Live Nation Wields ‘The Boss’ in StubHub Ticket Battle|
Bloomberg (03/02/12) Golum, Rob
Live Nation will make one fifth of Bruce Springsteen New Jersey concert tickets available as paperless transactions in an effort to give fans access to good seats and lower ticket prices. As a result, 63 percent fewer tickets are available through ticket reseller StubHub. Paperless tickets require buyers to validate their identity with a credit card or mobile phone to gain access to the venue, and ticket resales have to go through Ticketmaster's TicketExchange. “Springsteen is an interesting test,” says Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino. “With paperless, the lack of availability at secondary sites is staggering.” Live Nation's acquisition of Ticketmaster, making it the world's largest ticket seller, was approved with certain conditions, including a 10-year ban on bundling ticket services with concert promotions. Nonetheless, Ticketmaster steered Springsteen fans to their resale site, TicketsNow, with highly inflated ticket prices, angering Springsteen and prompting U.S. regulators to intervene. The worldwide secondary ticket market is worth about $4 billion. "We don’t want to really be in the StubHub business,” Rapino says. “We want to be in the business of taking that $4 billion and putting it back on the right side of the column where the artist or the teams participate.” Paperless tickets will be used for upcoming John Mayer tours, with resale tickets only available through TicketExchange, which are to be capped at 20 percent above the original price. In addition, traditional tickets are being more tightly controlled, making some nontransferable and requiring patrons to pick them up the night of the show. “If this e-ticket tactic with Bruce Springsteen is successful," says analyst Rich Tullo. "The TicketsNow platform could drive interest from artists and sports teams looking to keep secondary prices lower while capturing more revenue for themselves.”
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