Two UK ticketing veterans are gearing up to launch a new primary ticketing venture in that country, in what is the latest effort to try to take advantage of the growing market for ticket providers since the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger.
Former Ticketmaster UK executive Nick Blackburn and former Seatem Group CEO Paul Burns next month reportedly will launch a ticketing operation through the newly formed Ingresso Group, which will concentrate on selling tickets for theatres and concerts in the UK. Ingresso Group is backed financially by UK venture capital firm Oakfield Capital Partners.
Blackburn also helped create See Tickets, one of the UK’s largest ticket providers with Ticketline, Lastminute and Ticketmaster and others. The UK ticketing market differs from its larger U.S. counterpart in that Ticketmaster is not the dominant provider, even after its merger with Live Nation.
That merger, however, was still reviewed by government officials for its possible adverse impact on competition, but regulators ruled that a combined Ticketmaster and Live Nation would not stifle the industry. The UK approval did not carry conditions that the U.S. regulatory passage did.
As such, Ingresso is stepping into the mix, utilizing a revamped ticketing solution built on the back of some of Seatem’s assets, which Oakfield helped acquire out of receivership, which is a form of bankruptcy. Those assets include TicketSwitch and Keith Prowse Tickets.
Seemingly contrary to ticket industry fears, the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation appears to have bolstered competition in the space, particularly in the U.S. where several new and established primary ticketing companies have begun to nibble away at Ticketmaster’s once invincible share of the market. And, while the U.S. ticket industry is considerably larger than the UK version, a market with more players in the mix is slowly beginning to mirror the UK model.
The TicketSwitch technology reportedly allows multiple entities to access and sell tickets in real time, such as airlines or hotels, which is similar to what Lastminute and other ticketers do. So, a customer could visit an airline site, for example, and buy concert or theatre tickets at the same time the buy their travel tickets, and the transaction is updated immediately to the centralized TicketSwitch system.
“I have sought to bring innovative solutions and high service levels to the market,” Blackburn told The Stage. “I believe that, with the increasing importance of electronic sales and distribution in the event ticketing market, TicketSwitch will offer a hugely compelling service to providers and distributors reaching previously unavailable sales channels, which will increase their sales and lower their costs.”