Ticket Sales Business Models – The Retailer, The Marketplace, The “Enabler” Platform

Event ticket sales is no joke. The market makes up for 70% of sports revenue and up to 60% of music and film revenue. Events, big or small, bring people together. We are social beings and we really like to get close to each other and enjoy life together. Throughout the ages people have gathered around gladiators and actors, in ancient Rome. They cheered for their favorite knights during the Middle Ages and now – everything’s available. Even Justin Bieber.

As the world grew smaller, we now can quickly join a local tweet meet or buy tickets to Madonna’s concert or the Superbowl. With so many events and so little time a few companies evolved into (sometimes) friendly electronic helpers. Tickets are bought online and three models have evolved to cater to our needs.

Throughout this entertaining and information packed ebook you’ll find out which are these three proven and dominant business models. You’ll get an idea of how big the market is, who are the main players and how did they make it to the spotlight. You’ll also get a graphical understanding of business models, information related to revenue and funding. Let’s first have a look at the market.

The Market

ticketsalesTicket sales provide the financial backbone to any company in the event organizing and management business. In 2013 the top 100 movies grossed approximately $10 billion, Madonna’s 2012 MDNA tour alone grossed $305 million and another $75 million in merchandise sales, making her the highest paid musician. The NFL brings in an annual revenue of $9.5 billion (second in line is baseball, with “just” $7 billion in 2012).

Ticket sales generate roughly 60 to 70% of any given sports revenue, and 40 to 60 % for the music and film industry. The rest is split between sponsorships, endorsements and merchandise, but these too are dependent on ticket sales figures, a clear indicator of popularity and reach.

Ticket sales have been transformed, like any other industry, by the internet and several business models appeared during the dot.com boom. Only three survived and thrived. Let’s have a look at these models and the companies that used them to dominate the ticket sales market, starting with number 1: the ticket retailer.

The ticket retailer

Much like a conventional goods retailer, the ticket retailer is the middleman between event organizers and event attendees. Ticket retailers buy bulk and sale “en detail”. The industry sports an wide variety of competitors: there’s Ticketmaster and …. errr … well that’s pretty much it, as Ticketmaster is the biggest company on the market and virtually a monopoly.

There are of course smaller companies but the big venues are sold through Ticketmaster or Ticketmaster satellite companies such as GetMeIn or TicketsNow. If you do intend to take on Ticketmaster, as the new ticket retailer on the market, here’s what you need to consider:

Simple ticket sales retailer business flow

Simple ticket sales retailer business flow

The components of a ticket retail business

The main things you need to consider are:

  1. ticket partners / suppliers: think supply. Although Ticketmaster has it all covered up as the parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, “owns” roughly 200 artists (such as Jay-Z, Madonna, U2), you’ll need your tickets. Start thinking about brushing shoulders with concert organizers, sports managers and such. These people will be those supplying you with the product: tickets.
  2. a ticket shop: once you get a hold on those tickets, you’ll need to sell them. Much like a ticket – like Amazon, you need a shop where people can register and buy tickets
  3. ticket outlets: if you’re really going to go against the big boys, think about this – Ticketmaster has a wide network of ticket outlets that lets it quickly distribute tickets offline, as well as online
  4. fulfillment centers: just like other products, tickets need to be packaged and sent to customers. Each of these fulfillment centers needs to be equipped with printing machines that handle needed security.
  5. the market: people will only buy from you if they know you exist and as such you’ll need to think about investing in marketing and advertising.

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Ticket Sales Companies Infographic – Who’s Who?

Last week we’ve had a look at world’s top 5 ticket sales and event management companies. To put things in perspective, below you’ll find an infographic showing some of the facts and figures you might not now about the leaders and challengers in the ticket sales market.

SEE ALSO: Ticket Sales Business Models – The Retailer, The Marketplace, The “Enabler” Platform »

The infographic focuses on three companies – StubHub, Eventbrite and Ticketmaster. Beauties and the beast. Things you’ll find below: info regarding the business model, founding dates, growth numbers and such.

