Former baseball star Alex Rodriguez and business partner Marc Lore have announced a $20 million funding round for a ticketing and fan experience business that they intend to launch to take on Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster brand. The duo say the startup, called Jump, has secured a total of $30 million in funding thus far, and will be aimed at disrupting the status quo in ticketing.
“As Alex and I began exploring ownership opportunities with sports teams, we spoke to industry execs and began seeing first-hand how many teams were missing the mark when it came to their fan experience,” Lore told Bloomberg in an email. “We quickly realized that there were so many untapped opportunities to rethink the entire fan journey.”
After early funding from the founders, which include Rodriguez and Lore, the recent funding round was led by Forerunner Ventures and joined by Courtside Ventures, Will Ventures and Mastry Ventures. Additional investors include MetaLab and Drive by DraftKings.
According to Bloomberg, the pair began considering a move in the ticketing sector in 2020 after a bid to purchase the New York Mets. During that process, they concluded that there were ways that the consumer experience could be vastly improved, “by developing a service that caters to fans in the weeks running up to a game, during a match, and in the weeks afterwards.”
“As Alex and I began exploring ownership opportunities with sports teams, we spoke to industry execs and began seeing first-hand how many teams were missing the mark when it came to their fan experience,” Lore said in an email. “We quickly realized that there were so many untapped opportunities to rethink the entire fan journey.”
As for how they intend to do that, details are scarce at this time – there has been mention of a new kind of “dynamic” ticketing, one that allows fans to pay more to move up to a better seat once an event has started – presumably leveraging seats that are unsold either through the box office or through resale inventory partners. Management also hopes to “work with existing ticket sellers and open up the industry with less exclusive deals,” which would be a tall order given the dominant position and long-term contract exclusivity that Ticketmaster typically demands in its dealmaking with venues and other organizations.
The announcement of the high profile group moving into ticketing comes at a unique time in the industry, which has been rocked by several scandals related to Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster’s dominance and allegations of anticompetitive behavior and poor consumer experiences related to that. Following a harshly critical Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the industry in January, there are hints that new legislation is being worked on to address the industry’s issues, and lawmakers have openly asked the Department of Justice to take action if they find competition violations in their ongoing investigations of the California-based entertainment giant.
Headline photo via Wikimedia Commons – © Rubenstein, photographer Martyna Borkowski – cropped to fit page
Last Updated on March 2, 2023 by Dave Clark