Ticketmaster president/CEO Sean Moriarty has responded to the recently announced ticketing deal between Live Nation and facility operator SMG for venues across North America, saying the agreement will have little effect on Ticketmaster’s future business.
“Every fan of live entertainment is well familiar with theatrics,” Moriarty said in a prepared statement. “The SMG/Live Nation ‘news’ release regarding ticketing is just that — theatrics. As often is the case, theatre can be entertaining, but it does not completely reflect reality.”
The alliance between SMG and Live Nation allows the latter to enter into an exclusive agreement to sell tickets at North American facilities controlled by SMG, providing a big boost to the launch of its ticketing service at third-party venues.
The first tickets will transition to Live Nation Ticketing in late 2009 and are expected to ramp up to an estimated 5 million tickets annually by 2011 as SMG’s current ticketing contracts — most of which are with Ticketmaster — expire.
Moriarty noted that SMG has exclusive contractual obligations to Ticketmaster through December 2010. He added that the Live Nation/SMG would put at risk less than 250,000 of Ticketmaster’s total ticket sales in 2009.
Meanwhile, when contracts allow, Live Nation will be the exclusive ticketer for all events at North American SMG buildings, not just Live Nation events. Moriarty pointed out that SMG does not own the buildings it manages, and “has a responsibility to make recommendations in accordance with the best interests of the municipalities” that the company represents.
“They mostly choose partners based on either a formal ‘request for proposal’ process or otherwise in a competitive bidding process,” he stated. “Regardless of this announcement, we will continue to bid and expect to win on the merits.”
Mike Evans, VP of sports and entertainment at SMG, says that his company only has a small fraction of agreements that require competitive bidding. “The majority of our clients rely on us to manage their venues in a way that maximizes their financial returns, and that includes ticketing,” Evans tells Billboard.biz.
“But it’s also booking, content, and providing a high degree of service. The bottom line is we control the majority of what our ticketing agreements are,” he continues.
Additional reporting by Ray Waddell, Nashville