Ticketmaster has expanded its global ticketing operations into China through an alliance with Beijing CSI Ticketing Development. The new joint venture Beijing Gehua Ticketmaster Ticketing Co. (BGTTC)

Ticketmaster has expanded its global ticketing operations into China through an alliance with Beijing CSI Ticketing Development.

The new joint venture Beijing Gehua Ticketmaster Ticketing Co. (BGTTC) will serve as the exclusive ticketing service provider of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the XXIX Olympic Games in 2008. A formal contract signing ceremony in Beijing seals the deal today (Oct. 27).

While the live entertainment business in China is in its nascent stages, the upside is enormous for Ticketmaster. "It really is explosive growth, and the market is moving at a pace that we certainly have not seen anywhere else before," Ticketmaster president/COO Sean Moriarty tells Billboard.biz.

"We are going to do the 2008 Games within the context of our [joint venture] partnership, and we are going to be pursuing other opportunities in Beijing within the context of that JV. At the same time, we are evaluating very carefully opportunities across mainland China and Hong Kong."

Terms of the deal, including economics and longevity, were not disclosed. BGTTC will provide all ticketing services and on-site box-office staffing in the People's Republic of China.

"Within that JV partnership we are going to [create] all of the core infrastructure that Ticketmaster has in every market that it operates: data center infrastructure, Internet infrastructure, phone room infrastructure, as well as the people to support that," Moriarty says. "We are going to make a substantial multimillion-dollar investment in China."

The Olympic Committee will determine the time frame and announcements of when tickets for Olympic events go on sale, but Moriarty is quick to point out that the partnership includes events prior to the Games. "If there are opportunities that present themselves before the Olympics, we certainly will be interested in pursuing them as well," he says. "I do believe you'll see us sell a ticket [in China] over the course of the next 12 months."

Beijing CSI Ticketing Development comprises China Sports Industry Group and Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group.

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