Daily deal Web site Groupon and ticketing and live entertainment giant Live Nation are joining forces to launch a new ticketing Web site that will offer local deals on tickets to see concerts and other events.
The arrangement will allow Live Nation’s Ticketmaster division, and the company’s thousands of clients, to potentially unload hard-to-sell, or distressed, ticket inventory at a discount, which should help to fill otherwise empty seats. And, with more people at an event, venues, promoters or teams can generate more ancillary revenue on concessions, merchandise, parking and other sales.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the two company’s plan to have the new Web site, GrouponLive.com, fully operational within the next few weeks or so. Artist manager Guy Oseary, who manages Madonna, is credited with bringing the deal to fruition. Oseary has extensive dealings with Live Nation, and he sits on the advisory board for Groupon.
In a statement, Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino called the joint venture a “new channel to drive value for fans” and added that the exposure Groupon brings will be a boon to the company’s clients.
“By adding this channel to our ticketing platform, we will also provide our venue partners with another option for driving ticket sales across a wide range of events,” Rapino said. Groupon’s free Web site allows people to sign up for daily emails for deals and discounts on goods, services or events in their area. “Our success is based on selling tickets and filling seats and GrouponLive gives us another platform to achieve this.”
Adam Kanner, founder and CEO of ScoreBig, which takes a different approach to moving ticket inventory, told TicketNews that while he can appreciate two big companies such as Groupon and Live Nation trying to do something about distressed tickets, he believes the deal could set a dangerous precedent.
“You don’t want to train people to only look for discounts,” Kanner said. ScoreBig takes a Priceline.com-type approach to selling tickets by allowing fans to make an offer on tickets that the unidentified provider can accept or reject. By not naming the source of the tickets, ScoreBig protects the brand and reputation of the provider, and also protects full face value sales.
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“No matter how many daily deals they do, it doesn’t solve the problem,” Kanner said. “This partnership is really nothing new, it’s an expansion of the transparent discounting that is already out there that threatens to cannibalize the industry. It could erode full price and erode the margins. It makes the industry feel desperate; the industry may have challenges but it is not desperate.”
After the company’s tough 2010, and clearly feeling pressure from the new ticketing partnership from Anschutz Entertainment Group and Outbox Technology, Live Nation has aggressively sought to boost its ticketing profile. Its Ticketmaster division signed a dynamic ticket pricing deal with MarketShare, and it has tried to boost its ecommerce revenues with expanded social media efforts, so the Groupon deal falls right in line with those initiatives.
“You have to look at different ways and price points to sell those final 10 rows,” Rapino told USA Today. “Discounting tickets is the easy part. The hard part is finding a value partner with 70 million eyeballs that wake up every morning with their shopping carts open.”
Groupon itself is no stranger to ticketing, having offered deals on several events, including Washington Wizards tickets in a deal with team owner Ted Leonsis, who is a member of the Groupon Board of Directors.
“With unprecedented access to Live Nation’s expansive roster of performers and events, GrouponLive will be the destination for exclusive live event deals,” Andrew Mason, founder and CEO of Groupon, said in a statement. “We’re excited to work with Live Nation to further deliver on our commitment to offer amazing local experiences to our subscribers.”