Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the move marks a major shift for the team, which had been embroiled in a lawsuit against ticket resale marketplace StubHub for three years, before the two finally settled the case in the summer of 2009.
Ace Ticket, which already has a secondary ticket deal with the Boston Red Sox, will sell travel packages that will include airfare, hotel and a ticket to the away game for between $595 and $1,250 per person, according to company owner and President Jim Holzman.
The deal only applies to Patriots’ away games, and whether it could eventually lead to a secondary ticket agreement for the team’s home games is unknown. A Patriots team spokesperson did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Yet, the fact that the team has signed a deal with a ticket broker could be considered a huge boon for the industry, and could help Massachusetts ticket brokers in the future as they work to try to overturn the state’s antiquated anti-ticket scalping laws. The movement to rid the state of laws against ticket resale was temporarily derailed a couple of years ago following the lobbying scandal involving former state Speaker of the House Salvatore DiMasi and his friend Richard Vitale.
In a prepared statement, Murray Kohl, the Patriot’s vice president of Sales, said the deal came about because the organization was “constantly approached by Patriots fans” who were in the market for away tickets. “Ace Ticket provides us the resource of a reputable company to which we can refer Patriots fans who want to travel to see games in our opponents’ venues. Ace Ticket is respected as a company that stands behind all of their tickets transactions. It’s a benefit to our fans and a comfort for us to have a partner like Ace Ticket for fan travel packages.”
Holzman told TicketNews that Ace Ticket “will source the team’s inventory” for the game tickets, which he added will sometimes be sold at a premium. “It’s our business to sell tickets at a profit when possible, but we’re looking to sell the whole package, not just individual tickets.”
The company will sell packages for all of the team’s regular season and playoff away games, except for the Thanksgiving Day game this year in Detroit against the Lions, because Holzman does not believe there will be much interest in New England fans traveling to an away game on the traditionally family oriented holiday. In addition, some packages may feature cocktail parties for the fans with current or former Patriots players.
Since this is the team’s first foray into travel packages, there is no hard data on how many trips have been sold in the past, but Holzman is hopeful that it will be a success. He said he first approached the team about it six years ago. “There’s a potential for thousands of people to go to each road game.” And, besides the Patriots, the deal will also extend to the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer.
The deal will allow Ace Ticket to be featured on the Patriots’ Web site, and in television and radio advertisements.
“They know what we do, and being a strong, regional brand and having relationships with the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics likely helped pave the way with the Patriots,” Holzman said. “Ace Ticket looks forward to a long and successful partnership with the team.”