The City of San Antonio, TX is putting the ticketing services for the 65,000-seat Alamodome and other municipal arenas out to bid, potentially ending Ticketmaster Entertainment’s management of the ticketing operation there, which it has held since the facility opened in 1995.

City officials emailed dozens of potential bidders yesterday, April 1, and are requiring that bids come in by May 1.

“The Convention, Sports and Entertainment Facilities Department is soliciting proposals from qualified firms to provide an automated ticket system for the Alamodome, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Municipal Auditorium, and Lila Cockrell Theatre. The selected firm will provide an automated ticket system, including the design, implementation, maintenance and support of all software, equipment and service requirements to support all ticketed events at the Facilities,” the email said.

Together, the facilities host hundreds of events annually, and more than 2 million fans and convention delegates stream through their gates each year. San Antonio is the home of the San Antonio Spurs basketball team, but the team plays in the AT&T Center and not the Alamodome.

The move to open up the bidding for the facilities comes as Ticketmaster battles to convince federal regulators to approve its proposed merger with Live Nation. Because the bidding process just opened up yesterday, whether Ticketmaster will re-bid on the contract, or whether Live Nation might jump in as a hedge in case the merger is not approved, is not known.

Several attempts to reach a spokesperson with the San Antonio’s Convention, Sports and Entertainment Facilities Department were unsuccessful. The city plans to hold an open meeting for bidders, with a tour of the facilities if needed, on April 16.

The Request for Proposal document outlines several minimum criteria that bidders must meet in order to be considered, including:

1. A complete computerized system for the sale, distribution and reporting of event tickets, including all associated design, hardware, software, installation, maintenance and support.

2. Complete compatibility and full integration with the ticket sales and distribution systemscurrently utilized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), San Antonio Bowl Association (Alamo Bowl), Arts San Antonio, San Antonio Symphony, and San Antonio Opera, all of which are currently utilizing the Ticketmaster system.
3. Integration of Ticketmaster’s Access Control System, which the City has purchased, or the provision of another fully-integrated wireless ticket access control system.

4. Internet and telephone ticket sales capabilities with remote printing capability and a toll-free customer call center open 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, with live technical support.

5. Certified to process credit card transactions through the City’s current Merchant Banking Service Provider’s platform, which is currently the TSYS platform (formerly known as Vital or Visanet). Should the Merchant Banking Services Provider change, the Respondent must have the capability of adjusting and be required to adjust to accommodate possible changes in the platform utilized. Credit card terminals must be purchased from the City’s current Merchant Banking Services Provider.

6. Full-time local representative and onsite technical support.

7. A network of retail outlets locally and regionally in South Texas for ticket sales.

In addition, the winning bidder must also offer extensive marketing services for ticket sales.

“From the City’s perspective, customer service, convenience and value, as well as event marketing and support, are of paramount importance in the provision of these services. Therefore, the City is seeking proposals from Respondents who are uniquely positioned in the marketplace to provide the most comprehensive and highest level of service to both customers and the Facilities in the most timely, effective and efficient manner. The City expects the selected Respondent to have as its primary mission to provide and ensure the highest levels of customer service and value through convenience, responsiveness, flexibility and reasonableness of customer fees,” the bid document states.

“Further, the City is seeking a Respondent who demonstrates the desire, proactiveness and capability to continuously assess and invest in customer and facility needs and to research, invest in and deploy technological and other improvements on an ongoing basis throughout the duration of the agreement to continuously maintain a state-of-the-art system and incorporate the latest trends in the ticket and event industry. The City’s goal is to have a modern and sophisticated ticketing system that takes full advantage of present and emerging technology, services and trends. The ticketing system should not only fully accommodate the City’s current needs, but has the flexibility to allow for growth and change as technology and the event industry evolves,” it continued.

Last Updated on April 3, 2009