Touring

Ticketmaster Plans Longterm Role in Denver Working With Kroenke Sports and Entertainment

An exterior shot of the Pepsi Center before the game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets on Jan. 9, 2014 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

An exterior shot of the Pepsi Center before the game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets on Jan. 9, 2014 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. 

No word on how Nathan Hubbard's ticketing startup Rival, which won the Kroenke contract from AXS, will be involved going forward.

Ticketmaster is planning a long-term role in Denver, potentially providing ticketing services for Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, Billboard has learned. Nathan Hubbard's firm Rival had won the contract to provide ticketing for KSE starting Aug. 1,  Billboard reported earlier this month.

Ticketmaster engineers are now on the ground at the Pepsi Center working on transitioning KSE venues off AXS and executives at the Live Nation-owned ticketing company have begun direct talks with the Kroenkes, Billboard has learned. Venues like Dicks Sporting Good Park in Denver and the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado have already begun listing tickets with Ticketmaster and KSE's Major League Soccer team the Colorado Rapids is now using Ticketmaster for single game ticket sales. Single game sells for the NBA typically begin in August after the league's schedule is released.

Earlier this month, Billboard reported that Ticketmaster had agreed to begin selling tickets for KSE on a month-to-month basis as ticketing startup Rival worked through a complex data migration with KSE's former ticketing partner AXS. Rival was officially announced last year by former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard, with backing from Silicon Valley's Andreessen Horowitz and Santa Monica, Calif.-based Upfront Ventures. Josh Kroenke, who serves as president of both Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche, is a Rival investor.

"No one has materially made a big run at Ticketmaster in the past generation," Upfront Ventures partner Greg Bettinelli told the Wall Street Journal last year when Rival was announced. 

"We've basically not changed the format of the access credential since the Roman Colosseum," Hubbard told the paper at the time. "They used rocks. We use flat pieces of wood."

KSE also owns Altitude Tickets, which had signed a 10-year agreement to license Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's Veritix platfom in 2009 to ticket all oif KSE's teams and venues. AEG-owned AXS merged with Veritix in 2015 and Rival was supposed to take over the Altitude account, considered one of the most complex in ticketing because of its diverse client portfolios with four professional sports teams and seven venues and parks, on Aug. 1.

With one week to go, it's unclear if Rival is going to launch by Aug. 1 and a number of concerts and events for Altitude clients have begun to pop up on Ticketmaster, including an Oct. 27 show by Twenty One Pilots, a Nov. 10 concert by Post Malone and a Dec. 1 concert at 1st Bank Arena by The 1975.

Also in play in the discussions between Kroenke and Live Nation is a new $5 billion stadium being built in Inglewood, scheduled to open next year. Stan Kroenke, father to Josh Kroenke and the billionaire owner of the LA Rams, has discussed granting the ticketing contract to Ticketmaster, which provides ticketing services for 31 or the 32 teams in the National Football League and is planning to launch its SafeTix program with the league. While Ticketmaster would like to ticket the NFL stadium, Kroenke will likely have to rely on Live Nation to provide content for concerts at both the stadium and an accompanying performing arts venue.

No official deal between Ticketmaster and KSE has been reached, and the two firms have discussed Ticketmaster either buying Rival outright or Ticketmaster potentially buying out all or some of Kroenke's investment in Rival.