Viagogo is preparing to move much of its UK-based workforce to New York as part of an expected expansion of its operations in the United States, according to several reports. The Switzerland-based resale giant has faced increasing scrutiny from government agencies in recent months, as well as a withering campaign waged by media outlets at the behest of entertainment industry insiders.
“Several senior developers have already relocated,” a source told The Guardian. “But they’re mostly people that have been at Viagogo since nearly day one and so are probably invested in the company. A few others are moving in the next couple of months, and others are leaving very soon.”
Viagogo, which was founded in London in 2006 by StubHub co-founder Eric Baker, moved its base of operations to Switzerland in 2012. Baker remains the company’s CEO. It is unclear whether any shift of overall operations management away from Switzerland is planned.
The company has largely refrained from public comment amid the increasing pressure in the UK and European markets against the secondary market. But in 2018 alone, the company was hit with an injunction against listing FIFA World Cup tickets on its marketplace by a German court, incurred a million Euro fine by Italy’s AGCM for failing to disclose original ticket prices, and was threatened with court action by the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK for failing to comply with transparency requirements.
Throughout the summer, a cadre of UK publications have continually slammed the company for its policies as part of a larger campaign against the secondary ticketing world. Those attacks have been driven largely by the Fan Fair Alliance, an organization which purports to support consumers against abuses by the free market while actually serving as a publicity operation for the value-capped resale marketplace owned in part by two of its principles. Those campaigns have pushed politicians to voice the possibility of outlawing ticket resale in general – against the advice of economists, one of whom went so far as to refer to the concept as “economic illiteracy”.
In August, Ticketmaster announced that it would shutter its UK and European resale websites Seatwave and GetMeIn, opting instead to shift to a price-capped system, leaving StubHub and Viagogo as the major players in the secondary market overseas. StubHub executive Wayne Grierson questioned the implication that the decision was altruistic for fans, calling the move “secondary ticketing in all but name,” but the end result is more of the marketplace heading in the direction of restricted and controlled by venue, artist, and primary ticketing interests.
As The Guardian points out, the Viagogo jobs website currently shows no postings for its UK office. Instead, 24 of 38 positions are based in New York, with the bulk of the others for the company’s Limerick (Ireland) office. Their reporting also indicates that clients who list tickets with the company are now receiving their payments from a Delaware-based corporation.