Rivals No More? Nathan Hubbard's New Ticketing Firm Is Working With Ticketmaster to Transition First Client

Nathan Hubbard
Courtesy Photo

Nathan Hubbard

The ticketing giant is stepping in as the Pepsi Center and Kroenke's transition off the AXS ticketing system gets messy.

Nathan Hubbard is getting an assist from a familiar brand -- Ticketmaster.

Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, the first client of Rival -- the ticketing startup Hubbard launched last year -- is also working with Ticketmaster as its contract with AXS comes to an end on Aug. 1. Billboard has learned the transition has not been seamless, and Ticketmaster officials are now on the ground in Denver to provide interim ticketing services on a month-to-month basis. Those officials are helping Kroenke -- whose venues include the Pepsi Center in Denver -- with a large data migration that Rival has struggled with and sources say is being partially driven by AEG-owned AXS, which had powered Kroenke's regional ticketing system Altitude since 2009.   

It's also led to allegations that AXS officials aren't making the transition easy for Rival as its launch date approaches and Hubbard's company takes over an agreement first signed by officials with Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's ticketing firm Veritix approximately 10 years ago. (AEG and AXS bought Veritix in 2015).

A spokesperson for AXS tells Billboard that the company plans to terminate Kroenke's software license on Aug. 1 and transfer the remaining barcodes for any outstanding events to Altitude, which would be required to integrate the barcodes into their system. It would be much easier, sources tell Billboard, if AXS just handled the ticketing for any events that have already been put on sale, which is generally the industry practice. (In a statement to Billboard, AXS says its approach is considered a "standard industry practice.")

“Ticketmaster stepped up to help make the transition to Rival that AXS declined to facilitate,” a source close to the situation says. “Rival is in a much better position to launch successfully.”

Another ticketing executive not connected to either company put it this way: "Industry standard is that we take care of each other through the transition." 

Ticketmaster is currently working a month-to-month basis. Josh Kroenke is an investor in Rival and his father Stan Kroenke's new NFL stadium in Inglewood, which is set to open for the Los Angeles Ram's 2020 season, is also in play as part of a potentially larger deal with Ticketmaster.

A number of events at properties that had been serviced by Altitude are now being sold on Ticketmaster, like this Oct. 24 date for Baby Shark Live at the Paramount Theater. 

Billboard reached out to officials at Rival and Ticketmaster and was told neither company would be commenting.

UPDATE: This story was updated to more accurately represent Ticketmaster's role working with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.