Ticketmaster Gets In

Ticketmaster has moved into the U.K.’s secondary market by buying ticket reseller Get Me In for a so far undisclosed amount.

Ticketmaster U.K. managing director Chris Edmonds confirmed the deal had been agreed upon for some time but both sides held off signing until the publication of the U.K. government’s All Party Select Committee’s investigation into the secondary market.

The select committee’s report, which was published January 10, suggested the industry should find its own "middle way" in which the live entertainment industry works with the resale sector to provide added consumer protection for the ticket buyer.

In the unlikely event that the committee had recommended the legislation against touts that various organisations including the Concert Promoters’ Association and the National Arenas’ Association have been lobbying for, finalizing the deal earlier could have left Ticketmaster with a much-overvalued asset.

"I’ve been involved in the campaign against the secondary market for as long as it’s been going on, but I couldn’t see the government legislating against touts because I feel the genie’s out of the bottle and it’s too late to control it through the law," Edmonds told Pollstar. "I decided our best answer is a market-based solution that guarantees every transaction by vetting the sellers, managing shipment of tickets, and withholding payment to sellers until a buyer has safely received tickets."

The acquisition marks the start of Ticketmaster’s European ticket resale business, as Get Me In is one of the continent’s leading independent sites for music, sport, theatre and other live entertainment tickets.

The deal comes a month after the company agreed to pay US$265 million for TicketsNow Inc., the second-largest resale site in the U.S.

"This is a significant development of Ticketmaster’s services to our clients and consumers in the U.K., and it is the first step in our commitment to deliver secure exchange and resale services across Europe," said Tommy Higgins, Ticketmaster executive vice president for Europe.

Edmonds, who accepts the company may face some criticism from those who feel Ticketmaster is trying to dominate the secondary market in the same way it’s dominated the primary market, believes the deal will help provide clients and fans with the highest levels of choice, protection and service and to keep the value of a ticket as much as possible where it belongs.

Ticketmaster will create an integrated platform on which consumers will be able to simultaneously review and compare ticket availability and pricing in the primary and resale categories, the company said in a statement.

It will build on its existing TicketExchange to offer ticket validation and electronic ticket delivery to fans purchasing in the exchange and resale marketplace.

The company says it will also work closely with its venue, promoter and other clients to look for innovative ways of allowing all parties involved in bringing live entertainment to an audience to share in the economic value of the exchange and resale market.

Launched in September 2003 by James Gray, Paul Montagne and Don Hughes and based in London, Get Me In has served more than 50,000 customers. It will continue to operate from its London location and Andrew Blachman, a former consultant to StubHub, will stay on as general manager with Gray and Montagne continuing as directors.