(This story was updated on Tuesday, March 9, 2010, at 4:56pm EST to add a comment from StubHub.)
The Boston Red Sox, the last holdout from the secondary ticketing deal Major League Baseball (MLB) signed with StubHub in 2007, has finally agreed to let the ticket exchange giant be its authorized online ticketing partner.
Financial terms of the one-year deal have not been disclosed, but StubHub reportedly pays the league under its current five-year deal so the Red Sox will likely begin receiving a cut of that money, if the team is not already. While the Red Sox stayed out, the other 29 MLB teams were all part of the original deal with StubHub, and they split the estimated $20 million per year that the exchange pays the league.
The new deal will not directly affect the team’s current contract with Boston-based ticket reseller Ace Ticket, which has a multiple-year, “offline” agreement with the team. Under that deal, Ace is the team’s authorized bricks-and-mortar secondary ticket reseller. Fans can go to one of Ace’s seven storefront locations to buy or sell tickets.
StubHub spokesperson Joellen Ferrer told TicketNews that the company would not comment specifically on the deal but that StubHub was pleased to be working with the Red Sox.
“The Red Sox join our growing partner roster, which extends well beyond MLB and includes professional and collegiate ranks, motorsports, and most recently boxing, as we are the Official Fan to Fan Marketplace of the upcoming Mayweather-Mosley fight in Las Vegas,” Ferrer said in a statement. “The combined synergy with Ace Ticket will provide Red Sox fans with access to the widest selection of tickets to games at Fenway, along with thousands of other events in the New England area. StubHub’s truly dynamic marketplace assures the fairest pricing in parallel with demand, all backed by our FanProtect guarantee.”
Jim Holzman, owner of Ace Ticket, said he was made aware of the StubHub deal well before it came to fruition. While not among the nation’s top ten ticket resellers, according to TicketNews’ exclusive industry rankings, Ace Ticket is considered one of the nation’s largest brokers that concentrates on a specific local market.
“We remain excited to continue to serve the fans of Red Sox Nation, because we’re fans, too,” Holzman told TicketNews. “Will this [StubHub deal] affect us? I think only time will tell. On the one hand, it’s another valuable distribution channel, and other the other hand we remain fiercely independent and proud to continue to stand on our own two feet.”
By all accounts, the Ace Ticket/Red Sox deal has made both entities happy, and the agreement’s success could serve as a model for other teams to explore similar contracts with local brokers.
“We’re looking at other, similar opportunities,” Holzman said, but he declined to elaborate on which cities, leagues or teams the company is looking to partner with. “I could see a day when Ace Ticket is a true national company, but our home will always be Boston.”
Don Vaccaro, CEO and founder of TicketNetwork, which has worked with and in competition with Ace Ticket in the past, praised the move by the Red Sox.
“The Red Sox having an offline partner as well as an online partner paves the way for other teams to potentially double the amount of money they make on the secondary market deals,” Vaccaro said. “The Yankees, for example, could realize more money from a local offline partnership over their national online deal.”
As for the Red Sox, the team is taking a measured approach with the new StubHub deal. “We continued to take a wait-and-see attitude with regard to secondary ticket and wanted to be very cautious. But it seems like this [StubHub] platform offers a great convenience, and we’re going to see how this goes,” Sam Kennedy, chief operating officer for the Red Sox, told Sports Business Journal.
“So we’ve broken up the category in which Ace is strictly offline and StubHub is strictly online, which we think is rather unique. But Boston is also very unique market for secondary tickets,” he added.