Approximately 15-17 million people are searching the Ticketmaster website for tickets each month, and more often than not, people looking for tickets to popular...

Approximately 15-17 million people are searching the Ticketmaster website for tickets each month, and more often than not, people looking for tickets to popular and highly anticipated events are disappointed to find that tickets for their chosen event are no longer available through the company, according to Ticketmaster CEO Sean Moriarty. But, those tickets are usually available on the secondary market, and for Moriarty and Ticketmaster, this situation presents an opportunity for profit and is the reason behind Ticketmaster’s recent acquisition of TicketsNow. Moriarty offered his perspective to ticket brokers recently during a meeting in Las Vegas. In Part Three of a series on that meeting, based on a recording of the event obtained by TicketNews, Moriarty talks about his rosy view of the future for the secondary ticket industry.

“We want to work on a world where ‘never sold out’ is truly something that means something to a consumer,” he said.

One of the meeting’s key points was Ticketmaster’s commitment to the secondary market, which Moriarty said began when Ticketmaster built its first resale platform in 2002. The company’s commitment is due in large part to the huge financial growth opportunities that exist in the secondary market, and Moriarty offered up a series of statistics along these lines.

Despite the rapid growth of the secondary ticket market in recent years, there is still a large and untapped pool of potential customers. Moriarty noted that “fourteen percent of people have participated [in the market] in terms of buying.” This means that 86 percent of potential resale ticket buyers have not yet purchased a ticket on the secondary market. This statistic represents a huge sales opportunity. Moriarty said that TicketsNow, with its strong point-of-sale and distribution platform, offered the best possible opportunity to reach that 86 percent, and thus get more tickets to the buying public. “It’s our job to make the platform and the distribution work for you,” he told ticket brokers, “and to make the TicketsNow platform to be the best possible platform because you guys will choose, and we understand that.”

Less than 20 percent of season ticket holders are selling their tickets in the resale market, he said, which, again, offers a staggering possibility for financial growth. “An amazing statistic when you think about it,” he said. “Eighty percent of people with the potential to sell aren’t yet selling to a single game.”

Moriarty’s final point concerned inventory. Currently, 50 percent of Ticketmaster’s inventory goes unsold, which Moriarty attributes to a system that asks customers to pay hundreds of dollars for events 3-6 months in advance, without offering an effective return policy. Under these circumstances, “it’s no surprise to me that half the inventory goes unsold,” he said. But as technological advances create greater buying and selling opportunities for customers, the industry could be moving into a period in which neither the ticket provider nor the ticket buyer goes unsatisfied. As Moriarty put it, “We are moving into a world where every buyer is going to go and have the option to resell the ticket and place it in a market where they can recoup their investment.”

Ultimately, however, changes in the ticketing industry spurred by the resale market are not limited to business models. As Moriarty pointed out, the secondary market has brought to the forefront larger questions of ownership and value. The resale market has forced the industry to question the value of tickets and who owns the ticket, as the lines between buyer, seller, and reseller are blurred. In this way, the resale market has become what Moriarty called “the single most disruptive and challenging thing in our business . . . because it fundamentally changed everything.” Yet despite acknowledging the prickly issues inherent in the resale market, Moriarty seems focused on turning this uncertainty into a profit center, and his presentation at the Las Vegas conference points to the undeniable value inherent in the resale market.

Read more articles in this series.

June 26, 2008:  The fight for legislation
June 24, 2008:  How safe is broker data
June 17, 2008:  CEO admits artists are reselling their own tickets
June 12, 2008:  A bright future for ticket brokers

AddThis Story to Your Favorite Social Bookmarking Site!