enjoyment for the patrons participating in this dating or connection program. In accordance with this embodiment, one possible sequence of acceptance steps involves profile matching the two patrons (or groups of patrons) based on predetermined profile information; transmitting a first message to the first patron regarding availability of the second patron and requesting a conditional acceptance form the first patron; transmitting a second message to the second patron indicating that the first patron has conditionally accepted and request the second patron to accept; and when the second patron accepts before the first patron has rescinded the conditional acceptance, finalizing the upgrade and/or seat allocation for the first and second patrons. This embodiment of the invention is a complete reverse from typical dating and/or matchmaking services which attempt to develop detailed algorithms for the matching process because of the significant decision that exists in determining who to spend valuable time with. In accordance with the invention, patrons are already present at the game, and therefore, half or more than half the effort is already done. The remainder is to actually meet the other person which can be accomplished with profile criteria, whether or not the algorithms are very sophisticated.

In one embodiment, the patrons that are being matched have their original seats maintained and not made available for other upgrades in the event the matching does not work out early on. In this embodiment, one or both the patrons can return to their original seat. Hopefully, there will not be a significant argument of who would need to return to their original seat if an upgrade is actually performed. In addition, in accordance with this embodiment, the seats that are selected do not necessarily have to be better seats in the classical sense. That is, seats further away from other ticket holders might be considered preferred when matching two individuals for the first time. Alternatively, couple that would prefer a little more privacy or quieter game might request to be moved to a more isolated area. Alternatively, families with small children might prefer to be moved to a less busy area as well during the game where the children might be able to freely move around. All these scenarios and/or alternatives are possible in view of the present invention. The advantage of performing a match in a public setting is that the patrons do not have to worry about leaving or ending the date, and also do not have to worry that the other person will have their home address.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like.

In addition, this feature also optionally permits the patrons that have participated in the program to rate one another for future dates. For example, one patron can rate the conversational benefits of the second patron, the appearance of the second patron, the overall short term versus long terms relationship goals of the patron, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the algorithm for future seat assignments, re-allocations and/or upgrades in the future for the first and second patrons, and all other patrons will now benefit with the additional profile information of the first and second patrons. The matching service may be for amusement or work related networking purposes, for example, to meet an executive that the patron currently works with or wishes to work with/sell in the future.

In an alternative embodiment of the dating/matching service of the present invention, a dating/matching service is provided to patrons that enter a predetermined location and/or geographic area. The patron can enter physically the location and/or geographic and register, for example, by manually entering data in a computer, transmitting information relating to the registration of the patron via infrared, Bluetooth and/or other technology, and/or automatically register via use of GPS information associated with or used in a wireless device associated with the patron. For example, patrons that enter an establishment can register upon entry that they are now present within the general location of the establishment. Upon registry, the system can implement various matching algorithms currently in use by various matching services in connection with other patrons that have also registered at the same location and/or a location in the general area that the original patron registered. According to this embodiment, the system advantageously matches individuals that have registered in the same geographic location and/or geographic locations that are in the same general area where the patrons can walk and/or drive to meet each other in the same general time frame, such as the same evening, same afternoon same day, and the like. In addition, the system advantageously and optionally provides the feature of allowing patrons to text message one another directly, and/or exchange pictures via wireless email, text messaging, and other wireless devices that provide the standard capability of exchanging pictures, such a T Mobile and/or Sprint.

In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder can call in via a voice to text message, text message and/or email and let the stadium know early that they are not coming. In this manner the ticket holder obtains the convenience of the stadium or venue reselling their tickets in advance, thereby providing the venue with additional time to maximize the resale of the ticket.

In alternative embodiments, when the patron enters the stadium, they have their ticket barcoded or other device that detects their presence can bu used such as infrared, Bluetooth, etc., and then they can become eligible for an upgrade. The patron can register in advance that they want to receive upgrades by providing their name, message address, e.g., email, telephone text message address, etc., and optionally their credit card or other payment mechanism for upgrades that actually cost money as opposed to free upgrades. In alternative embodiments, the patron can register at the ticket booth when purchasing their original ticket. In this scenario, the stadium representative can enter this information on behalf of, and with the permission of, the patron since the patron may already be providing their credit card, debit card, etc. to purchase the original tickets. Alternatively or in addition, a kiosk may be provided where the patron can enter their original ticket, e.g., scan in their original ticket and provide their name and text message information in the stadium to register for a one time upgrade for the game after purchasing, for example, a regular admission ticket.

In alternative embodiments, an usher can verify that the patron should be upgraded by the patron providing the confirmation number that may be transmitted in real-time by the system, and/or by the patron using their original confirmation number or original ticket with barcode or other identification means, such as a smart card, infrared reader, etc. that represents original ticket and presenting same to the user. The usher then needs only to scan in the original ticket and the system will verify whether the patron associated with the original ticket is valid and whether the upgrade is valid.

