Officially sponsored scalping.

In 2008, the live event community went a little ballistic when ticketing giant Ticketmaster acquired its secondary market seller, TicketsNow, and tied the two sites together.  Can’t get tickets to a sold out event on TM?  Now they’ll direct you to TicketsNow, and they make money either way.

Of course, the other intention was to decrease the consumer’s dependency on other brokers by being able to satisfy all of their customer’s needs.  TM knew that customers were going and always will go to brokers, so by acquiring one, they stepped a little closer to every business’s goal . . . to never turn away a customer.

It’s a good strategy, but you can also see why a lot of folks would be POed, especially with the already high service fees, a difficult ticket-buying experience, etc.  (Check out this article about the settled lawsuit over “deceptive” fees.)  With the addition of TicketsNow, they’d be making money on above-face-value tickets (would more go to the artists?), and with merger of Ticketmaster and LiveNation, a lot of folks were concerned that when concerts produced/promoted by TM were getting close to selling out, they’d move the remaining ticketing assets over the TicketsNow and make them even more expensive.

Lots of tricky wickets in this one.

That’s why I was intrigued to see a new website promoted by the NFL called

The theory is again . . . a good one.  People are going to need to sell tickets.  People are going to want to buy tickets.  Like the old parenting trick, the NFL decided that they would rather have its buyers trading tickets in their own backyard . . . rather than someone else’s (meaning, another broker).

So they sanctioned and now promote a swapping site through their own domain.  But a quick view of that link above will show that it’s, of course, run by Ticketmaster/TicketsNow.

Interesting, right?

I like the approach.  If you know your customers are going to behave a certain way, why not figure out a way they can do so within your brand? I just hope (and assume) that the ball clubs are getting a share of that marked up upside on TicketsNow.

Because tickets are only valuable when there is something to be seen.

I’m not sure there will be a Broadway ticket exchange anytime soon, because we’ve got a number of other ticketing issues to tackle first.

But there will be . . . and should be . . . because there’s a reason why TicketsNow was one of the fastest growing companies in 2006 and was acquired by Ticketmaster for $265 million.

Whether we like it or not, this is an option our customers want.  And we can choose to give it to them, or just give it away.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.