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StubHub plots move into primary ticketing

By | Published on Tuesday 9 February 2016


Perhaps jealous of the fun Ticketmaster has navigating the politics of being both a primary and secondary ticket seller, secondary ticketing site StubHub is moving into primary ticketing. Albeit one step at a time.

The eBay-owned company has announced details of a new super-duper ticketing platform that it has developed which will “offer partners a re-imagined rightsholder branded experience, full market visibility, data ownership and the listing of primary and secondary ticket inventory in a single marketplace”.

Don’t worry, you only need to pay attention to that last bit, so no need to work out what the hell a “re-imagined rightsholder branded experience” might be.

The revamp means that StubHub has plans to start selling its technology to venues and promoters with tickets to shift, as well as the touts and resellers who would usually make use of its platform. Which is basically StubHub entering the primary ticketing space. And its launch client is basketball team the Philadelphia 76ers.

Under the new system, primary and secondary tickets would sit side-by-side, which is interesting, because while Ticketmaster operates in both sides of the ticketing market, it has separate brands and sites for its primary tickets business and its resale service.

Indeed, the ticketing major has got in trouble in the past for too heavily promoting its secondary sites via its primary sites, with fears consumers won’t be able to work out whether they are buying a touted ticket, or not. So while StubHub is spinning having primary and secondary tickets side-by-side as something that enhances the consumer experience, some might argue it will confuse punters into unknowlingly buying resold tickets that [a] are more expensive and [b] could be cancelled by the promoter.

Nevertheless, StubHub President is excited about the development. Scott Cutler told reporters: “For over fifteen years, StubHub has been a marketplace that connected buyers and sellers of tickets to live events on the secondary market, but now we are in a position to provide the industry a true end-to-end ticketing solution that combines our experience in e-commerce and secondary ticketing with a set of features that will help our partners sell more tickets”.

He added: “This new platform signifies the evolution of our company and a revolution in the industry. And we could not be more excited that the Philadelphia 76ers are joining us as our inaugural partner”.

It will be interesting to see how StubHub fairs in trying to sign up primary ticketing partners, though it has enjoyed ‘official resale site’ status with some venues and promoters in the past, so has existing relationships to build on.

Though the primary ticketing domain already has plenty of start-ups trying to enter the market – not to mention Amazon dabbling in the space – most offering a better user-experience and better data than the big legacy players, though for many promoters what really matters when choosing a ticketing partner is who can advance the cash the quickest, which gives those with big pockets a real advantage.