In alternative embodiments, a warning message may be sent to the ticket holder that has not shown up to game warning them that if they do not respond within a certain time period that their seat will be re-allocated or re-assigned to another patron. Similarly, a release message may be sent to the ticket holder after their seat has actually been released and/or re-allocated, thereby notifying the patron that if they change their mind in attending the game, they will have to obtain an additional ticket. In alternative embodiments, the ticket holder that has their seat released and re-allocated can be themselves re-allocated a similar, worse or better seat, depending on, for example, their subscriber value and/or other criteria. For example, if the patron is provided a better seat, this will encourage them to more readily give up their seats in the future even if they are attending the game. On the other hand, if the patron is provided a worse seat, then this encourages them not to artificially give up or have their seat released when attending the game. Accordingly, the present invention is designed to deal with various behavioral patterns of specific ticket holders, and may optionally and advantageously be a ticket holder specific with respect to various criteria for re-assigning, releasing, selling and/or re-allocating tickets.

In alternative embodiments, the system transmits to the ticket holder a welcome message after being upgraded and after having being moved to a new upgraded seat location. In one embodiment, the system identifies that the patron has been successfully upgraded after the patron provides the usher with a confirmation number or original ticket, which is then verified by the usher and system.

In alternative embodiments, the system, after having identified which patrons have checked into the stadium and/or have been upgraded, transmits a trivia question and/or additional advertisements to all patrons attending the game. In alternative embodiments, the information is transmitted to both patrons that are attending the game and additional patrons that have registered in the past to receive information but that are not attending the game. The participants can, for example, answer trivia questions and respond with their wireless device. Depending on whether the patron is attending the game or not, the system may determine to offer or deal with each of the patrons differently. For example, for patrons at the game, winners may be successively determined and narrowed, as patrons successfully and unsuccessfully answer questions, round after round of questions in a ?spelling bee? format. For patrons that are not attending the game, winners may be declared, or statistics provided to the broadcast station that can be aired on television. In yet additional alternative embodiments, instead of transmitting information/questions to the patrons via the wireless device, the information/questions are displayed on the stadium billboard for patrons at the game and/or on television for patrons that are watching the game on television. The patron can then merely respond via the device, e.g., the telephone accordingly via a voice-to-text system or via other mobile devices via text messaging.

In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of additional advertising sponsorship to the venue. For example, in one embodiment, the venue is partitioned into different locations that may be assigned to different sponsors. In one embodiment, the sponsor that provides the most value may be assigned a certain number of premium seats that are not available to other sponsors.

For example, the sponsor may offer a discount on the upgrade if you are a Verizon or Verizon Wireless customer or they credit your cell account for each seat upgrade or you get say 30 free minutes, etc. In alternative embodiments, the present invention provides the advantage of one wireless provider to advertise on another wireless providers mobile phone or wireless device. For example, if Verizon Wireless is a sponsor of the upgrade system for a particular stadium, the present invention will still work with, for example, AT&T, SPRINT, and CINGULAR customers. An advertisement message sent with the upgrade offer may read on the AT&T phone, ?brought to you by Verizon Wireless.? In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, text messaging is optionally used for mobile phones to perform the message communication of the present invention. The user is only required, in one embodiment, to reply or respond with a ?Yes? to accept the upgrade offer since the user has advantageously pre-registered with the system, thereby minimizing the required communication/input by the user. In an alternative embodiment, the user, instead of pre-registering with the system, is charged on their wireless or even regular telephone number bill when they accept the upgrade offer. Thus, the wireless system that either administers the user's regular or wireless account or the upgrade sponsor may be responsible for actually billing the customer in this alternative embodiment.

In the alternative embodiment when text messaging is optionally used alone or in combination with other communication methods, the system provides the additional advantage of maximizing bandwidth usage by not requiring use of bandwidth on the wireless voice system, thereby maximizing system resources.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention optionally and advantageously provides a security and/or safety feature in the event of, for example, a minor event where a parent gets separated from a child, a disaster or other event that might require evacuation of the stadium. In one embodiment, the person needing help provides their name to an attendant that can search the system for the contact information of their companion/parent. The system can thereafter send an email and/or text message to the companion/parent regarding the status of that person and provide instructions for meeting that person or arranging help, authorizing medical procedures, and the like. In another embodiment, the person requiring help, e.g., a child provides the attendant or kiosk with their ticket which can, e.g., scan the bar code or other reader system. The system can either automatically provide a text message to the parent who can then reply to the child/attendant via the kiosk to meet the child.

Alternatively, the parent can be instructed to meet the child at a predetermined location, and to stop looking for the child because the child was found. Thus, for this example, the person who is lost or separated from their party can notify security or access a kiosk. Security can, for example, notify the parent that child is in safe custody, and should not search the stadium, and therefore, meet outside stadium in a pre-specified safe place.

