by Dave Wakeman, Special to Ticket News

As we head into 2018, I reached out to a bunch of brokers and prominent thought leaders on tickets and the secondary market for their opinions on what would be the big challenges and opportunities for the industry in the new year.

To help make this a little more digestible for people, I’m going to break this down into 2 or 3 parts since I have received responses from about 25 brokers right now.

Here’s part 1…

Don Shano, Ticket Wise Guy

Challenge: Google AdWords but you don’t have the behind the scenes info to speak about it in it’s full spectrum.

Opportunity: Why would I give up that info…

Troy Kirby, Tao of Sports podcast, author, thought leader: 

The lack of understanding on pricing mechanisms of the primary/secondary are the biggest challenge as well as the biggest opportunity.

Learn more about the Insomniac web browser, designed for ticket resale professionals

Jim Barr, CEO of

Challenges: The biggest challenges I see for the industry in 2018 is as digital ticketing becomes the primary way all tickets are sold and the boards continue to cut deals with teams and venues the brokers ability to protect their seats.  I also look at Fan Verified as a true threat to brokers being able to get inventory. This is also a consumer issue as less inventory creates higher prices.

Opportunities: Growth, brokers must embrace technology. By this I do not mean bots but they must look for ways to make their businesses more efficient and be able to look at their own data to make the best decisions on what to buy and where to sell their inventory

Ken Solky, CEO of Las Vegas Tickets:

The biggest challenge is the biggest opportunity…

Ken Lowson, Formerly of WiseGuy Tickets, now TixFan: 

Challenge: Biggest challenge is going to be Transparency efforts and how it’s dealt with.

Opportunity: Alternative secondaries that focus on customer satisfaction.

Hannah Boyes, International Ticketing Expert based in the United Kingdom:

The opportunities are endless but when will the primary market start listening to the secondary!

Challenge: I think the biggest challenge in the secondary market over here is the transparency and trying to separate bots from the market. As customers get confused and especially when performers keep getting involved, there will always be people who have friends drop out why shouldn’t they make some more money!

Levi Blachman, President of StubWorld:

Challenge: The challenge is that most teams believe they can create a secondary market on their own through single-game dynamic pricing. In reality, they’re taking away the natural demand of once was a “sought out” ticket to an event.

My prediction is that fans stop going to games because of this and that when the teams finally lower their prices back to reasonable levels, it’ll be too late.

Opportunity: Working together with the teams/venues by creating reasonable pricing which addresses and avoids the above.

Charlie Kaufman, CEO of SeatsLink: 

Challenge: I feel the biggest challenge for me will be the ways in which trends in ticketing (ie Verified Fan) as well as possible legislation might affect my access to inventory, not to mention supply in general. I fear that I might not be able to survive any developments that would effectively put the “squeeze” on brokers.

Opportunity: Biggest opportunity for me I think is in the development of my service model, for example the concierge piece that allows event-goers access to activities that compliment the event they have tickets for. Not only will that help me to differentiate my product from others in the market, but I’m excited for the ways in which I can market what I have once that’s in place. What I really love about being in the resale space is the ways in which I can differentiate what I have and what Seatslink does.

Mike Guiffre, VP of Sales at TicketCity: 

Challenge: Biggest challenge is google utilizing PPC personalized targeting at an increase costs that drives up costs for middle and smaller sized businesses.

Opportunity: Biggest Opportunity is teams and venues starting to understand the need for open distribution.  The opportunity now is to understand how to utilize these platforms to their top potential.

(risk management, early sales, revenue maximization etc)

J Cobb, VP of Broker Services at Ticket Evolution: 

Challenge: As far as the secondary market I would say for brokers it would be consolidation and the resulting cancellation of seats they own as well as just overall tighter controls on inventory (including delayed ticket releases and after-purchase cancellations), which I suspect will eventually come back to bite the primary in the ass.

Opportunity: I look forward to the elimination of PDF and “screenshot” tickets as we move to transfer-only ticketing which I believe is best for everyone, including the customer.

Jaima Schiffer, Business Partnerships at Ticket Galaxy: 

Challenge: The big challenge revolves around partnership. Who is a partner? Who is an exchange? What does a partner really mean?

Opportunity: Reaching the consumer is the biggest opportunity. There’s a lot of grey space and the primary side needs a partner that can help them reach their customers.

Matt DeWire, Co-Founder at Valhalla Tickets

Challenge: VC money is flooding into the secondary market and it is creating an unstable market for the entire industry. It creates an environment where we have to question is a partnership really a partnership and where the membership model is being used to accelerate an organization’s expense calendar.

Opportunity: The opportunity lies in being able to build relationships on the customer side and the partner side. There are a lot of deals that are being made today that aren’t financially prudent. They are wise in the short term, but a lot of these crazy deals will fail. And someone will need to be there to pick up the pieces.

Part 2, coming in a few days…


Dave Wakeman is a branding and strategy expert who often opines about the ticketing world on his website and twitter. If you like this stuff and the stuff he usually posts, he does a Sunday email that talks all about value, connection, and humans. You can get that for free by sending him an email at [email protected]