Ticketmaster, already the dominant ticketing vendor in the sports and entertainment space, has plenty of room to grow its business, says Jared Smith, company president.
“We’re in 29 countries today, but most of that concentration is in the UK and Australia,” Smith says. “We’re in Mexico, and are the dominant player there, but in South America, we don’t have any presence at all. We’ve not in China, Japan or Southeast Asia for the most part, and those are all burgeoning markets for us.”
In the Middle East, Ticketmaster recently signed a ticketing deal with the new Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, which is run by AEG Ogden. In many cases, Ticketmaster will “follow the footprint” of concert promoter Live Nation, its sister company, to expand internationally.
“Live Nation concerts is probably in 45 (international) markets now and closing that gap alone will lead to substantial growth,” Smith said. “They’re now promoting shows in many of those markets even though we’re not doing the ticketing and that’s been a good way for us to open a presence. Live Nation goes in and then we eventually bring ticketing with it. It’s a great opportunity for us.”
For Ticketmaster, though, the secondary market – apart from its own resale platform – remains a sticking point. “We still have this weird phenomenon in our business with $8 billion in arbitrage in the secondary market … and we fundamentally believe that money should go back to the people who are taking the risk and who have direct connection with their fans,” Smith said.
For Ticketmaster, data analytics is a key piece for growth. Ticketmaster/Live Nation, for example, are partners with Elevate Sports Ventures, an agency that sells premium seats for pro and college teams, and most recently the return of the XFL. Ticketmaster will tap into its database to help develop a profile of potential season-ticket holders and set ticket prices in tandem with XFL officials. (Oak View Group, parent company of Pollstar, is a partner in Elevate.)
“There’s a ton of opportunity out there with new buildings and renovations, and one of the trends we’re seeing is people trying to figure out how to generate revenue for these products in different ways,” Smith said.
Shows that changed your life:
My brother took me to a Rush concert (in the early 1990s). It was the first or second year (Taxslayer Center) opened. I took my 10-year-old daughter to Taylor Swift. It was just her and I and her eyes were so big. It was the Rose Bowl. There was nothing better. That’s the beauty of it, you can replicate that experience. It’s a completely different product that’s unique.
A month ago, I would’ve said Billie Eilish, but she’s kind of broken out at this point in a big way. Maybe King Princess or Lizzo. She’s going to be amazing and and take it a completely different level.
Ten years from the Great Slump, can it happen again?
Never say never. Nobody predicted it because nobody understood the underlying things that had been trickling into that for the 15 years prior. (Sports and entertainment) is not a requirement like food and water, but it does protect the industry a little bit. When times are tough, you still want to go to a baseball game or a concert. You may not go on vacation. Instead of spending $10,000 on that, going to a game for $200 becomes an alternative.