In an alternative embodiment, if a child/person is separated, the security guard/kiosk can arrange the best place to meet, either in or outside the stadium, together based on an optional global positioning system (GPS). In addition, the party with the mobile device can be provided directions on where to go to meet their party from who they have been separated.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention may also be used in a security, defense and/or safety setting to direct patrons in a stadium for an orderly evacuation or notify patrons regarding status of a safety related event via, for example, a broadcast message including text message, email and the like. In this manner, system communication resources may be most efficiently utilized by not over-utilizing the system via voice communication, unless completely necessary. For example, the message can be broadcast in the event of an impending hurricane. In this situation, patrons in different sections get different messages, for example, to exit the stadium out of gates/exits that are either less occupied or closest to the section the patrons are sitting in. Advantageously, the present invention has the patrons contact information, including optionally and advantageously text messaging, that can be broadcast or sent to different patrons. The advantage of text messaging is that the bandwidth is more efficiently used in the event of an emergency, and there are no busy signals as in a voice network. Further, the message is send, and if the network is at capacity, the system can automatically resend or the message will be placed in queue and sent as soon as capacity becomes available.

In another alternative embodiment of the invention, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction.

For instance, in sporting venues the bracelet ticket includes the machine readable information that comprises at least one of a bar code and radio frequency identifier used for security check in, and optionally check out. In this manner, the standard reading machines that can scan the bar code or RFID information can keep track of people that have checked into the sporting event and/or venue. Advantageously, the machine readable information on the bracelet can also be used by the venue in the event the patrons seat assignment is modified, for example, via an electronic ticket exchange or upgrade program. In this embodiment, the visible indicia are no longer valid for the actual seating that may be dynamically changed and only represents optionally an initial seat assignment. However, the machine readable information may be used as a code to reference the specific patron and assign that patron a new seat. Thus, when the ticket reader scans the ticket and actually identifies, for example, the bar code, this information can be used to reference the patron, update and/or confirm the patron's current seat via the reader used, for example, by ushers in the venue, kiosk, entrance to the venue, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment, the security bracelets of the present invention can be required to be displayed and read on exit from a venue when a parent has reported that a child has been separated. In this event, all patrons are checked when they exit the stadium. The parent can report the specific seat that the child was sitting in, and then on exit, all patrons are checked. If the specific seat appears or if a child attempts to leave without scanning or presenting their bracelet, then that child can be taken into custody until their parent arrives, thereby possibly preventing abduction. This information, as previously mentioned, may be visually cognizable for the patron and in combination, readable by electronic means if the bracelet includes a magnetic strip, bar code imprinting, or RF chip.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the security bracelet and ticket combination of the present invention advantageously includes a bar code or other machine readable information such as a RFID device. When, for example, a child is separated form their parent, the parent can notify security and the seat number associated with the child. If the child attempts to leave with their bar code/identifier, the system detects the bar code/identifier as either being valid and identifying the child that is missing or being invalid and raising another red flag. In an alternative embodiment, the bar codes/identifiers associated between children and adults correspond such that the child identifier must be within a predetermined time and/or number of checking out identifiers from/within the adult identifier. If this does not occur, the system determines that the child is leaving without their parent, and possibly being abducted.

In an alternative embodiment, the system links one or more tickets/identifiers together and requires the tickets/identifiers to exit the venue or event within a predetermined time period from one another and/or within a predetermined number of tickets/identifiers that have exited the venue and/or event. In the event that one ticket/identifier exits the venue or event and the associated identifier does not, then an alarm or other indictor occurs, and the attendants will detain the patrons that have initiated the alarm to for security purposes.

In an alternative embodiment, the tickets are advantageously coded with designations such as adult, child and the like. In the event a child ticket/identifier exits the stadium before the associated adult and/or more that a predetermined time period and/or number of patrons exiting, the system can initiate an alarm so that an attendant can determine if a child has exited the venue or event without their parent or with a wrong parent potentially averting a kidnapping. In this embodiment, an additional combination is the use of the standard fast pass feature, for example, at theme parks, and the like, where the venue records predetermined events that the user of the card enters in a faster line. In this embodiment, if a child ticket/identifier is not associated with a parent ticket/identifier, for example, as described above, the child may be denied entry into the event or venue if not accompanied by their parent. In alternative embodiments, the venue/event sponsor or organizer associates tickets upon request from the patron. In addition, in another alternative embodiment, a kiosk is provided inside and/or outside the venue for, for example, parents to register their tickets and have them associated with their children's tickets to prevent he child from exiting the venue without them, for example, as described above.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system and method are adapted to utilize any type of wireless device with different interface and communication options. For example, different wireless devices have different constraints with respect to the interface, e.g., number of characters, how the subject and body of the messages are used/communicated, etc. Accordingly, the present invention optionally provides a protocol conversion system depending on the type of wireless device and the wireless device constraints, including message constraints and/or the wireless communication system. In alternative embodiments, the system determines the wireless device provider based on the address received from the wireless device, and is able to automatically determine the type of message and/or message constraints and transmission constraints associated therewith based for example, on real-time information or on pre-determined stored information on the device and/or communication system. Accordingly, a protocol conversion system for different wireless devices is provided by the present invention for sending and/or receiving messages, such as upgrade offers, responses, acceptances, and the like, from a variety of different users/mobile devices and wireless systems.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, a security bracelet is advantageously utilized, for example, such as the security bracelet disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/680,207, filed on Oct. 8, 2003, to Abraham I. Reifer, et al., and incorporated herein by reference, in the event of a reported event, security breach, abduction, and the like. In this embodiment, all patrons exiting the stadium must show their ticket and/or identifier so that the venue can check all patrons out of the stadium. Thus, for example, if two kidnappers come in the stadium, and want to use one bracelet for a child, the second kidnapper will be stranded in the stadium. In addition, if one kidnapper buys two tickets, then upon exit with the child and the additional ticket, a barcode/identifier will be exiting without ever having checked in, and then the alarm will go off as well.

