NY’s Barclays Center Abruptly Drops SeatGeek for Ticketmaster NY’s Barclays Center Abruptly Drops SeatGeek for Ticketmaster
In a sudden shift, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is reportedly switching its ticketing provider, running back to Ticketmaster just a year after switching to competitor... NY’s Barclays Center Abruptly Drops SeatGeek for Ticketmaster

In a sudden shift, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is reportedly switching its ticketing provider, running back to Ticketmaster just a year after switching to competitor SeatGeek. The move, reported Friday by the New York Times, came abruptly, noticed when a Friday concert announcement for a May performance by Jackson Wang sent customers to Ticketmaster for tickets when they go on sale, rather than SeatGeek.

Ticketmaster had ticketed Barclays Center events, as well as Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty home games, until a July 2021 announcement that the venue was switching to SeatGeek. That deal was reportedly for seven years, but is no more, with Ticketmaster expected to take over ticketing duties for upcoming events gradually over the coming months.

“It’s very rare for such a cancellation,” New York University professor Larry Miller told the Times. “Ticketing platform deals with venue owners are not of short duration. I can’t think of a time over the last decade where a major venue has dropped a ticketing platform early on in the deal cycle.”

Both BSE Global, which operates the venue and teams, and SeatGeek struck positive tones for the Times when they were contacted, but neither would specify whether any specific ticketing issues or incidents had led to the decision.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for BSE Global said that SeatGeek “provided our fans with a first-class game day ticketing experience, and we’re appreciative of the time and energy they put into our work together.”

The president of SeatGeek, Danielle du Toit, expressed no upset at Barclays’ change of direction. “It’s never easy to part ways with a client,” she said in a statement, “but as we look to the future, SeatGeek is grounded in our strategy and road map that are geared towards solving the challenges that plague the live entertainment experience.”

The inevitable question that will surround this change is obvious, and already being asked in the Times’ reporting – Did Ticketmaster or its parent Live Nation use threats or conditions to use their product in order to see shows placed at the venue in the competitive New York market – where Madison Square Garden is just over five miles away in Manhattan, and the newly opened UBS Arena slightly under 20 miles east in Elmont, where former Barclays tenant New York Islanders now play.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster have been dogged for years by allegations that they regularly violated the terms of a 2010 consent decree that set out rules for how the combined companies would have to behave. A 2019 the Department of Justice investigation found numerous instances of behavior that violated the terms of the agreement, but all the entertainment giant got for the violations were some fines and an extension of the decree, which is still in effect to this day. A new DOJ investigation is reportedly underway in the wake of the Taylor Swift Eras Tour presale mess, and subsequent calls by numerous lawmakers to break up the companies.

On Friday, Ticketmaster President Joe Berchtold minced no words when asked about the switch by the Times, saying “In a statement, a spokeswoman for BSE Global said that SeatGeek “provided our fans with a first-class game day ticketing experience, and we’re appreciative of the time and energy they put into our work together.”

But data does show that Barclays Center got fewer Live Nation-promoted tours since switching to SeatGeek. The Times cites data from Pollstar that indicates that pre-pandemic, Barclays Center averaged between 20-25 LNE shows per year. Since making the switch, the venue got a total of 13.

Instead, some very high-profile shows were routed through UBS Arena, which does use Ticketmaster. That building, despite being located much further from the city center of New York (though still in the very populous Nassau County further out on Long Island) was chosen for shows including Daddy Yankee, The Who, Post Malone, Twenty One Pilots, Journey, Tool, Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish and a “one-night-only” performance by Harry Styles in May of 2022 that preceded his major “Harry’s House” run in another Ticketmaster client NYC venue, Madison Square Garden.

SeatGeek’s loss of the client is the first seeming setback in a long string of wins of client acquisition in recent years. The upstart has wrestled away teams and venues including five NFL franchises, numerous English Premier League clubs, and the entire Jujamcyn Theaters chain on Broadway.

Last Updated on January 14, 2023 by Dave Clark

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