Seeking to reassure investors following its loss of a major contract in Germany to rival CTS Eventim, Ticketmaster has gone on a public relations blitz to talk up its push into the Chinese ticket market.
Ticketmaster’s stock, which trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol TKTM, closed at an even $24 today, August 27, down more than 3 percent, or 77 cents, from Tuesday’s closing price. The drop came after news circulated that CTS had landed a lucrative contract with AEG to provide ticketing operations in the burgeoning German market where AEG is set to open a state-of-the-art venue in Berlin called O2 World.
AEG selected CTS, which is strong in Germany and has a sophisticated platform that features a robust mobile ticketing operation, over Ticketmaster even though AEG and Ticketmaster work together in the U.S. CTS was selected by Live Nation to provide the ticketing operation for Live Nation’s new ticketing business, which the company is launching after its deal with Ticketmaster expires at the end of the year.
Ticketmaster recently identified international markets as a major growth engine for the company going forward, so the loss of the German market is a blow, but Ticketmaster is hoping to build on its success with the Beijing Olympics, the most-watched and most-attended Olympics in history, to spearhead its expansion in China.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Ticketmaster sold 6.8 million tickets worldwide to the Beijing Games, a record. While the Olympics ended well for the company, there were problems initially with servers crashing under the weight of the sheer volume of ticket sales.
“This was the most complex, most high-profile event,” Sean Moriarty, president and CEO of Ticketmaster, told the Wall Street Journal, adding that the company was pleased with how the ticketing turned out. “We have been presented with some extraordinary challenges.”
In the spring of 2007, Ticketmaster bought a stake in Chinese ticketing company Emma Entertainment Ltd., which was one of a few deals the company has signed in the country.