In another alternative embodiment, the present invention provides a broadcast message to warn patrons of an event, such as an advertisement, sale and/or even a weather related event such as a hurricane that might require the venue to be evacuated. Advantageously, in at least one embodiment, the broadcast message comprises standard text messaging that optimizes or better utilizes capacity form the communication system. Thus, when using text messaging capabilities, the present invention efficiently transmits text messages to numerous subscribers regarding, for example, exit information, contacting and/or meeting additional parties that have been separated, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the present invention optionally provides the capability to penetrate into secondary market with season ticket holders selling ahead of time the games they will not be attending. For example, the present invention optionally provides the feature for the season ticket holder and/or general ticket purchaser the ability to view in advance of the season and/or game the schedule, and to alert the venue and/or stadium of games and/or events they will not be attending, thereby permitting the stadium/venue to attempt to resell the tickets to other patrons. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the patron is provided with a monthly schedule listing the events that may be attended. The patron, such as a season ticket holder, may then click or place an indicator on all games they will not be attending for the season in advance, thereby providing the stadium with the ability to resell tickets well in advance of the event. Once the patron completes identifying games that will not be attended, the system then compiles a list and transmits the list to the patron for an optional confirmation. This list is then used by the system to release seats well in advance of the game. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, registered users of the system for, for example, upgrades, may also be notified of seat availability for sales prior to the game/event. In an alternative of this embodiment, registered users may receive text messages, emails, and the like, notifying them advantageously of the availability of seats that heretofore have never been easily available to the public for sale, thereby allowing the venue to participate in secondary market ticket sales.

In one alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system/process of the present invention provides or operates as a middle person/broker between the ticket holder that is returning tickets to the venue, such as the season ticket holder, and a ticket sales system and/or company, such as tickets.com, by notifying the tickets company of the newly available seats via notification by the ticket holder, such as the season ticket holder of season ticket games not being attended.

In one alternative embodiment of the invention, the system and/or process transmits text messages, emails and the like, to offer tickets and/or seats and/or admittance to subscribers for events and/or games with empty seats even before game. Thus, the present invention allows the venue to participate in the secondary ticket sales market and the upgrade market, thereby increasing revenue and fan loyalty.

Of course, all of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating event, and/or venue that require tickets for entry thereof.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the use of machine readable identifiers provides advantages for, for example, the upgrade program or ticket exchange of the present invention. For example, when the upgrade, re-allocation and/or electronic ticket is issued, the machine readable identifier, for example, the bar code, on the original ticket is invalidated, thereby preventing use of the invalidated ticket. Accordingly, when a new ticket holder purchases the ticket form the season ticket holder, the new purchaser will be issued a new machine readable identifier, and optionally a new paper ticket. The present invention advantageously is able to handle the issuance of a new ticket and invalidates the old ticket and optionally the old identifier that has, for example, been returned by the season ticket holder, thereby providing dynamic ticketing capability.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the new patron obtains a new identifier such as a barcode, the old bar code of, for example, the season ticket holder is invalidated. In one embodiment of the invention, season ticket holders are offered to opt in the upgrade process. Various commercial incentives are possible for the season ticket holder to opt in the upgrade process, such as monetary compensation when their ticket is used for an upgrade and/or resold whether they express their intention not to go to the game prior to the game, and the like. Alternatively, season ticket holders may be offered that the cost of their season tickets will, for example, remain the same as the previous year or be reduced if they participate in the program. Therefore, the combination season ticket trade-in and upgrade program in one embodiment of the invention will be beneficial to season ticket holders by allowing them to trade when they already know that they have no intention of attending a game, and allow the season ticket holder to recoup some cost of the season tickets if they do not attend and their ticket is used as an upgrade. In addition, additional patrons of the event and/or sports team are permitted to attend the game in locations/seats that they might never have been able to obtain access to. Further, the venue/stadium/team maximize revenues by being able to place tickets on the secondary market when the ticket holder notifies the venue early enough that they are not attending the event, the venue also obtains additional revenue from upgrades when tickets are upgraded, and the venue obtains additional fan loyalty.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the system provides the ability to advertise via email, text messaging, and the like, for one wireless carrier on the wireless device that is using another wireless carrier. Since the user of the wireless device has requested the service, the user appropriately receives the communication from the ticketing system of the present invention, and therefore, also appropriately received the advertisement from the wireless carrier that is different than the wireless carrier that the user of the wireless may be using at that time.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, offers to purchase seats either during the game or even well in advance of the game are ?pushed? or transmitted out to registered users that have supplied their wireless and/or Internet addresses. For example, patrons can register in advance for the upgrade and/or regular ticket offers to purchase admittance via various methods including the Internet. When seats band/or admittance becomes available, a broadcast message or other standard messages may be transmitted to the registered patrons to notify them of the seat availability. Thus, seat offers are ?pushed? to registered users that have requested this service advantageously to a wireless device and/or other address including standard telephone communication, as well as additional optional advertisements. The system, in one alternative embodiment, provides the user the option when registering to accept certain types of advertisements to be received on their wireless device via email and/or text messaging. In other embodiments, the user does not have the option of which advertisements to receive.

