Friends of G2 Strategic,
We have counseled many of our European clients that they must open their arms to re-sale and re-distribution of season tickets.
We understand that the image of the secondary market has had a negative reception in most European companies, largely due to unscrupulous business practices from some of the re-sale companies. That said, particularly for those of you struggling with ticket utilization (“no shows”) from your season ticket customers, the secondary market is one of the key solutions, as long as the process is convenient, simple to use, secure and the customer is not overly-burdened with restrictions and rules.
In the States, the sports and entertainment industry were initially resistant. However, today the quality of the secondary buying experience has improved dramatically, most clubs are merging primary and secondary seating inventory so the buyer can view all available inventory on a single platform, and the leagues have embraced secondary ticketing as a vital service for their season ticket (B2B and B2C) customers and an increasingly-important revenue stream.
A recent article in The Ticketing Business
revealed that ticket utilization
at the recent Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang was poor, primarily due to re-sale restrictions. They announced that 94% of all seats were sold, but there were thousands and thousands of empty seats for just about every event.
In the States, there are several keys to the success of the re-sale market:
- The customer sets the price, based on supply and demand.
- The clubs/leagues enter into a partnership with a ticketing platform that “powers” a micro-site that is password-accessible to season ticket customers. Once there, the season ticket customer can place their tickets for sale, at any price they set.
- Because the clubs/leagues and ticketing platforms become partners, many of these deals include a substantial sponsorship paid by the ticketing provider.
- If/when the tickets sell, the ticketing provider receives a commission from the seller and the buyer (typically 10-15% on each side of the transaction). This is then split with the club, generating substantial incremental revenue.
- For clubs concerned that people will duplicate the bar or QR code (paper or digital), there are new technologies, including a proximity beacon system that blurs the code until the customer approaches access control, and another we just learned about that changes the code every few seconds.
- In addition, the clubs and leagues have implemented effective communication campaigns warning buyers that tickets purchased from unauthorized sites may not be valid and that the customer may not be allowed to enter the venue if the code has already been read, or if the code is not valid. In reverse, they have effectively communicated that buying secondary tickets via the official provider (typically via the club’s website) guarantees admission.
- Most re-sale tickets are paperless — essential for convenience. Clubs in the States are quickly eliminating paper tickets, and most do not use cards that need to be physically transferred. The clubs in the States are rapidly moving to digital (paperless) tickets.
- This is a significant benefit for salespeople selling season tickets — because it overcomes reluctance from potential customers who know they will only be able to use the tickets for some of the games.
- The difference in the per-game price of a season ticket vs. a single-game ticket is relatively modest, and often there is no discount at all. Instead, most clubs in the states differentiate by:
- Providing season ticket customers with benefits, services and amenities that are not provided to single-game customers.
- Reserving the best seating locations (both general public and VIP hospitality seats) exclusively for season ticket customers, preventing single-game customers from “cherry picking” the highest-demand games.
Marshall Glickman, CEO