Ticket sales infographic

Ticket sales infographic

Sources:

Top 5 Ticket Sales and Event Management Companies. Have a look behind the curtains.

top5ticket_thmbLong gone are the days people would wait in line to buy tickets. Conferences, plays, movies, sports events – they all have one thing in common – the business model implies selling tickets and organising the event. With innovative solutions event managers and venue owners can now leverage the power of cloud solutions, CRMs, mobile apps and a bunch of other buzzwords.

In this post you’ll get a look at the champion and the challengers. The market is split between marketplaces (such as StubHub), ticket retailers (some of which are rather large – see Ticketmaster) and solutions providers, such as Xing Events.

SEE ALSO: Ticket Sales Business Models – The Retailer, The Marketplace, The “Enabler” Platform »

Let’s start with number 5 and count down to the king of the hill:

5. Cvent

cventCvent was founded in 1999 and since then it grew into a multinational company. Cvent is now present in more than 100 countries. It employs than 1400 people worldwide, and it just had its IPO in 2013. Hooray!

It’s mission is “to transform the events and meetings industry”. To do that it lists more than 200 000 hotels and venues all around the world.

As for its IPO – Cvent is doing damn well on the market. Unlike some other companies (cough.. cough… Facebook) they’ve had a steady growth right from the beginning. After listing their common stock at a price of $21.00 per share in august 2013 they had spectacular growth and they are now at $36.00 per share.

Cvent acquired SeedLabs (now CrowdTouch) in 2012

Cvent acquired SeedLabs (now CrowdTouch) in 2012

The company was cofounded by Reggie Aggarwal (CEO), Chuck Goorah (Sales and Marketing), David Quatrone (CTO) and Dwayne Sye (CIO).

Cvent may not be quite Mr. Popularity. I guess it has something to do with all corporate, suit and tie attitude their projecting, as opposed to a more Californian look. Nevertheless they are one fast growing tech company and they did steal the spotlight in 2011. That’s when they managed to raise $136 million – the biggest software investment deal since 2007.

After growing at a pace of over 50% every year until 2011 the company wanted to make sure they continue growing. In 2012 Cvent bought 2 mobile event management companies: SeedLabs (rebranded CrowdTorch) and Crowd Compass.

Cvent Key Takeaways:

  • Cvent is one of the fastest growing companies in event management software
  • It’s a multinational company with a taste for acquisition
  • It had its IPO in 2013 and it now has a market cap of over $1 billion

4. Xing Events (Former Amiando)

The company formerly known as Amiando was purchased in 2010 by Xing. Later on it was rebranded Xing Events. It’s worth mentioning that it was probably not a great exit for the company. Rumor has it that the €10 million paid for Amiando was not at all satisfying for early investors. Then again the company seems to be doing great in the last three years since the purchase.

Le Web partners with Amiando to manage events / sell tickets

Le Web partners with Amiando to manage events / sell tickets

Xing itself is not an overly popular company. It is a competitor to LinkedIn and that is a tough spot to be in. Being a german company they are doing pretty well in Germany. Zee Germans make up for 76% of Xing’s traffic. 90% of it’s traffic comes from german speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland).

It seems the joint venture took the best of worlds. In the last three years since the acquisitions, Xing, the social network, has been providing less value to Amiando than Amiando has been providing to Xing. Some fairly popular conferences organize their events and ticket sales using Amiando /Xing Events. One of them is Le Web, probably the most popular tech conference in Europe.

Xing Events’ best features are its integrated ticket sales / mobile app / entry management  solution. It allows its users to create event websites, customized ticket shops and process payments.

The product is now an end-to-end solution for event management and ticket sales and it’s growing fast, allowing Xing to expand its presence outside Europe.