Advantageously, in accordance with one alternative embodiment of the present invention, if a patron decides to attend an event such as a sporting event when the patron does not have time to wait to receive paper tickets (e.g., the patron is visiting in another city/location and does not have time to wait to receive tickets via mail and is on the go), the system of the present invention transmits a ticket to the patron via, for example, a wireless communication system and/or other standard electronic communication system such as the Internet, and the patron can present their ticket, for example, on their wireless device and show up to game.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Patrons then text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers. The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the system uses a seat database to determine which of the reserved seats are currently in use. The system may integrate with the seat database system of a venue and/or stadium or optionally be used in parallel with the seat venue/stadium database. For example, prior to the event, the system may utilize the seat database of the venue to determine available seating and patrons that do not show up after a predetermined period of time. Alternatively, the present invention can operate using a separate database from the event/venue by copying or building a separate database used for the ticketing and/or upgrading according to the present invention. In this alternative, as patrons enter the venue, they are checked in directly to this separate database. At the time of the event, the system will be able to check-in patrons using either the identification system, e.g., bar code scanner, of the event or venue, or provide a separate identification system.

In alternative embodiments of the invention, the patron that knows they are attending the game but is going to be late can send in a HOLD message even prior to being provided a warning message that their seats are to be released if the patron does not respond to the message with the HOLD request. That is, in this embodiment, since the patron already knows well in advance that they are attending the game, but perhaps stuck in traffic, the patron can initiate the HOLD message before even being warned in advance of the possibility of their seat being released.

In another alternative embodiment, patrons that have registered with the system and optionally checked into the stadium and/or venue in advance and who also know that they would like an upgrade and/or ticket, may initiate their own upgrade request to the system to notify the system of their willingness to purchase an upgrade and/or new ticket for the event/venue. The system may then place these patrons on a higher priority since they have already expressed and intent and/or willingness to purchase the upgrade or ticket. The patron may notify the event and/or stadium of their willingness optionally well in advance of the game or near/after game time at a time which the patron commits or expresses an additional heightened desire to upgrade and/or purchase a ticket.

In alternative embodiments, the system includes the advantage of allowing patrons to register free for a predetermined period of time, for example, for the first year, without paying a yearly subscriber fee. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system provides the patron with their first upgrade for free or for a reduced rate to further encourage the patron to register with the system and method of the present invention. Alternatively and/or in addition thereto, the system of the present invention offers the patron reduced and/or free concessions when purchasing a membership, ticket and/or upgrade to further encourage the patron to participate in the offers of the present invention.

In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the matching system and/or process, permits participants in the program to initiate a message to the system with the seat location and/or name of the patron that they would like to be matched with for a meeting, networking and/or socializing such as a date. In this embodiment, the system may the push the message to the other subscriber and assign new seats to the individuals that are to be matched. Alternatively, the system Need not require a specific confirmation that the second individual to be notified of the potential match is physically located near the first individual, but can rely on the first individual to provide that information. For example, the first individual may see a potential date in a restaurant, and may then send a message to the system with that person's name or address, that they would like to meet that other individual. In that situation, the second individual will receive a message of the possible match, and can respond and accept or reject the offer to meet. The second individual can then provide a meeting destination or the system can suggest a meeting place based on the first individual advising the system of their location, and the location of the second individual.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an interactive patron entertainment system is provided where trivia questions, for example multiple choice questions on a variety of topics, are sent to the patron via email and/or text messaging and/or displayed on the scoreboard with an address to respond, such as trivia@utixx.com. Advantageously, the multiple choice questions each have unique selections, such as a1, b1, c1 and d1 for question #1; a2, b2, c2, and d2 for question #2; a3, b3, c3 and d3 for question #3, and the like. In this embodiment, the actual timing of questions is not necessary since each question and answer is unique. Therefore, the speed of responding to the question is immaterial to the winner of the contest and/or correct answer. Also, in the event one patron answers the question late, there will be no confusion which question the patron is submitting an answer for. Patrons text message and/or email and/or answer questions via voice-to-text messaging their answers as indicated above using the unique set of answers, in one embodiment. In alternative embodiments, the first predetermined number of patrons that answer the question correctly are considered the winners.

