Amid the unprecedented pause that has hit the live event industry as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds, ticketing operations are taking a big hit, and many are adjusting on the fly as circumstances change. Ticket Evolution, a broker-owned ticket exchange, informed clients via email Monday that it had laid off staff and was also holding some money from sold events in client “Evopay” accounts against possible future cancellation.
While some brokers have complained about the holds in online forums, the company insists the move is a prudent measure and is only being applied in situations where an event with a strong chance of future issues.
“The industry is facing an unprecedented situation with the potential cancellation of perhaps 1,000 events at once,” says Harry DeMott, interim President of Ticket Evolution. “When faced with an extraordinary circumstance, we did halt all payments until we could ensure that in the event of cancellations, people were being treated fairly on all sides of the transaction.”
“The industry has been supportive,” he continued. “I think, because they understand that we hare a neutral party in their transactions and quite frankly, if they have a problem with Ticket Evolution, they have a larger problem with other exchanges and consumer facing websites.”
DeMott said that the Evopay system is not “frozen” and that several million dollars have moved through it in the past several days, despite the holds placed on some accounts. In its email to clients, the company indicated that it would be reviewing accounts for relative risk in coming days. Some accounts would see balances freed up soon, while others might require the client to deposit funds to hold in escrow if there is high risk of cancellation.
“The job that now needs to be done by us, and everyone else, is to properly assess the exact level of counterparty risk in the system, and make sure that all trades are dealt with and funds handled in a transparent and timely manner,” the email read, in part. “In other words, we need to show the brokerage community that in a time of crisis, we can all be trusted.”
The company informed clients that it would be paying after events between now and August 31st for ongoing transactions, but expects to return to payment upon acceptance and competition of an order regardless of event date beginning September 1.