Citi Partners With U2 On First Verified Fan Card Presale

Bono of U2
AP Photo / Thibault Camus
– Bono of U2
AccorHotels Arena, Paris, France

Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan is here to stay, and not only is touring powerhouse U2 using the service for its upcoming “eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE” tour, but it is also premiering the first ever Citi Verified Fan presale.

Citi and Ticketmaster have joined forces so that Citi card-holders will get a special registration period and a first crack at tickets Nov. 16. This is the first time U2 has had a brand-sponsored presale and the first time a financial services company has gotten an exclusive presale with the Verified Fan system, Jennifer Breithaupt, Citi’s Global Consumer Chief Marketing Officer told Pollstar.

“I know the industry – artists, managers, venues, ticketing partners, promoters – everybody has been fighting for the fans together and trying to think of new ways to get tickets to fans,” Breithaupt said. “So having Verified Fan really being able to identify who real people are is a tremendous step for us and fans alike, so we are really excited for us to be partnering on this initiative with a band like U2.”

Verified Fan was developed by Ticketmaster to verify that tickets are going to real, human fans and not bots or scalpers. The system typically opens a registration period and then provides selected fans with allotments based on things like verification of their identity, date of registration and, in some cases, merchandise purchases or promotion of the tour on social media.

U2 chose not to incentivize purchasing of merchandise, Breithaupt pointed out, and emphasized that the group’s primary concern was just to get the tickets to real fans. The group was atop Pollstar’s Global Concert Pulse chart this week and is a frontrunner for Tour Of The Year.

While having a Citi card does not guarantee you getting a ticket during the presale, it does get you in a smaller pool, meaning your odds for selection are much greater, Breithaupt said. Citi cardholders are also able to participate in the general onsale if they forget about the presale or are not selected.

Ticketmaster EVP and Head of Music David Marcus told Pollstar earlier in the year that Verified Fan has moved 1 million tickets and had been used on more than 50 tours. Since then it has been implemented for Taylor Swift’s onsale and Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show.

Press for the tour touts that the system has “reduce[d] the opportunity for resale on secondary markets by over 90 percent.”

Citi has been involved in presales since it launched a partnership with Live Nation, the U2 tour producer, 10 years ago Breithaupt said.

“We saw the success and energy coming from our customers who are also music fans … so we really doubled down since then on music as a really great way for us to connect with consumers around the world. It is the universal language. It really allows us to create successful moments and memories for customers who are fans,” she said. “We do over 12,000 events a year. Last year we worked with 1,500 artists across every genre of music.”

Citi has also done work with virtual reality experiences and recently launched a music-themed brand campaign, featuring artists like Pixies, Gene Kelly, and Van Morrison, leaning on “the emotive power of music,” Breithaupt said.

Registration for the presale is open now.