Could Ticketmaster’s extension with University of Florida herald the future of online ticketing?
In a move indicative of the changing ticketing industry, Ticketmaster has extended its partnership with the University of Florida as its official ticketing partner, allowing sales through Ticketmaster’s mobile-optimized Web site and app.
Ostensibly a continuation of a successful collaboration at face value, examining the elements at play during negotiation and looking at shifts in the broader market could have implications for the future of the online ticketing industry. Similar moves to monopolize programs’ primary and secondary ticket sales channels by competitors like StubHub tell a tale of online ticketing giants in an arms race, preparing for future skirmishes in the mobile space.
“With the proliferation of smartphones, smartwatches and other devices, brands are leveraging the capabilities of mobile wallet tickets to extend and enrich the experience,” said Danny Ackerman, director of product management at Urban Airship.
“Tickets can be tagged with status, seat section, venue and event type to support personalized messaging during the event and re-marketing after the event. Concession offers can be sent through mobile wallet tickets with personalized messaging based on the ticket holders’ location or status: for example, a brand can send a $5 beer promo code to ticket holders in seating sections 1, 3 and 5.
“After the event, mobile wallet tickets have a low deletion rate, so it’s a prime time for brands to retarget customers. For example, if a brand knows a customer attended a baseball game, it could update the mobile wallet pass with an offer to specific sporting event coming up in the future.”
The announcement is an extension of a partnership that began in 2008 with the sale of primary market tickets for University of Florida athletic events through Ticketmaster’s Web site. The collaboration then evolved to include sales on Ticketmaster’s mobile app, and then allowed for exclusive sanctioned sales of secondary market tickets on both channels.
The University of Florida has decided to renew its partnership with Ticketmaster early, and the reduction in negotiating power that such an approach produces betrays the University of Florida’s eagerness to stay with Ticketmaster at the expense of other options.
One object of the University of Florida’s zeal is was access to Ticketmaster’s expanding open platform that would enable vendors to assess key marketing and performance data. The platform supports a certified partner program that offers a service called Fan Interactive Marketing to assist partners with CRM lead strategy, campaign tracking and devices to help boost ROI on digital marketing campaigns.
On Ticketmaster’s end, the company can leverage its own analytics service, LiveAnalytics, to help partners better understand their engagements with subgroups of ticket buyers.
With such analytics and marketing tools at their disposal, it comes as no surprise that Ticketmaster is using them as bargaining chips in partnership negotiations. What comes as more of a surprise are the larger trends which these negotiations happen within.
New arena for competition
University of Florida is one of 15 colleges that have similar arrangements with Ticketmaster. Recently, Stubhub also announced an exclusive ticketing partnership with the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers for both primary and resale ticket sales (see story).
The arrangements could foreshadow the future of online ticket sales, where unsanctioned ticket scalping, fraud concerns and a swelling-yet-fractured secondary market could accelerate the primacy of integrated ticket marketplaces like Ticketmaster and StubHub, and necessitate brands’ alignment to one marketplace over another.
With more consumers than ever purchasing tickets over their mobile devices, having app-based solutions like integrated vendor partnerships will be an easier way to streamline the ticket-buying experience for consumers over having to download every separate team’s app individually.
And while robust analytics can help attract brands to platforms like Ticketmaster on the business side, online ticket vendors are sure to also pack plenty of amenities on the consumer side, as well. Earlier this year, StubHub introduced a feature that allowed app users to slide their smartphone into a pair of virtual reality goggles to receive a better view of a potential seat in a stadium or concert hall (see story).
“With the majority of Internet usage now taking place on mobile devices, it is imperative that all e-commerce is mobile friendly,” said David Naumann, vice president of Marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “Retailers and service providers are offering mobile friendly Web sites, mobile apps or both to make shopping easy.”
“Given the nature of ticketing, it makes sense to have a single source of service to prevent any chance of double-selling any seats. A one-stop shop for your team’s tickets also make it easier for marketing tickets on the team’s Web site and for fans to know where to shop for tickets.”