In an era where the live events industry has come to a standstill, ticketing sites are finding themselves in unprecedented territory. Ticketing has been one of the hardest hit industries from the coronavirus pandemic with pro sports leagues on hold indefinitely, Broadway theaters shuttered and hundreds of concerts called off. But while both primary and resale sites are facing the same direct effects, they are coping in vastly different ways.
Resale giant StubHub has furloughed two-thirds of its workforce for the foreseeable future in an effort to reduce corporate costs amid widespread event cancellations. Other major sellers, including Ticketmaster, SeatGeek and TicketNetwork, are continuing to run operations as best they can under abnormal circumstances.
“As an organization, once we saw how the pandemic would affect our industry, TicketNetwork started making adjustments and cost cutting measures to ensure the stability of our organization,” a TicketNetwork representative told ESPN Wednesday. “We continue to support our employees, customers and partners with full capabilities. We are doing everything we can to ensure the organization is ready to thrive when these unprecedented times are over.”
SeatGeek and Ticketmaster echoed similar sentiments, telling the outlet that their companies have not laid off any employees amid the pandemic. Nevertheless, the ticketing sites are facing continuous new developments within the industry and reacting accordingly.
“Working in such a dynamic space, our team is used to scaling costs up and down based on demand,” said a SeatGeek spokesman. “On the sports side we have seen some of the biggest teams and leagues in the world already make paycuts to avoid layoffs, and on the entertainment side we have seen some major promoters go as far as to layoff or furlough more than 75% of their staff. It’s certainly something every business in the industry has to think about right now.”
Ticketmaster has directly seen the dismal affect of COVID-19 on its parent company Live Nation. The industry titan has seen its stock plummet following domino-effect cancellations of March Madness, large-scale music festivals and other events. After its CEO downplayed any major business impacts COVID-19 could have at the start of the month, Live Nation made the call to postpone its event calendar through the end of March.
Looking ahead, the top ticketing sites are focused on a $2 trillion stimulus plan making its way through Washington now. Overnight Wednesday, the Senate unanimously voted in favor of the landmark plan, which will now go to the House of Representatives. If passed, the stimulus package will work to rejuvenate the economy and grant help to small businesses and corporations most impacted by the pandemic, as well as issuing checks of $1,200 to citizens earning less than $75,000 annually.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our industry particularly hard,” TicketNetwork’s spokesman revealed. “With the mandate to cancel large gatherings of people, forcing live events such as sporting events, theaters, and concerts to be canceled or postponed, our business has taken a significant hit in revenue generation. We hope Congress recognizes their opportunity to help impacted industries like ours by swiftly approving and implementing the stimulus package currently in front of them that will help our employees through these difficult times.”