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Viagogo/StubHub confirms streamlining of operations

By | Published on Monday 1 August 2022


The combined Viagogo and StubHub announced last week that it will be winding down its offices in San Francisco and Shanghai, which will result in the majority of the staff at those two bases being laid off.

Often controversial secondary ticketing company Viagogo announced it was buying its main rival StubHub off eBay back in 2019, with both ticket resale operations having been co-founded by the same man – Eric Baker – back in the day.

However, the merger took sometime to complete thanks to an investigation into the deal by the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority. And, as a result of that investigation, Viagogo was forced to sell off StubHub’s operations outside of North America.

That was a pretty big concession in order to get approval from the UK regulator, although Viagogo was mainly interested in it’s new acquisition’s operations in the US and Canada anyway, where the StubHub brand is much more established than the Viagogo brand.

The CMA investigation wasn’t the only challenge for Viagogo as 2020 got underway, of course, with the COVID pandemic creating unprecedented challenges for the entire ticketing sector, primary and secondary.

And there were further regulatory challenges too, the COVID-caused shutdown of live entertainment not stopping regulators and courts in multiple countries around the world from cracking down on the more controversial aspects of secondary ticketing, often specifically in relation to touting on the Viagogo platform.

Nevertheless, with the offloading of the StubHub international business approved by the CMA last September, and the live sector slowly swinging back into action this year, the wider Viagogo business is now hoping that ticket touting will return to pre-pandemic levels, and that it is even better positioned to profit from all that, in North America and globally. But first, there’s the need for some post-merger, post-pandemic down-sizing.

Confirming the office closures to the StubHub US workforce last week, Baker said in a memo: “After replicating StubHub’s model with Viagogo in Europe, the best decision I ever made was to buy back this company I created. Since the sale finalised in February of 2020, we have worked tirelessly – navigating the COVID pandemic and jumping over regulatory hurdles – so that we could finally integrate the two businesses”.

“Given the recent migration to one tech stack”, he went on, “StubHub today has the technology and brand, coupled with the global scale and operational excellence, to transform the live events industry”.

But first, the cutbacks. “Today, we are focusing on designing our organisation for the future we will create together”, his memo continued.

“To that end, we have made the decision to wind down our Shanghai and San Francisco offices by the end of the year, thereby centring our corporate hubs in Los Angeles and New York. This will allow us to be more focused and more nimble going forward”.

The wider Viagogo/StubHub business will still have its other bases in Switzerland, Ireland and Taiwan.