In an effort to increase its marketplace sales worldwide, secondary ticketing giant StubHub has begun allowing international consumers to buy tickets without currency restrictions.
In the past, ticket buyers from outside the U.S. would need a credit card drawn from a U.S. bank and a U.S. address to place orders on the StubHub marketplace, but now those restrictions have been lifted for UK and German customers, in addition to consumers from more than 50 other countries.
Glenn Lehrman, spokesperson for StubHub, told TicketNews that the move is essentially more of a marketing opportunity than an overt attempt at expansion, stressing that the company is reaching out to the countries “that have the most inbound U.S. tourists and introducing them to StubHub.” He declined to elaborate on the company’s international sales.
“Expansion is a ways off,” Lehrman said.
A published report by UK-based MusicWeek.com claimed StubHub is planning a major expansion in the UK and Germany centered around concert ticket resales, and that company executives have been on scouting trips to the two countries as part of the initiative. The UK and German ticket markets are the largest in Europe and are hotly contested not only at the secondary ticket level — with viagogo and Seatwave leading the way — but also at the primary ticketing level with Ticketmaster and CTS Eventim, among others.
StubHub is far and away the most dominant ticket resale marketplace in the U.S., and with the deep pockets of parent company eBay behind it, the company could have the wherewithal to mount an expansion in the future. In fact, eBay already has a strong presence in the UK and Europe.
But, an expansion in the UK would pit StubHub squarely against viagogo, which was created by StubHub co-founder Eric Baker a couple of years after he left the company.
A robust expansion into the UK would also present other challenges for StubHub, due to the country’s difficult relationship with ticket resellers, some of whom are derisively referred to as “touts.” In recent months, a move to restrictively legislate the secondary market was launched by a Member of Parliament, and the industry has long faced criticism in the country.
“We are not planning to expand to the UK [or other countries] anytime soon,” Lehrman reiterated, declining to address the Baker/viagogo issue. “We simply have a cross border trade offering for [international] consumers now.”
A spokesperson for viagogo did not reply to a message seeking comment by deadline.