Ticketmaster’s secondary ticket resale division TicketsNow this week signed a ticketing deal with FoxSports.com, a move that would not have seemed possible just a year ago as executives from parent company Live Nation contemplated selling the underperforming asset.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the partnership “gives fans access to ticket inventory on TicketsNow.com via dedicated links throughout FOXSports.com,” according to the companies.
The move further cements Ticketmaster’s involvement in the ticket resale industry, even though CEO Nathan Hubbard has heavily criticized the secondary market recently, and deal comes the same week that Ticketmaster announced its new dynamic pricing initiative.
Julia Vander Ploeg, general manager of TicketsNow, said in a statement the company was excited over the deal, which could potentially drive a significant increase in internet traffic to TicketsNow. Whether Ticketmaster is still trying to sell the division is not known.
“Providing fans with the opportunity to purchase their tickets right where they get their news, information, schedules and stats on their favorite sports teams is a tremendous benefit. It aligns perfectly with what we are all about, which is making the ticket buying experience as convenient and safe as possible for the fan,” Vander Ploeg said.
TicketsNow is now designated as the Official Ticket Provider for FoxSports.com, and TicketsNow links will be “contextually integrated into FOXSports.com Team Pages, Standings Pages, Schedule Pages, Scores Pages, Gametrax Pages, and Racetrax Pages.” The FoxSports.com home page will also carry a custom widget where fans can buy tickets.
“Teaming up with a multiplatform ticket provider that offers premium seats to sports, music, and theater events underscores FOXSports.com’s commitment to keeping fans entertained and engaged,” Jeff Husvar, executive vice-president and general manager for FOX Sports Interactive Media, said in a statement.
Whether the company would be around to sign such a partnership was an open question last year. Ticketmaster bought TicketsNow in 2008 for a staggering $265 million, but by the spring of last year, officials were looking at “strategic options” for what to do with the company, including selling it.
“We’re looking at whether it’s a salvageable business or not,” Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation which owns both Ticketmaster and TicketsNow, said in May 2010. At the time, industry insiders estimated that TicketsNow might sell for a third of its purchase price, or less, in part due to its annual earnings plummeting from about $15 million to $1 million to $2 million, according to Rapino.
Ticketmaster was being run by industry veteran Sean Moriarty when it bought TicketsNow, and he aggressively sought to grow the division to jump start Ticketmaster’s disappointing secondary sales business, which had been run through its TicketExchange entity. Moriarty had watched as StubHub, TicketNetwork, Barry’s Tickets, Razorgator and others were capturing significant revenue through secondary ticket sales, and he believed the TicketsNow acquisition could yield similar numbers.
And, for a time it did; TicketsNow remains one of the nation’s top five secondary ticket sellers on TicketNews’ exclusive industry rankings. But, the company began to run into trouble over its practice of redirecting Ticketmaster customers to TicketsNow, where tickets are sold for a premium above face value.
Ticketmaster and TicketsNow were sued by angry fans over the practice, and the companies settled complaints over it with then New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram and the Federal Trade Commission. The settlements led to Ticketmaster and TicketsNow stopping the practice, and the negative publicity helped to depress some of TicketsNow’s sales.
TicketNetwork is the parent company of TicketNews.