StubHub To UK

eBay is introducing secondary ticketer StubHub to the UK, where it may face a tough fight to replicate its success.

It will face strong competition from established resellers such as Seatwave and Viagogo, whose managing director Eric Baker says the operation he co-founded may have some catching up to do.

Baker, who launched Viagogo in 2006 after selling StubHub to eBay for $310 million and then falling out with co-founder Jeff Fluhr, told Pollstar he respects the competition it will bring but doesn’t fear it.

He said he’s not surprised at the move because many fans don’t consider eBay to be a “safe and secure” site and he can see why it needed to “bring in reinforcements.”

“I’m American and one of the first things I had to do was to learn English,” he said, indicating that the UK market requires a different approach.

“Also, when we started StubHub we were the pioneers. This time it will be entering a market where the competition is already established and has relationships with major festivals and major acts.”

Viagogo has an agreement to resell tickets for festivals including Reading, Leeds and the Isle Of Wight and was also the official resale site for Madonna tickets.

“I think it demonstrates the power of the model,” Seatwave chief exec Joe Cohen told Financial Times. “We’ve taken the space and provided a lot of security and price discovery to consumers and it works.”

eBay already sells second-hand tickets on its UK auction site but has trailed the specialist players in terms of volume sold.

The UK will be StubHub’s first location outside North America but it appears geared to launch there before the end of the year. It’s reportedly backing up its online operation with High Street retail outlets.

eBay said: “From a UK perspective, our ambitions would be to provide the same kind of top-class customer service that has enabled us to be the leading secondary ticketing market in the US.”

Germany is eBay’s largest European market but it believes UK consumers are “much more comfortable” buying tickets online and its proportion of the population using Internet retailers is the highest in Europe.