Wembley Manager Joins Ticketmaster

Wembley Arena general manager Peter Tudor is leaving the venue to become senior director of group sales for Ticketmaster UK. The move comes at a time when opposition to the secondary market is in tatters.

During and after his time as chairman of the National Arenas Association (NAA), Tudor was one of the most enthusiastic and articulate critics of the government’s failure to outlaw touts. In six weeks he’ll be working for the world’s largest ticketing company, which has already embraced the secondary market via its deal with Get Me In.

At press time it wasn’t possible to get comment from Tudor, whose 10 years at Wembley saw him rise from sales manager of the conference centre to general manager of the arena. Live Nation has employed him since the company took over the venue’s management a couple of years ago.

The news of his move came as the industry waited for the U.K. government’s response to its Select Committee’s Report on Ticket Touting, although most of those who’ve lobbied hardest for legislation look to have accepted that the cause is lost.

The NAA, which Geoff Huckstep of Nottingham Ice Arena has chaired since Tudor stepped down in 2005, is insisting that legislating against the resale of tickets for more than face value is the best way forward.

Neither Huckstep nor Tudor attended the March 16 "MusicTank" discussion on secondary ticketing organised by London’s Westminster University but the NAA released a statement saying there’s no room for the secondary ticketing sector and it’s "steeped in fraud" and "organised crime."

Huckstep told Pollstar the venues are the last ones likely to ever see any benefit from the market, but they’re in the frontline when it comes to pacifying irate customers who haven’t had their tickets delivered.

"We can’t let them in and many of them believe proof of purchase – usually at many times face value – shows they have a ticket and therefore there must be a seat or a space in the venue for them, one which will remain empty if they’re not allowed in," Huckstep said. "We are the ones left to explain the situation and we’re the ones who have to turn them away."

Huckstep said there’s no need for new legislation. Instead, the existing legislation that prevents ticket resale for "crown jewel" events like the 2012 Olympic Games should be extended to cover all sporting events and concerts.

In January the CPA accepted that the fight for legislation had been lost, issuing a press statement quoting Rob Ballantine of SJM Concerts saying, "Welcome to the Wild West." Ballantine had spent three years arguing that the government must do something about touts.

He said the CPA doesn’t have "the time or resources (or willpower) to continue working with politicians" and therefore "we need to be realists."

Ballantine said the vast majority of promoters will continue to work tirelessly for the long-term benefits of the industry with the consumer always in mind, but it is abundantly clear that does not involve the government.

However much time and "willpower" Ballantine, Geoff Ellis from Scotland’s DF Concerts and others had put into the campaign, the issue might have been decided before the lobbying even began.

It’s not clear where the industry will go now, as bands, managers and promoters have a variety of ways of trying to settle in the "Wild West."

During the March 8 ticketing panel at ILMC, agent Carl Leighton-Pope described the gathering as consisting of a couple of hundred people with a couple of hundred different agendas.

The CPA has recognised the progress of Marc Marot and the Resale Rights Society, which aims to ensure artists and writers get a fair share of the secondary market, but hasn’t decided to fully throw its weight behind it.

During its March 7 meeting at ILMC, the CPA is believed to have discussed business models – including one submitted by Ticketmaster – for the setting up of a secondary site that would carry the promoters’ kite mark and ensure that a fair slice of the income is returned to the industry.

CPA chairman Stuart Littlewood confirms that his organisation is in ongoing talks with ticketing companies and various other industry bodies in a bid to "do as much as we possibly can" to help the industry find a self-regulatory solution.