TM Preps For Ticket Downturn

The concert business may have pulled a rabbit out of its hat last year, posting record sales despite the country’s looming recession, but executives say it’s only a matter of time before the worldwide economic downturn starts affecting tickets.

Ticketmaster Entertainment CEO Sean Moriarty recently told Bloomberg News that his company is expecting reduced prices for entertainment in 2009.

“You would expect there to be some adjustment of pricing for an economy where people have less money in their pocket,” Moriarty said.

But it isn’t just the economy that could be driving down ticket prices for TM this year. After losing Live Nation and SMG as clients and gaining LN as a competitor, Ticketmaster took large steps to retool its strategy and assure investors the sky wasn’t falling.

To that end, TM has been diversifying, purchasing ticket resale site TicketsNow and a large stake in Front Line Management last year.

“We’ve substantially replaced the revenue that Live Nation represented to our business, and the challenge for us is driving comparable profitability for that new revenue,” Moriarty said.

While taking more interest in the artists who actually sell TM’s tickets couldn’t hurt, it’s unclear at this point what the recession will mean for the often overinflated secondary ticket market.

Ticket broker Lorenzo Scirocco, who runs, thinks high-priced tickets will be most affected by the downturn.

“The $300 ticket is hard to sell, but the $100 [ticket] there’s more demand for,” he told the New Jersey Star-Ledger. “Do more volume on the lower prices, and less in the high-end.”

Broadway producer Ken Davenport noted that the best shows will continue to do well in tough times but it requires a little more thought on the part of ticket sellers to remain competitive.

“People are paring back,” Davenport told the paper. “These economic downturns make us smarter because we have to figure out how to make money with fewer opportunities.”