After a summer of “what if” headlines, Amazon is reportedly stepping down from its consideration of a bid to enter the U.S. ticketing market, according to Dave Brooks of Amplify.
Amazon, which operates within the European market as one of many primary ticketers alongside Ticketmaster, reportedly sought to make a deal with Ticketmaster, but the Live Nation-owned company’s strangle-hold on the market proved difficult to challenge due to exclusive venue contracts through its parent company. When an opportunity to broker a deal to distribute Ticketmaster’s ticket inventory to its millions of customers fell through, the company quietly shuttered its plans to make a big play, according to Brooks.
Hearts were aflutter in August with headlines indicating that Amazon – the e-commerce giant and disruptor of numerous business models – was considering a play at the United States. Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino made his company’s stance towards Amazon clear with comments at a Goldman Sachs conference in September:
“It’s Amazon; it’s obviously an incredible business. I give [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos all the credit in the world… But, I’m not going to give my front door away,” Rapino said. “We control 80 million tickets, we have a great software program. If Amazon wants to sell some of our tickets, if that makes the pot bigger for us, great.”
As TheStreet.com put it at the time, “Rapino’s message was, ‘we are willing to work with you, but good luck trying to beat us.'”
According to Brooks, the exclusivity system in place throughout the United States made it near-impossible for Amazon to make inroads at the ticketing market the way it has with other business models. The only viable option was to partner with an existing primary seller to offer a throughput to its customers, potentially via offering reduced service fee tickets to Amazon Prime customers.
“This has always been about doing deals with all [ticketing] platforms to pull inventory and help content owners allocate tickets,” a source told Amplify over the summer. “It’s not about building a box-office software suite.”
Unfortunately – at least for Amazon – Ticketmaster was primarily interested in partnering with Amazon as another outlet for stagnant inventory – such as existing deals with companies like Gametime and Groupon. Accessing high profile and desireable events wasn’t part of what Ticketmaster was willing to give the e-commerce giant a piece of.
According to Brooks, the possibility exists for Amazon to reconsider their entry to the market, if conditions can change.
“If Amazon wants to come into the market, then they will have to negotiate directly with artists, venues and sports teams,” Macquarie analyst Amy Yong told [Brooks] in August. “Beyond that, I’m not sure what they could add to an already-frictionless experience.”