Amiando Key Takeaways

  • Amiando was purchased by Xing in 2010 and has been growing steadily
  • It is now an end-to-end solution for event planning and ticket sales
  • The company acts as a payment processor / collector for ticket sales and charges a standard fee of approximately €1 / visitor + ~6% of ticket cost (registration fee + payment processing fee)

 

SEE ALSO: Ticket Sales Business Models – The Retailer, The Marketplace, The “Enabler” Platform »

3. StubHub

StubHub_logoStubHub, now a subsidiary of Ebay, is the world’s largest marketplace for secondary market tickets. It was founded in 2000 by Eric Baker and Jeff Fluhr, former investment bankers.

From the largest ticket marketplace in the US it quickly grew into world’s largest ticket marketplace, now serving US, UK and Canada. It is now the go to place for anyone looking into selling and buying tickets for sports events , concerts, theater and entertainment events.

After being featured in 2006 in Fortune 500’s fastest growing companies, StubHub was quickly purchased by Ebay for a reported $310 million . The company has now over 1250 employees and it’s expanding its operations quickly to keep up with growth. The mothership, Ebay, is actually forwarding ticket sellers to StubHub, in an effort to consolidate the market.

Interestingly, on of StubHub’s competitor, Viagogo, a company that has so far raised $65 million, was founded in 2005 by Eric Baker. Sounds familiar? It should. He’s one of the two guys that founded StubHub.

StubHub Key Takeaways

  • StubHub is the largest ticket marketplace for sports events, theaters, concerts and entertainment events
  • It was founded in 2000 and acquired in 2007 by Ebay for $310 million
  • It’s present in the US, UK and Canada

2. Eventbrite

Eventbrite Founders. Left to right: Julia Hartz, Kevin Hartz, Renaud Visage

Eventbrite Founders. Left to right: Julia Hartz, Kevin Hartz, Renaud Visage

Eventbrite is a self-service platform for managing and marketing events, selling tickets promoting events across social networks. It allows event managers to promote events and attendees to find these events and buy tickets.

The company was founded by Kevin Hartz and Julia Hartz back in 2006. Legend has it that after the two got engaged (notice the “Hartz”?) Julia moved to the Bay Area and helped setup the company . The platform was developed by Renaud Visage, current CTO and third co-founder. At the time the company was just a startup, Renaud was the only developer so for one year he developed, designed and maintained the platform.

Years later Renaud is still the CTO of Eventbrite. He is generous enough to provide those in the lookout for a roadmap to an $1billion company. Technically speaking. Here it is bellow:

Eventbrite did pretty well in 2013. 25% of its total sales up to date happened in the last 6 months.

Eventbrite did pretty well in 2013. 25% of its total sales up to date happened in the last 6 months.

In 2013 the company reported a total of $2 billion in total ticket sales, with $500 millions in the last 6 months. The company actually sold more in the past 6 months than it did in its first five years.

How did that happen – how could such a growth happen so fast? Two words: global expansion. Eventbrite started in the US but it’s now available in 7 languages and used in 179 countries.

“We… are ready to put even more power into our global presence” said Julia Hartz – Eventbrite President

Eventbrite has also acquired some companies on its way to the big payday (expect something big with this company). Eventioz and London-based Lanyrd were both acquired in 2013, after Eventbrite secured a $60 million investment, led by Tiger Investment Global.  The reason? Same as above – Global Expansion. Both companies listed above are doing great in the global presence department. Eventioz is an event planning and ticket sales leader in South-America. Lanyrd is a great resource for anyone looking into adding small and medium events such as “conferences, workshops, unconferences, evening events with talks, conventions, trade shows and so forth“.

