Ticketing company AXS was renewed for a five-year, $5 million contract with taxpayer-owned venues in Denver this week.
The deal, which was unanimously voted on by Denver City Council members, makes AXS the official booking agent for venues like the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater, the Bellco Theatre, the Colorado Convention Center, Denver Coliseum, McNichols Building, the Buell Thetre, and Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Officials believe that the contract will offer value to Denver residents, as more than $35 million has been transferred from Denver’s “seat tax” to the city’s treasury.
AXS had already been partners with Denver for the past five years, but this time, AXS is the subject of a congressional probe aimed to uncover “potentially unfair and deceptive practices” in the live event industry, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced in November. However, the city government nor the ticketing company seem concerned with the investigation. Brian Kitts of Denver Arts and Venues told the Denver Post that “it’s not something we’re afraid of, that AXS is afraid of.”
“I want to be clear that what congressional committee is doing is not looking into criminal activity,” Kitts said. “It’s asking for information.”
The agreement pays a small part in online ticket sales, but not much. According to city documents obtained by DenverRite, AXS only receives $3 from each ticket sale and Denver gets $2, meaning about two thirds of fees are add-ons from the concert promoter. AXS, which is owned by Philip Anschutz, is the second-largest primary ticketing provider in the U.S. behind ticketing giant Ticketmaster.