Ticketmaster has now acquired Rival, the ticketing startup founded by its former chief executive officer Nathan Hubbard, as first reported by Billboard. The deal came about following clearance from the Department of Justice in accordance with its monitoring of practices due to the now-extended consent decree of parent company Live Nation.
Hubbard launched Rival in 2018 to – as its name aptly implies – serve as a robust competitor to the Ticketmaster and Live Nation monopoly. At the time, he envisioned the company as a technology platform for live events “that makes teams and artists more money, gives fans fair access to amazing experiences, and keeps everyone safer.” Hubbard noted that the use of facial-recognition technology would give back control to teams and artists into who is purchasing tickets for a given price in any venue.
However, the startup faced challenges in its early stages before landing its first client, the prolific Kroenke Sports and Entertainment. The empire, which owns various LA and Denver area sports teams and venues, had its Colorado brand Altitude Tickets in a lucrative contract with Rival, but the deal ultimately fell flat.
Purchasing negotiations began last summer after Ticketmaster stepped in to provide transitional support. Altitude Tickets, which services venues like the 1st Bank Center, Paramount Theatre and the Colorado State Fair, previously held a contract with AXS but rather than renewing with the AEG-owned company or switching to Rival, the Kroenke regional brand signed with Ticketmaster.
Rival had initially received more than $30 million from notable investors, including former Twitter exec Dick Costolo, Stripe co-founders John and Patrick Collison, Andreesen Horowitz and Upfront Ventures, among others. Despite these efforts, the company never sold a ticket in the lead-up to Ticketmaster’s purchasing. Upfront Ventures, Andreesen Horowitz and Kroenke family member Josh Kroenke have reportedly all sold their stake in Rival as a result.
The price of acquisition has not yet been disclosed, though it does include the technology and staff at Rival, with the exception of Hubbard. The former CEO is said to be focusing on other ventures.