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'All-in' pricing for Groupon, Live Nation deal

By Alfred Branch Jr.

While a lot of details of the deal remain unknown, the recently announced "GrouponLive" partnership deal between Groupon and Live Nation will feature an "all-in" ticket pricing model, according to Groupon.

Ticketmaster, Live Nation's ticketing division, has been using all-in pricing for some shows and tours dating back to 2008 with concerts by The Eagles. The company has made the practice a growing staple of its ticketing operation ever since.

Essentially, all-in pricing gives a consumer a single price for a ticket because all fees, except delivery charges, are included. So, a $50 ticket is a $50 ticket, not a $50 ticket with an additional $8 in fees tacked on, for example.

"Consumers will enjoy the Groupon experience they've come to know; whatever the price advertised is what you'll be charged. So, $40 tickets would be $40," Julie Mossler, Groupon spokesperson, told TheStreet.com. "If you click Buy, nothing else is added to the advertised purchase price. So, on GrouponLive, you'd click Buy on a $40 ticket and no other fees would be added."

Ticketmaster's fees, called "service" or "convenience" fees, among others, are generally added on charges the company either shares with, or gives to, a venue, team or promoter. They are among the chief complaints by consumers who buy tickets from the company, and while the price of the fees varies, they can add considerably more than 10 percent to the cost of a ticket.

Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard this week wrote on his Twitter page about this deal and some of the other initiatives the company is undertaking. "Between our Walmart and Groupon partnerships, TM now gives clients unparalleled access to the value conscious casual fan. This year: dynamic pricing, GrouponLive, Walmart, no print fees on 1/3rd of tix, lower fees at LN – working to make live more affordable."

The Groupon deal calls for Ticketmaster to provide discount ticket deals through GrouponLive.com, where the site's members will receive daily emails of deals on tickets to local events in their area.

Though the companies have not said which events will be discounted, industry insiders believe Ticketmaster will use the initiative to try to move hard-to-sell inventory with seats in higher, less expensive sections. Tickets for premium seats to see top acts will likely not be among those being offered.

"Deals not for everyone [sic]," Hubbard tweeted. "HAS to be done right to not devalue experience. Many sites reckless [sic]. This is safe/best option to test and learn."

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