Amazon Reportedly Trying To Break Into U.S. Ticketing

Following the news that Amazon is making a major play in the grocery sector with its purchase of Whole Foods Market, the tech giant’s next big venture might be into the U.S. ticketing market.

Amazon is reportedly in talks with U.S. venue owners to offer ticketing, according to Reuters’ sources.

What could this mean for the ticketing business, which is dominated by Ticketmaster? The online event ticket sales industry is valued at $5 billion, with an annual growth of 4.8 percent since 2011, according to IBISWorld. Ticketmaster, owned by Live Nation Entertainment, brought in $1.6 billion in revenue from initial sales of tickets to 2016 events, not including an estimated $250 million in revenue from tickets sold on the secondary market, according to research firm BTIG (via Reuters).

Fans, of course, hope that more competition in the ticketing market would mean lower ticket fees. Venues owners and sports leagues are looking for more distributers to increase ticket sales.

With Ticketmaster having the exclusive on ticket sales at many U.S. venues, “would-be challengers have struggled to compete in the face of Ticketmaster’s strong relationships with the operators of major U.S. sports stadiums, arenas, concert halls and other venues,” according to Reuters.

TM has maintained a strong foothold because it is willing to pay venues to sell its tickets and to manage their box offices – something that competitors do not provide – and venues are loathe to remove that revenue stream. However, Amazon said it is ready to write sponsorship checks worth millions of dollars to the venues, according to one source, but is not willing to provide customer data.

Amazon is already active in Britain and has been selling seats to West End shows in London. But things are a bit different across the pond. Reuters notes “it is less common for venues in Britain to have an exclusive ticket provider.”  

The online retailer has considered teaming up with Ticketmaster to break into the U.S. market, but talks were held up regarding the control of customer data, according to one of Reuters’ sources.

Reuters reports that U.S. ticket sales could be part of Amazon’s ongoing game plan to get more people to sign up for the company’s Prime service. Amazon’s involvement in the market could also help merchandise sales – a win for the retailer and artists.

Amazon also reportedly reached out to at least one league about secondary market ticket sales.