Just days after renewing its contract with Ticketmaster, the National Football League has announced a new partnership with StubHub as the NFL’s first authorized resale marketplace, directly integrating the secondary giant into a new open-architecture digital ticketing system.
Starting next season, StubHub users will be able to easily buy and sell tickets for all 32 NFL teams on the eBay-owned platform, tapping into Ticketmaster’s API to transfer digital tickets, manage inventory and create a more seamless customer experience. While it’s not the first time the two rivals worked together -- Ticketmaster and StubHub have a similar Major League Baseball integration -- the agreement brings a shift to the competitive landscape that started in 2008 when the NFL and Ticketmaster entered into an exclusive partnership to lock up the secondary market for Ticketmaster’s TicketExchange.
The $200 million deal -- renewed for another five years in 2012 -- helped Ticketmaster quickly grow its market share of secondary tickets but never led to full exclusivity; StubHub continued to sell NFL ticketing inventory and had more flexibility on pricing, often listing tickets below face value for slow-selling games. Last week, Ticketmaster announced it had renewed its 10-year-old agreement with the NFL and would launch a next-generation ticketing system that would see the two organizations move away from paper tickets and bar codes. Replacing them would be digital tickets that sat on a user’s phone inside the Ticketmaster app, or inside a RFID-enabled card readable through Ticketmaster’s venue software Presence. As part of the agreement, Ticketmaster would enable its open API to allow the sale and validation of tickets on third-party marketplaces. The first to be announced was StubHub.