PEPPERELL -- Frank Greco became fed up of showing up to Fenway Park and having a pole obstruct his view or a tall fan in front of him.
Some might argue that the obstructed view seats are what make taking a game in at Fenway a great experience, but the Pepperell native, who has a mathematics degree in computer science from Northeastern University, thought that there has to be a way to show fans exactly what seat they are buying.
That's when his idea of www.preciseseating.com was born in 2006. The free site went live in 2009.
"I was looking for a side project to do to keep my math and Java programming skills fresh," Greco said. "It all started when I went to a game that my brother-in-law gave me these tickets to sit on the Green Monster. When we got to the game, I was sitting in section 10, row 3, seat 1, there was this enormous light tower that blocks a lot of your view. I thought to myself 'every time I come to this stadium it's a problem.'So, I used that experience I had as motivation to start the web site."
When in the process of building his website, Greco would arrive to the park as soon as the gates opened to document different sections -- he had an interaction with a family that solidified that he needed to follow through with developing the website.
"I remember this family coming early to sit in the grandstand, and you could tell by the look on the dad's face that he had brought his kids and he was excited," he said. "But, when he went to sit down, he looked depressed because he was behind a pole. That was just further inspiration for me. So many people are concerned with all of the obstructions that go on at Fenway Park, and I wanted to provide something for the fans, along with the skills that I have. It was a tremendous amount of fun putting this all together.
Greco has attended numerous tours of Fenway Park to detail nearly every viewing angle of over 36,000 seats from the lodge boxes to the bleachers, Greco has been there. Greco breaks down each section down to the type of seats by how old they are, what they're made of and what angle they are at so that one knows if they will have a problem seeing over the row or wall in front of them. The site uses both two-dimensional and three-dimensional renderings of the seat's distance from home plate, walkway advisory information and pictures from exact seat locations.
" I think I have really nailed it in terms of narrowing down the obstructed view seats from the feedback I have received," he said. "People wonder what makes my site different than that of the Red Sox, who have this really fancy 3D view right now.
"Because the seating chart is put out by the Red Sox, they just take the best view from each section, but they won't show you the poles or obstructions, where as mine is down to every last seat. I break it down to netting, screens and row-height increase. You can tell if the people in front of you are going to be a problem in front of you. If you are going to bring your kids, you don't want to sit in a row with a low-height increase. I break it down to if screen and netting visibility. All of those details matter when you are looking to buy tickets."
Greco did not want to have his website overrun with advertisements, so he sought out a partnership with reputable ticket brokers: Ace Ticket, TicketCity, Ticket Liquidator, StubHub, Ticket Network and Vivid Seats. For every ticket purchased through the links on his site, Greco receives a commission from the above listed ticketing sites. Greco has plans to extend his website to TD BankNorth Garden for Bruins and Celtics games, and he also has interest in including theater venue seating.
" I added something new to the site where fans can upload their photos from their specific seats," he said. "I am still working it out, but when it is uploaded a new tab will appear with a fan view from the seat. I have one up there now, but as people add their fan view, I will add it to the Facebook page. It's been a lot of work making this site, but it has been a lot of fun."