After DOJ Approval, Ticketmaster Buys Former CEO's Company Rival

Nathan Hubbard
Courtesy Photo

Nathan Hubbard

The deal includes Rival's lucrative contract for Kroenke Sports and Entertainment.

Nathan Hubbard's ticketing startup Rival has been purchased by Ticketmaster, Billboard has learned.

Launched in 2018 by the former Ticketmaster chief executive, Rival had aims of challenging the Live Nation-owned ticketing company's dominance in North America, but struggled to launch and after months of negotiations, was sold by investors.

In March the Department of Justice approved the purchase of the ticketing startup and its lucrative contract with Kroenke Sports and Entertainment. The purchase also included Rival's technology and staff, minus Hubbard, who will pursue other ventures, sources confirmed.

Hubbard raised more $30 million for Rival as part of its effort to develop a challenger to Ticketmaster, but the company never sold a ticket and ultimately ceded the Kroenke contract to Ticketmaster in August. Billionaire Stan Kroenke's entertainment empire is one of the most coveted in sports and live entertainment, and includes a number of professional sports teams and venues, including the Pepsi Center and Dicks Sporting Goods Park in Denver, as well as the new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

Stan Kroenke's son Josh Kroenke was an investor in Rival along with Andreessen Horowitz and Upfront Ventures. All three sold their stakes in Rival as part of the acquisition.

The ticketing contract for Altitude Tickets -- the regional ticketing brand for Kroenke's Colorado venues, which include 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Denver's Paramount Theatre and the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo -- had previously been held by AEG's ticketing company AXS.

Instead of switching to Rival in July when AXS' contract ended, Kroenke transitioned its events to Ticketmaster and the three companies began negotiating the sale of Rival. The deal then received the blessing of the Department of Justice, which monitors Ticketmaster as part of a consent decree linked to its purchase by Live Nation in 2010. That decree was extended through 2025 earlier this year.

Billboard reached out to Ticketmaster and Rival for this article. Neither opted to provide a comment.

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