TM Goes To China

Ticketmaster will be expanding into China beginning with the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Beijing Gehua Ticketmaster Ticketing – a joint venture between TM and Beijing CSI Ticketing Development – submitted its winning bid to the Beijing Organizing Committee almost exactly a year ago.

Unlike the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, where TM basically folded up its operations after closing ceremonies, the company plans to build at least 800 outlets, including at the Bank of China.

“The timing was such that we weren’t ready to go into China until now,” TM founder Albert Leffler told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s going to take from within China to grow that, but we’ll be there since we’ll be the easiest way for people to get tickets and to take advantage of our marketing.”

Less than 5 percent of the Chinese population have credit cards, according to the WSJ, but TM envisions an infrastructure that will provide ticketing services to live events, theatre shows and sporting events.

The 2008 Games are expected to be held in 31 venues, including 12 stadiums that are under construction. Gehua Ticketmaster already has 100 machines in place, capable of producing 125,000 tickets per hour, WSJ said. Call centers and a Web site are also part of the strategy.

The joint venture will be managed by TM veteran Curt Logan, who most recently held the title of VP of operations and product support. Financial terms of the joint venture were not disclosed.