TM Buys Paciolan

If the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice sign off on it, Ticketmaster will acquire Paciolan – TM’s nearest rival for ticketing services outside of Major League Baseball’s

The announcement came quietly on July 2nd as the U.S. industry was closing for Independence Day. TM has many strong supporters in the concert business but there have also been those who have used Paciolan-based ticketing services to operate independently of Ticketmaster.

Global Spectrum and the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas are two of the more visible clients of Paciolan. The Frank Erwin Center, Dodge Arena, Everett Events Center, Iowa Events Center and Rose Quarter are just a few of the hundreds of others.

Ticketmaster President Sean Moriarty told Pollstar the companies will work together to ensure consistency and continued support for Paciolan clients.

"Each company brings something a little different to the table, which will enhance offerings in both directions and always reinforce what is core to both of us: serving our clients and consumers in the best way possible every day," Moriarty said.

"While of course changes will come over time given the highly dynamic nature of our industry, we expect that Paciolan clients will continue to be serviced with the same solutions they are accustomed to using today."

Moriarty stressed that he could not go into details considering the purchase is still under review by the government.

One Paciolan client – and investor – is echoing Moriarty’s positive sentiments. Comcast-Spectacor and its facility management sector Global Spectrum purchased Paciolan-based ticketing system New Era Tickets in 2003. The system is known as ComcastTix at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia and venues in Portland, Ore., and Fort Collins, Colo.

At the time of the crossover and an investment in the millions of dollars, company executives touted their Paciolan-based service as a direct competitor to Ticketmaster but, following last week’s announcement, Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko was on board.

"We firmly believe that Ticketmaster’s exciting announcement will only result in superior products and performance in the future," Luukko said in a statement. "New Era Tickets will be able to provide our clients and customers with the best of what Paciolan and Ticketmaster each offer today – total control of data and fees, and access to the latest ticketing technology."

Score one for Ticketmaster.

But what about some of Paciolan’s other clients – the ones who left Ticketmaster and found they fared better with their own ticketing models?

Daren Libonati, director of Thomas & Mack Center and Sam Boyd Stadium, has been an outspoken supporter of independent systems. Following the announcement, he said the purchase would pay a complement to what he and partners Jason Finfrock and Michael See created with their Paciolan-based UNLVtickets six years ago.

"In the end, UNLVtickets created a regional ticketing model that was the furthest thing from the typical third-party Ticketmaster model at the time, where we tripled our annual earnings," Libonati told Pollstar.

Ticketmaster has been a leader in the industry since the demise of Ticketron, but Paciolan has offered an alternative. Libonati speculated on the two different directions this purchase could take because it could either act as "an insurance certificate to prevent or be part of a ticketing future that is uniquely different from the third-party model offered today."

Things may continue to be business as usual following the closure of the acquisition, but Libonati explained that his company will continue to search for the best software opportunities in the future to meet its expectations in the changing market.

"Third party programs are no different than banks – they invest in your business and collect a return from your customer through fees," he said. "An in-house model like UNLVtickets allows us as operators to control every aspect of our revenue sharing business, and our marketing and promotional interests with all end users."