The system can then display the overall number of answers that are correct and incorrect, e.g., a1 50%, b1 28%, c1 12% and d1 10%, and display bar graphs and the like to the event patrons by displaying on a display, such as the scoreboard of a sporting event. The system then identifies the patrons that have correctly answered the question and can then send new questions to be answered just to the previously correct patrons, thereby further narrowing the group of patrons. Successive questions can be sent, including questions that are not multiple choice and that require actual text to be entered via standard wireless device interfaces, and patrons are successively eliminated until a single or sub-set of patrons are determined to be the winners. Advantageously, the present invention provides entertainment to the patrons at the event by optionally providing successive questions throughout an event. In another alternative embodiment, simultaneously with the questions to the patrons present at the event, the present invention is also capable of sending the questions to patrons that have registered with the system, but are not at the event, for example, at home watching on the television or simply not currently involved in the game. The present invention is able to transmit the same and/or different questions to those registered users as well. Further, in another alternative embodiment of the present invention, viewers watching the television, for example the same event that patrons are attending, may be presented with the same and/or different questions as well as an address and/or telephone number to call and provide their answer which they can compete with patrons at the event or can be used to provide a separate comparison of the answers and/or separate winners to the contest. In this embodiment, for example, questions may be displayed on the television, Internet website, and the like, during the event, and viewers watching the television may respond to the questions as described above. The system can optionally compare the percentage of correct answers between the television viewers and the patrons at the event, and/or provide separate awards or a single award to the winners from the pool of television/Internet viewers and/or patrons in the event.

As discussed above, one or more of the above alternative embodiments may be incorporated into the embodiments described above, and/or any of the embodiments discussed below. Furthermore, any of the embodiments of the present invention may be used for any reserved seating or other event.

FIG. 33 is a flowchart of an eleventh embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 33, the process begins by enrolling members in the program that are interested in the ticket upgrade. Tickets are checked in, for example, as the patrons enter the reserved seating area, such as a stadium or theater, through, for example, bar code readers, scanners, infrared readers, and/or manually or other method where the patron is checked in, either at the gate, seat or other location. An optional separate check in area is provided for patrons that want to participate in the upgrade program. For example, patrons can optionally check in a predetermined time before the event through a wireless device, Internet connection, manual or voice recognition telephone, or other manner. The important point is to provide a standard manner for allowing patrons to check in, and if the patron fails to check in using a predetermined procedure, to allow that seat to be provided to another willing patron in accordance with a process to be described below. The patron may check in either a predetermined time before or after the event begins. Currently, such a process is impossible and unthinkable in view of the difficulty reserved seating events have in simply getting the patrons seated prior to the beginning of the event. The present invention represents a revolutionary process to enhance event enjoyment, earn patron loyalty and optionally provide additional revenues to the theater/stadium or optionally other patrons with the desirable ticket.

The check in procedure continues for a predetermined period of time until a predetermined time period has expired, for example, 5 minutes before the event begins, 10 minutes after the event begins, after a predetermined event, such as the second act of a play, and the like. Once the predetermined time period or event has been completed, the check in procedure may be considered completed to begin the seat re-allocation process. To begin the seat re-allocation process, a re-allocation algorithm is used to re-assign seats for patrons that are willing or interested in different or better seats. Such re-allocation processes or algorithms may include a random process, a process where priority patrons are given priority for re-assignment of seat, a process where patrons are willing to pay additional for the re-assignment to either the theater or the individual patron whose seat is being provided to another patron, frequent event patrons, season ticket patrons, a standard bidding process, or other predetermined process.

An optional polling process to poll existing members and non-members in seats to whether additional seats are available. That is, in another optional embodiment of the present invention, non-members may also make their seats available for re-allocation/re-sale at any point in the process. In this additional polling process, the next step is to determine whether additional seats have been made available. If additional seats have been made available, then these additional seats are added to the list of available seats.

If the patron that is identified by the re-allocation process is determined to be present in the theater, for example, via mobile telephone, wireless device, and/or manual verification, an optional sub-process determines whether the patron's optional profile is also satisfied with the available seating. If the optional subscriber profile is not satisfied, then the re-allocation process searches for another possible patron. If the optional profile sub-process is satisfied, then the eligible patron is notified via one or more means, such as announcement, manually, wireless device, mobile telephone, bulletin board, and/or other means. The patron is then notified and presented with the option of moving for free, use of award points, additional money to the theater and/or patron to whose seat is being provided, or other predetermined criteria to obtain the seat. Optionally, a bidding process may be initiated that allows various patrons to bid against one another. Any standard bidding process may optionally be used. The patron, of course has the option to decline, and if so, the process continues and returns to the re-allocation process to attempt to locate another possible patron.

The patron is prompted for the method of obtaining the tickets, such as a payment method, such as credit card, debit card, cash, point redemption, or optionally a gift/prize. The patron subsequently selects a payment method. The patron's account is debited at a future time, or optionally immediately via connection to a standard clearinghouse network, such as visa network, master card network or other network via direct connection or via the Internet, and the like. If sufficient funds do not exist, then the person is cleared or rejected from the opportunity for the seat re-allocation/upgrade process. If sufficient funds do exist, then the patron's account is debited or points deducted. Alternatively, one person may purchase the upgrade on behalf of another person.

