The second-annual Ticket Summit NYC conference and trade show ended late last week with a warning from ticketing industry leaders during a keynote discussion panel: Get ready for a world with a combined Ticketmaster and Live Nation.
During the keynote panel, “Then & Now: The Primary Market,” all four participants said they believed the controversial merger will be approved in some form or another by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), despite a growing opposition to the deal. None of the four – former Ticketmaster President and CEO Sean Moriarty; Veritix President Jeff Kline; Tickets.com CEO Larry Witherspoon; and TicketFly co-founder Andrew Dreskin – predicted when the deal would receive a nod from DOJ, or specifically how the merger will look.
“I think it will go through in some way, shape or form,” Kline said. Among the possible concessions the two companies might have to make to gain DOJ approval are the sale of Ticketmaster’s Paciolan primary ticketing subsidiary; sale of Ticketmaster’s TicketsNow subsidiary; the sale of some Live Nation venues; and the sale of Live Nation’s ticketing operation.
“I expect that some larger venues and promoters will look for alternative companies to handle their ticketing if the deal goes through,” Dreskin said.
“Finding alternatives allows companies to better control their own data,” added Witherspoon.
Talk of the merger permeated the various discussions throughout the conference, where ticket brokers lamented about what the ticketing landscape will look if the deal goes through, and what lies ahead for them with dynamic pricing and paperless ticketing, two things the merged companies plan to ramp up this year.
“Dynamic pricing will take the spread out of undervalued premium ticket sales,” Moriarty said, who last week joined the board of directors of new ticketing and event management company Eventbrite.
“Tickets will move very quickly and easily,” he added, but only if there is transparency and total transferability of tickets across all platforms, formats and companies. Many brokers have complained that paperless ticketing and dynamic pricing is being fostered by Ticketmaster and Live Nation to wall off the marketplace and control all aspects of the primary and secondary ticketing industries.
With an estimated 500 attendees, the conference was deemed a success by organizers from TicketNetwork, hosts of the event and the parent company of TicketNews.
“At this year’s Ticket Summit NYC, we experienced one of the best networking events ever held for the industry,” said Dan Pullium, director of government affairs for TicketNetwork and one of the conference’s organizers. “Nearly every sector of the live entertainment ticketing chain was represented through the attendees and speakers. None of this would have been possible without the outpouring of support from the industry, and we look forward to July when, once again, we can all come together to learn, network and move the industry forward.”
Nebraska-based ticket broker and first-time Ticket Summit attendee Lamond Wilburn said that he plans to attend the Las Vegas Ticket Summit, scheduled for July 14-16. “The entire event was loaded with information and a tremendous opportunity to meet others.”
Mahesh Chaddah, chief technology officer for ticket search engine TicketSizzle.com, agreed.
“This was Ticketsizzle.com’s second time attending Ticket Summit and our first as an exhibitor. The show was exactly what we needed – exposure and direct discussions with ticket resellers that are considering becoming advertising partners on Ticketsizzle.com,” Chaddah said. “The show was so good that we have already registered as an exhibitor for the Ticket Summit show in Las Vegas.”