Secondary ticket site StubHub is to launch in the United Kingdom, according to reports. The Ebay-owned company is due to launch in the fourth quarter of 2011 and has been recruiting staff in Dublin ahead of its U.K. bow, claims The Financial Times. StubHub was sold to eBay for approximately $310 million in 2007.
Representatives from StubHub could not be reached for comment at press time.
The United Kingdom will be the first market outside of North America for StubHub to set up base. According to the FT, standalone high street retail outlets will accompany its online business, which is anticipated to place a larger emphasis on music concert tickets, as opposed to sporting events, which have proved lucrative in the States. The American arm of StubHub has partnerships in place with Major League Baseball and individual sports franchises such as the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants.
Its forthcoming U.K. launch will, however, see it come into stiff competition against a familiar name - StubHub co-founder Eric Baker, who originally set up the company in 2000 with fellow Stanford Business School graduate Jeff Fluhr. Baker left StubHub in 2004 and, having crossed the Atlantic, established U.K. secondary ticketing site Viagogo. Despite facing strong competition from its leading rival Seatwave, Viagogo is now the leading secondary ticket provider in the U.K. with over 20 localized sites in operation throughout Europe.
"When we came over here to start Viagogo and the ticket resell business we realized that there's two possible paths: one, it turns out that people don't like reselling tickets safely, they prefer going to a pub or using eBay," Baker tells Billboard.biz. "If on the other hand, as it turned out, we were right and there was a really good market here then it was inevitable that my friends from America would start coming over here. It was just a matter of time and quite frankly I'm probably a little surprised it took them as long as it did. It's a symptom of success."
According to Baker, Viagogo "sells hundreds of millions worth of tickets" each year and has more than doubled its business revenue on an annual basis, although he declines to reveal exact figures. Baker says that while StubHub's entry into the U.K. secondary ticket market is a development that he takes "seriously," he remains confident that Viagogo will continue to be the market leader.
"We understand the U.K. market because we've been here," he tells Billboard. "We already have a multinational business. We understand the local cultures and we understand that while ticket resale is universal, you do have to make it work for each geography and there is a learning curve that comes with that."
"We're very confident in our position," he goes on to say. "We're the leading resale provider in the U.K. That's the way it was yesterday, that's the way that it is today. And we're certainly confident that that will be the way that it is tomorrow. But we take any competitor seriously."