The patron then moves to the new seat, and the system then clears the patron's old seat from the system to optionally provide re-allocation of the previous seat. As indicated previously, if the patron accepts, payment of money or other means may be effectuated on the spot via the wireless device, credit card, debit card, points, and the like, and the patron may now move to the other seat. The patron's seat may then optionally be made available as an empty seat to the re-allocation process. If a predetermined period of time has not expired, then the re-allocation process may be run again to optionally continuously re-allocate seats. The patron may optionally store the up-graded ticket on a wireless device for proof of entrance to the better seating area. Optionally, the seat and/or row and/or section, includes a separate reader device to receive optionally the original ticket that is now re-allocated to a better seat, or a new ticket that may optionally be received by the patron via the wireless device and/or manually via a worker in the theater or stadium.

In accordance with the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets very near to game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron must be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept.

In one alternative embodiment, if the patron that has their ticket re-allocated in error, e.g., because the patron did not show up to the event based on the predetermined criteria but the patron was still planning on attending because they forgot about their seat being re-allocated, the system can re-allocate seats immediately upon the checking in of the patron and notify them that their seats have changed because they are late. In this situation, the stadium/venue might decide to further upgrade the patrons because of the mistake.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the process of the present invention specifically reserves seats of the highest or very high rating that are considered preferred, in the event a patron's seat is re-allocated prematurely or erroneously. In this situation, the patron who has had their seat re-allocated because they will likely receive an even better seat as a result of the mistaken (stadium or patron) or premature seat re-allocation.

In another embodiment of the present invention, as patrons are entering the venue or stadium, they are provided advantageously with a map of the stadium so patrons can analyze the potential upgrade to make a decision whether the upgraded seats are sufficiently good or of value to warrant the patron moving and/or paying for the additional upgrade. By handing the patron the map of the stadium, the process of the the present invention is not required to transmit a detailed schematic to the patron's wireless device which would not normally be able to effectively permit the patron to evaluate the proposed upgrade seats. The map that is handed out may optionally include information for patrons on where to register for the upgrade and/or additional advertisement opportunities.

In one alternative embodiment, the patron that has purchased the ticket, for example, a season ticket holder, may advise the stadium that for a particular game, set of games or all games, they do not want their seats to be re-allocated, and perhaps, an additional fee is assessed for this type of patron. If the stadium provides the ability for the patron to selectively opt out of the seat re-allocation, the patron can, for example, connect to the system via the Internet, public switched telephone network, cellular network, and the like, and notify the system that they do not want their ticket re-allocated, for example, because they are coming late to the event. Other means of notifying the system and/or other reasons may be utilized in connection with the present invention.

In another alternative embodiment, the system provides patrons the ability to individually select when their tickets may be re-allocated. For example, one patron may prefer to only give up their ticket if they are late to the game by 15 minutes, while another patron may be willing to give up their ticket if they have not arrived 15 minutes before the game. In alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide incentives for the patron to have their ticket re-allocated prior to the game because it increases the stadiums chances of re-allocating/re-selling the ticket.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provide additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In an alternative embodiment, the system determines priority of re-allocation of seats based first upon patrons that have seats that may also be re-allocated. That is, the systems attempts to maximize the number of re-allocations by prioritizing the re-allocation based upon seats that may be re-allocated after already being re-allocated. For example, if front row seats in a stadium are available to be re-allocated, in this alternative embodiment, patrons that are in the next closest section for example on the field level would be upgraded first to those seats. Then, patrons with less preferred seats, for example, in the upper deck would be re-allocated to the seats that have now become available from the patrons that have been upgraded to the front row. Thus, using this alternative priority scheme, the present invention maximizes the re-allocation numbers. Of course, this priority algorithm may be combined with additional factors, for example, relating to subscriber/patron value. As described above, additional factors may be utilized in the algorithm to determine the subscriber or set of subscribers to offer the upgrade.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally rate the upgraded patron, for example, for appropriate behavior, wearing of excessively large hats, drunkenness behavior, and the like. These ratings may then be taken into account in the re-allocation algorithm for future upgrades to the patron.

In alternative embodiments, the patrons eligible for the upgrade may be notified using standard email communications over a wireless device, mobile telephone, and/or other standard communication means. For example, standard text-to-voice and/or voice-to-text communications may be used to contact the patron to evaluate whether an upgrade will be accepted and to actually accept the upgrade.

In another embodiment of the invention, as indicated above, when the patron registers for ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, via for example the Internet, the patron may enter payment information at that time. Accordingly, when the patron accepts the ticket re-allocation and/or purchase, the system can automatically charge the patron without the patron actually submitting/typing, for example, credit card information over a wireless device. The tickets of the present invention may be used to re-allocate patrons that are sitting in the stadium and/or patrons that have already purchased tickets in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats and/or may be in the vicinity of the stadium but were unable to get seats. Since the present invention re-allocates and/or sells tickets at any time prior to and/or after beginning of game time in accordance with one embodiment, the patron may be in the general vicinity of the stadium to take advantage of this embodiment of the invention or even at any location when being offered upgrades and/or seats well in advance of the game. For example, the present invention can upgrade or sell tickets to patrons well in advance of the game since it advantageously is permitted or has the authority to resell tickets either via ticket holders that do not show up during the game and/or, for example, season ticket holders that have authorized the stadium in advance to resell their tickets based on predetermined criteria, for example, when the season ticket holder notifies the stadium that they will not be present at next weeks game.

