Support Marketplace

AEG looks to take on Ticketmaster

Singer Beyonce performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show February 3, 2013. Beyonce's upcoming tour is the first time that customers will be able to buy tickets exclusively from AXS, the ticket-selling platform developed by entertainment conglomerate AEG.

Time to pull out your planner and mark your calendar. June 28th is the day Beyonce will launch her U.S. tour. She's performing at L.A.'s Staples Center -- the busiest concert venue in the country. Tickets for that show go on sale this Monday. It's the first time that customers will be able to buy tickets exclusively from AXS, the ticket selling platform developed by entertainment conglomerate AEG.

It is the most recent in a long line of companies that have tried to take on Ticketmaster, and the Beyonce ticket sale will be a big test for the AXS system. Thousands of people will log onto the site all at once, and very few companies outside Ticketmaster have been able to that pull off.

Agata Kaczanowska is a senior analyst at IBIS World. She calls the gamble ”a no-brainer for them because it will boost their income.”

Ticketmaster sold about 150 million tickets last year. Twenty million of those were at AEG venues. So with its own platform, AEG would get to keep ticket fees on those 20 million tickets. And it would have more control over prices.

“And on the flip side, if talent is deciding between several venues AEG can make a more competitive offer for them,” Kaczanowska said.

Most smaller venue owners avoid using Ticketmaster which is known for its high fees. But not all of them.

Barbara Wiggins is the executive director of the Topeka Performing Arts Center in Topeka, Kansas. The 2,500-seat venue has an exclusive contract with Ticketmaster. Wiggins says that the advantage to using Ticketmaster is the massive amount of data the company has collected over the years.

“Well if we're selling a touring Broadway show and Ticketmaster has a database for people that are typically theater buyers in the region then we are able to have access to that information,” she said.

Of course, Ticketmaster's massive size also means it's slower to innovate. This is where AEG hopes to capitalize. One of the features of AXS allows customers to control their entire concert-going experience from purchasing a ticket to buying snacks at the concession window. So you could pre-order a pretzel and a soda and have it waiting for you at your seat.

That way, you won't miss a minute of Beyonce.

About the author

David Weinberg is a general assignment reporter at Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...