Ticketmaster Rolls Out TM+

Ticketmaster is beta-testing its vaunted new TM+ system with the start of the NFL season and for select concerts by artists including Jay ZBlack Sabbath, and Depeche Mode.

Photo: AP Photo / Ticketmaster
Football fans are among the first to test drive Ticketmaster’s new TM+ platform, which shows ticketbuyers primary and secondary ticket availability on the same seat map. This screen shot for a Sept. 22 NFL game shows blue dots representing primary ti

Fans can now look for the “TM+” icon on ticket purchase pages and buy and sell their own tickets in addition to being able to see not only which seats are for sale, but which are for resale – placing primary and secondary market tickets on one handy seat map.

The beta rollout began quietly in August. More than two dozen professional sports teams have signed up, including many in the NFL. With the pro football season having just begun, millions of football fans could start using the system soon. So far, about 300 events have used TM+. Fans can compare prices on available seats much more easily, since there’s no need for a ticketbuyer to access a separate website to search for tickets being resold.

Users can access TM+ via computer or mobile and, since all ticket transfers are electronic, there’s no fuss with paper ticket mailings.

Parent company Live Nation, along with Ticketmaster, hopes the new system will help it capture a larger share of the resale ticket market, which is estimated to be worth more than $4 billion in annual revenue in North America.

The figure includes the resale ticket price and associated fees, which are estimated at about $1 billion a year.

And by offering an improved resale system, Ticketmaster can collect a fee on every sale – money that, in the past, was left on the table for competitors like StubHub.

The fee is about 20 percent – half from the buyer and half from the seller. In addition, sports teams also share in the fees, unlike for third-party resellers such as StubHub, where they make nothing.

Putting both primary and secondary tickets on the same seat map help sell more primary tickets, the company believes. If a fan seeking a front section seat finds an original ticket availability in reasonable proximity to a ticket being resold at a higher rate, the fan would be expected to scoop up that original ticket. It could also keep potential ticketbuyers on the Ticketmaster website, not just to buy tickets but other e-commerce goodies – instead of immediately jumping to StubHub or another resale site.

TM+ is expected to help boost the company’s share of the resale market from about 10 percent to about 30 percent in the next few years, says John Tinker, an analyst with research firm Maxim Group.

That would result in about $300 million in revenue and about $60 million in profit each year, allowing it to catch up to market leader StubHub, a unit of eBay.

“StubHub has done a great job in the space and Ticketmaster is finally stepping it up,” he said.

Chris Tsakalakis, president of StubHub, dismissed Ticketmaster’s new system, noting that TM has been selling resale tickets since 2002, most recently with TicketsNow.

“StubHub, with superior customer service and more than triple Ticketmaster’s secondary ticket sales, remains the market leader, and we intend to keep it that way,” he said.