In one optional embodiment of the invention, the patron presents the usher with the confirmation number which the usher can enter into a wireless device using a local or private wireless network, or can simply use a walkie talkie or telephone to call the dispatcher to confirm the upgrade and/or new seats using the customer provided confirmation number. The dispatcher will have access to the system to enter the confirmation number to confirm the validity of the upgrade. Alternatively, a patron will retain their old ticket. The patron will give in the old ticket to the usher which is scanned or barcoded by the usher for immediate identification of new seats and used in place of, or in addition to, confirmation number.

Of course, the confirmation may optionally be made via customer name with an appropriate identification card or other information. Further, alternative methods may be used to verify that the confirmation number and/or ticket being used by the patron is valid. For example, the patron may be equipped with a printing device associated with the wireless device or download an actual ticket on line from home prior to the game for the new ticket or upgrade. Alternatively, the patron may be equipped with an identifier card, optionally including a bar code with a unique identifier relating to the patron's account information and profile that can be scanned for additional convenience. Alternatively, a wireless device may be used to securely store this type of identification and/or account information.

In at least one alternative embodiment of the invention, the patron may comprise optionally a corporate account that has a number of tickets, for example, season tickets. In this embodiment, the corporate account may have associated therewith a plurality of email addresses or other communication addresses to transmit the seat or upgrade offer to a number of potential patrons that may rotate their attendance at the games. In accordance with this optional embodiment, multiple emails can be stored for a single user/corporate account, and the system may transmit individual messages to all email addresses, or may only transmit messages to individual patrons for corporate account that individually advise the system that they are associated with a particular ticket/bar code for a particular game and will be/are present at a particular game.

In an alternative embodiment, patrons may enter the stadium and subsequently inform the system that they are present and interested in an upgrade via a kiosk where the patron can scan a bar code and enter their customer number to be eligible for upgrades during the game. The system is then able to transmit a message to the customer, assuming that the customer has pre-registered with the system with the appropriate contact information. Alternatively, or in addition to individual use of a kiosk(s), the customer sales office may have a kiosk or additional functionality to enter the customer name and/or customer account and scan in the bar coded ticket on the spot to register each patron as they enter the stadium or venue.

As described above, the patron may be transmitted, for example, emailed, the actual ticket or a confirmation number that they can use proceed to their seat and/or re-allocated seat. An optional graphical display via, for example, GPS, as discussed above may be used to guide the patron to the new location upon acceptance, as well as to help the patron decide whether to purchase the ticket and/or upgrade. For example, a graphical map of the stadium and/or textual description may be provided to the patron upon entry in the stadium to help the patron decide the quality of the upgrade and whether to accept when an offer is received by the patron at a predetermined time. The graphical map may comprise a small booklet with a map of the stadium showing seat locations, and optionally a game schedule.

The present invention has particular benefits for stadiums that are constantly sold out, but where patrons habitually do not show up. For example, many stadiums are sold out by season ticket holders that do not show up to the game on a regular basis. The present invention permits these tickets to be re-allocated in accordance with, for example, predetermined algorithms, and provides additional patrons a better experience. In addition, the present invention has the benefit of moving the patrons closer to the action/players, and therefore, the ability to support and/or motivate the players to play well. In additional alternative embodiments, the stadium may provide the original ticket holder a portion of the proceeds as a result of the ticket re-allocation, thereby providing additional incentive to the ticket holder to permit their ticket to be re-allocated (when this is a voluntary program in the stadium). The stadium may then keep a percentage, portion or service fee from the resale and/or re-allocation of the ticket. Of course, the above embodiment may further apply to yet another embodiment where the stadium does not offer the upgrade to patrons sitting in the stadium, but to patrons that, for example, may be in the geographic vicinity of the game but that may not currently have any tickets or that may be willing to purchase the tickets when availability is determined and to travel to the event.

In alternative embodiments, patrons in the vicinity of the upgraded and re-allocated patrons may optionally be eligible for a dating or matching service where patrons register and provide profile information to the system and/or through a third service provider dating service. Once the system knows that the patrons will be coming to the game and/or have actually checked in to the stadium, the system can then arrange for the two, four, etc. patrons to meet each other by allocating and/or re-allocating seats to the patrons together. Thus, based on profile information, customer request and availability, the system is able to upgrade or sell tickets to patrons to maximize their chances of meeting someone at the game. This optional feature provides significant potential enjoyment for the patrons participating in this dating or connection program. In accordance with this embodiment, one possible sequence of acceptance steps involves profile matching the two patrons (or groups of patrons) based on predetermined profile information; transmitting a first message to the first patron regarding availability of the second patron and requesting a conditional acceptance form the first patron; transmitting a second message to the second patron indicating that the first patron has conditionally accepted and request the second patron to accept; and when the second patron accepts before the first patron has rescinded the conditional acceptance, finalizing the upgrade and/or seat allocation for the first and second patrons. This embodiment of the invention is a complete reverse from typica