Ticketmaster and Their Change of Heart Regarding the Secondary Market

There was a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (article and video, $ site) about Ticketmaster and what they are doing about their rivals selling tickets in the secondary/brokerage market.

The crux is that Ticketmaster is finally getting competition for services, but I don’t think that the article hit the nail on the head. I have some experience in this area, and I don’ think that this is the real issue…. Ticketmaster isn’t going to lose a whole lot of business to folks reselling tickets. This has been an issue for many years and the only difference between today’s digital age and the past is that the digital age has done a lot to legitimize the business. So the secondary market isn’t as shady as it was…

Who cares?!? Re-sales of season tickets and the secondary is small compared to the number of tickets available. Ticketmaster is even rolling out these services (the article even comments on this). Clients don’t want to have to deal with multiple inventories, so if you are a Ticketmaster client, there is very little need for StubHub (and their use would be a violation of the Ticketmaster contract, from what I know), and you’ll most likely use the same services offered by Ticketmaster.

So what is Ticketmaster’s greatest threat? In my opinion it’s the internet itself. In years past, what made the ticketing industry is that they aggregated a fractured market and provided distribution…. Customers (the public) could go and get tickets at outlets/phones/internet (i.e. tons of “touch points”) and clients got a service and a potential revenue center (money sharing of service charges, etc.). But that aggregation and access is now done by the internet itself. And with today’s branding and marketing push, why would a company let another take that away from them?

Staples paid millions of dollars for the naming rights of The Staples Center in Los Angeles, and yet all the ads for shows say, “Get your tickets at Ticketmaster”. With the advent of the internet, where even Ticketmaster is selling 60-70% of their tickets online, why isn’t the tag line, “Get your tickets at StaplesCenter.com“?

So what is Ticketmaster’s biggest threat… branding!