With questions swirling around concerning the landscape of the secondary ticket market under the umbrella of Ticketmaster and its new division TicketsNow, more than 100 brokers met with representatives of the two companies today, May 13, at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas to clear the air.
Just after noon Pacific Standard time brokers mingled in the lobby outside of the hotel’s ballroom where the event was taking place. Following lunch, TicketsNow President and CEO Cheryl Rosner and Ticketmaster President and CEO Sean Moriarty were scheduled to address the crowd, but Moriarty had not yet arrived and only Rosner was spotted conversing with brokers. TicketNews made a request to attend the event but was denied because it was closed to EventInventory (EI) members only. EI is TicketsNow’s broker software and ticket inventory division.
Ticketmaster completed its acquisition of TicketsNow in February, but even before closing on the deal, several brokers had objected to the merger because they believed Ticketmaster would use TicketsNow to drive a lot of them out of business by manipulating prices and the availability of ticket inventory.
Some of those concerns would appear to bear some fruit when brokers discovered Radiohead fans were being directed to TicketsNow for tickets to the band’s upcoming tour, but those tickets had not been made available to the general public.
Gary Adler, lead counsel for the National Association of Ticket Brokers, said he was optimistic heading into the meeting. Adler wrote a letter last month on behalf of NATB members to Moriarty and Rosner requesting answers to ten questions about the two companies’ intentions as it related to the secondary ticket market.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to follow up on the questions our members have raised,” Adler said, adding that the two had not formally responded to the letter, but that was why they called the meeting. “The NATB and its members are in favor of transparency so hopefully this meeting will go a long way.”
Aric Bittker of AllShows.com and other brokers overheard in the lobby were more skeptical. “The question is whether they [Ticketmaster and TicketsNow] believe in the free market, or if they’re going to try to manipulate the primary and secondary markets. I’m not so sure what to believe, and I came here with some questions, but I figure I’d hear what they had to say before formulating a final opinion.”