Eventbrite Key Takeaways

  • Eventbrite is now the fastest growing mid-size events management platform
  • Its growth has been vastly accelerated in the past year
  • 25% of its total sales up to date happened in the last 6 months
  • Given the new investment, its fast growth and global expansion – expect something big coming up in 2014-2015. My bets are on an IPO/large acquisition deal. Maybe even trying to take on …

1. The King of the Ticket Hill: Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster is the granddaddy of all ticket sales and event marketing companies. It’s been founded in … get this … 1976. It’s the oldest and biggest company on the list. It has paid $388million for its three latest acquisitions, Front Line Management, SLO Ltd and Ticketsnow . That figure is 2.7 times bigger than Eventbrite’s total funding to date ($140million).

The company is the king of the hill when it comes to ticket sales for concerts. In 2010 it merged with Live Nation to create Live Nation Entertainment. Maybe you haven’t heard about the company but you’ve definitely heard about its operations. Besides its creepy “One nation under music” tagline, the company sports some of the most popular artists in the world.

Ticketmaster is a pretty big part of Live Nation Entertainment.

Ticketmaster is a pretty big part of Live Nation Entertainment.

The company manages artists, merchandise, tours and ticket sales for a bunch of artists you may have heard of: Jay-Z, Madonna, Beatles, U2, Justin Timberlake and more. Among them – this year’s media sensation: Miley Cyrus.

"That's Mr. King of the Hill".  There's no picture of Mr. Maffei not smiling but then again I think he's not the guy you want frowning.

“That’s Mr. King of the Hill to you!”.
There’s no picture of Mr. Maffei not smiling but then again I think he’s not the guy you want frowning.

On the company board sits mr. Greg Maffei, a seemingly not very important person, as he seems not worthy enough for his own Wikipedia page. He is, however, worthy of being the chairman of Live Nation Entertainment AND president of Liberty Media. Just as with LNE – you might not be very familiar with the company – but you do know its subsidiaries. Among them: Associated Press, Barnes & Noble, Time Warner, Viacom and others. Mr. Maffei seems to also be a pretty hard working guy: In 2012 he was the 3rd best payed executive in the US Media ($391mill). You may want to have a look at his payment sources (see previous link).

So that’s where Ticketmaster hangs around. With the big guys. It has the backing it needs, it has its ticket sales outlets, it has two fulfilment centers in  Texas and West Virginia. It has it all. So much that in 1995 Perl Jam accused Ticketmaster of excersing a monopoly over ticket distribution and used its market power to gouge consumers with excessive service fees. [see source]. The Justice Department, of course, cracked down on Ticketmaster’s unlawfully practices … oh wait… it didn’t. 

The Justice Department abruptly dropped the investigation without further notice. Of course that was a great decision for Ticketmaster. At the time the JD had its Antitrust resources stretched thin as it was investigating another company – Microsoft. Guess who owned 80% of Ticketmaster at the time? Well if it wasn’t Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Ticketmaster is still the leader after a not so glorious past. Its practices are often frowned upon. Scratch that – Ticketmaster is actually one of the most hated companies in the US, its competitors are catching up and the company hadn’t had a stellar year in 2013. The company is a leader in its field. A hated, feared, sieged leader and it is a matter of time until it loses supremacy.

SEE ALSO: Ticket Sales Business Models – The Retailer, The Marketplace, The “Enabler” Platform »

Ticketmaster Key Takeaways

  • Ticketmaster is the largest company in ticketing and event management
  • It’s part of a very large conglomerate of businesses
  • It has a shady past and a gloomy future
  • Competitors will soon catch up

So these are the top 5 ticket sales and event management companies. There are, of course, others out there but this is a pretty good place to start if you want to get an understanding of ticket sales and event management industry.

There are also worthy mentions, smaller but very interesting companies such as Ticket Tailor, GuestManager and UK based Ticket Script.

SEE ALSO: Ticket Sales Business Models – The Retailer, The Marketplace, The “Enabler” Platform »

If in need for a more graphic overview on this post – click here to have a look at the “Ticket Sales Companies Infographic – Who’s Who”.

ticket-sales-infographic-thumb

The next post will focus on the anatomy of these companies, their business models and trends that will change the way we sell and buy tickets.