Roughly 200 ticket brokers and ticket industry professionals networked and schmoozed in Las Vegas over the weekend at the National Association of Ticket Brokers’ (NATB) conference and trade show, called the World Ticket Conference, as questions about the event’s continued viability swirled throughout the show.
The event, the longest running conference and trade show focused on the secondary ticket market, attracted many of the same attendees, speakers and exhibitors as the younger, larger Ticket Summit, which was held the three days before the World Ticket Conference. In addition, some of the panel discussion topics were similar between the two shows, such as some of the recent state legislative activities that have transpired in recent months.
Without giving specific figures, NATB President Ken Solky, owner of LasVegasTickets.com, told TicketNews that the conference was “profitable,” and that no NATB member dues were used to pay for the event.
“We’re pleased to see the continued support of so many brokers after 16 years,” Solky said, thanking staffers Terry Stevenson and Sara Drake for their hard work in pulling together the event. He said he was very happy with the attendance, and added that the NATB is planning to begin holding small, regional meetings for members throughout the year in the organization’s six regions, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and West. The first meetings will held later this year, and they will center more the specific regional concerns that brokers have in those areas.
Yet, the question that seemed to be on the lips of a lot of attendees was whether the World Ticket Conference can remain relevant in the face of competition from Ticket Summit, which was three-times the size of the NATB’s show. Several current and past NATB officers quietly agreed that efforts should be reinstated in trying to merge the two conferences.
Officials from the NATB and TicketNetwork, the creator and organizer of Ticket Summit, have spoken in the past about combining the shows, but talks always broke off without reaching an agreement.
“The NATB’s goal has always been to have one event,” Solky said, adding that he would be open to negotiating with TicketNetwork again on the fate of the two shows. “Our members have met in Las Vegas for 14 of out of the 16 years that we’ve been in existence, which is a lot of history.”
Representatives of both TicketNetwork and rival ticket exchange company TicketsNow were not at the NATB conference (TicketsNow also did not attend Ticket Summit), and their absence was noticed and talked about throughout the event.
“We’d very much like to see one event where exhibitors, brokers and participants in the industry can go to one, grand show that represents the interests of the entire industry,” Solky said.
Among the highlights of the World Ticket Conference included a panel on ticket “aggregators,” companies that act as exchanges for brokers and consumers to resell tickets, where the speakers all agreed that while the secondary market is challenging and competitive, it still harbors a lot of promise.
“At the end of the day, what we do is a luxury, so it’s important to provide a service that consumers feel is valuable to them,” said Mike Janes, CEO and founder of ticket search engine FanSnap. “Consumers want flexibility, and brokers provide that.”
Brendan Ross, President and CEO of Razorgator, agreed, adding that the recent merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation increases opportunities for brokers.
“There are more opportunities for all of us as two companies that big spend a lot of time trying to digest themselves instead of looking to attract customers. Brokers can fill that void,” Ross said.
TicketNetwork is the parent company of TicketNews.