Ticketmaster To Handle SMG Europe’s UK Venues By End Of Summer

SMG Europe’s UK portfolio of venues, which includes Manchester Arena, first direct Arena Leeds and the upcoming new venue in Hull, is going to be ticketed by Ticketmaster by the end of this summer.

first direct Arena Leeds
– first direct Arena Leeds
Another venue in Ticketmaster’s portfolio

The first venue to transfer over to Ticketmaster is the York Barbican in May, the others will follow. Besides opening the new 3,500-capacity venue in Hull later this year, SMG Europe has also agreed to a 10-year deal with Aberdeen City Council to manage, operate and program the new 12,500-capacity Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Center (AECC), which is to open in 2019.

“As the largest operator of sports and entertainment venues in the UK and Europe, SMG Europe requires the best in ticketing services,” said John Sharkey, senior vice president of SMG Europe. He described Ticketmaster’s technology solutions as “world class” and “industry-leading,” and its marketing reach, distribution channels and customer insight “unrivaled.”

Ticketmaster UK MD Andrew Parsons said he was “thrilled to welcome SMG back on board.” Both companies used to have an agreement in place, but for the past five years, SMG had been partnering with CTS Eventim in the UK.

Added Parsons: “SMG operates some of the best venues in the world. By partnering with Ticketmaster, they will gain access to our industry-leading products to sell more tickets more effectively. From Paperless, to restrict resale, to easy-to-use digital ticketing we will be working closely with SMG to ensure the best possible experience for fans when attending events.”

A UK real estate investment group recently bought Manchester Arena from real estate firm Mansford, which had owned the arena since 2013. The deal did not affect SMG Europe’s operation of the arena, which remains intact.

SMG manages venues around the world ranging from 600-capacity clubs to 80,000-capacity stadiums, supported by a strong food and beverage business. Pollstar recently interviewed Sharkey about the business.