Paciolan to Buy TicketsWest, WestCoast Ent.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
by Linda Deckard | Venues Today
Move further expands Learfield’s reach into all aspects of live entertainment
Further expanding its reach into performing arts and non-university venues, Paciolan has agreed to acquire the assets of TicketsWest and WestCoast Entertainment.
TicketsWest, founded in 1987 in Spokane, Wash., by Jack Lucas with the backing of current owner Red Lion Hotels Corp., has over 200 clients. The full service ticketing and marketing company employs about 90 staffers in Spokane and in branch offices in Portland, Ore. and Denver.
Kim Damron, president and COO of Paciolan, Irvine, Calif., which was purchased by Learfield this year, said the acquisition further emphasizes Learfield’s commitment to live entertainment, citing several Learfield holdings in the performing arts, including digital marketing firm Mogo Interactive, branding agency SME, and website provider SIDEARM Sports.
Paciolan sells over 120 million tickets a year and serves over 500 venues. In 2010, Paciolan absorbed New Era Tickets with offices in Exton, Pa., when it was part of Comcast Spectacor. New Era was rebranded Paciolan, but plans are different with TicketsWest, with announcement of the intention to keep the brand and the staff intact, Damron said.
Dusty Kurtz, who was named president of TicketsWest March 1 (coincidently at the same time Damron was named president of Paciolan) will retain that role. Lucas will continue to lead WestCoast Entertainment, which is also part of the acquisition.
WestCoast Entertainment promotes and produces from 50 to 100 shows a year, primarily in the Northwest but with plans to broaden that scope. While the promotion firm cut its teeth on Broadway, WestCoast Entertainment has branched into all sorts of one-offs, including sports once in awhile. “We did music festivals before music festivals were cool,” he added.
Lucas sees promotion opportunities from “Florida to Wyoming and all parts in between. I now have a chance to devote all of my time into building WestCoast Entertainment into a national brand.”
Kurtz also sees growth opportunities for TicketsWest, which will continue to offer a wide variety of services including call center support, ticket distribution services, digital marketing and private label website support. The company will also maintain an extensive distribution and retail outlet network with nearly 300 locations. Kurtz said that for some events and some clients, there is still considerable need for walk-up and retail sales, though the internet is the primary source for tickets.
Paciolan will now be able to offer some of those additional services to clients who desire it, Damron said.
TicketsWest has been powered by Paciolan for 10 years. The two companies have similar cultures and both parties expressed delight with the new marriage. Both companies are passionate about serving their customers, Damron added.
In 2015, also while owned by Comcast Spectacor and known as Spectra Ticketing & Fan Engagement, Paciolan acquired Ballena Technologies, once again leaving the name and staff in place.
Asked if the purchase of TicketsWest and WestCoast Entertainment, and given the current acquisition frenzy in ticketing, was the beginning of a rollup for Learfield, Damron demurred, saying it was more about being a natural fit.
“There is a lot going on in the ticketing industry,” Damron acknowledged, “but this just made so much sense because we have been such longterm partners.”
And it’s an opportunity for Learfield to double down on its book of business in the arts, added Craig Ricks, Paciolan SVP of marketing.
Lucas sees a lot of opportunity to grow West Coast Entertainment nationwide and appreciates the leverage Learfield and its subsidiaries will give that push. West Coast Entertainment is also partnered in Troika (www.troika.com), which produces Broadway shows.