CTS Takes Another Piece

The battle for ticketing supremacy in Europe is looking more like a game of chess between Ticketmaster and CTS as the latter has announced it’s taken another piece by mopping up the Hamburg-based Sportfive Tixx.

The purchase of the £3.5 million turnover company, which specialises in selling tickets for German soccer clubs including Hertha Berlin, HSV Hamburg, BoRussia Dortmund and FC Cologne, comes a month after Ticketmaster occupied another square of the board by acquiring the same city’s Kartenhaus.

The battle lines as they’re drawn at the moment show Ticketmaster with a U.K. stronghold.

It also has a Scandinavian market dominance that was tied up when European business development VP Paul Lafontaine added the purchase of local ticketing giants Lippupalvelu (Finland) and BiljettDirekt Ticnet (Sweden) to the businesses it already had in Denmark and Norway. It also has Holland’s Ticket Service Nederland.

CTS currently dominates the German market, with its 2004 online business showing a 146 percent increase in earnings from euro 3.7 million to euro 9.2 million. It also has something of a stranglehold on the territory between Austria and the Adriatic, with satellite companies dotted around what was once Yugoslavia.

The acquisition of Sportfive Tixx, which is selling 8 million tickets year, is a neat fit with CTS’ flagship project as exclusive supplier for next year’s World Cup soccer tournament. That’s expected to bring in more than 3 million ticket sales and a box office gross of around euro 250 million.

Other ticket agencies rumoured to be acquisition targets include the Swiss-based Ticket Corner, Sherpa and TTS in Belgium and the Czech Republic’s Ticketpro.

— John Gammon