Broker Genius and Seat Scouts announced Tuesday that the two companies would be merging. The two companies had been engaged in a lengthy legal battle , which is being set aside as Seat Scouts products and employees are brought under the Broker Genius umbrella. The merged companies will see Broker Genius’ Sam Sherman remain CEO with John Lucier as CFO. Drew Gainor, CEO and founder of Seat Scouts, will serve as Chief Product Officer. “By bringing our companies together through this merger, we are creating an even stronger platform for our clients,” says Sherman. “The combined business will have tremendous cost and technology synergies and will enable accelerated innovation. Drew and I have spent much of the last 4 months to get this merger done and I look forward to working together on our exciting roadmap.” “We are very excited to be joining the Broker Genius team,” Gainor added. “Combining our industry-leading products, Uptick, Atlas, Sync, and Event Watcher will guarantee our platform fits the needs of every ticket reseller. Now, more than ever, this industry needs a unified platform that can provide maximum efficiency to our clients’ ticket operations. Our team is committed to continuing to provide the same industry-leading innovation and service our clients have grown accustomed to.” Both companies were competing for ticket broker clients with tools for pricing properly to the marketplace in realtime using data analytics. Broker Genius was founded in 2013. Seat Scouts followed in 2017, entering the market to take on its established counterpart. A flurry of lawsuits included allegations of improper poaching of proprietary technology that went in favor of Broker Genius. Now united, the companies are focused on their 2021 product road map, “which includes brand new products as well as launching an all in one solution,” according to the press release announcing the merger. “This is the rare type of transaction that should excite investors, clients, board members, and employees alike,” says Guy Levy-Yurista , Ph.D., Chief Strategy Officer at Sisense, and a Broker Genius board member. “Being able to bring together two organizations that can offer a combined experience that will delight their customers while increasing shareholder value is not something that happens every day. Together we will be targeting the entire value chain in the multi-billion $’s events ticketing market that has just undergone a major disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic and jointly help rebuild this industry.” The press release announcing the merger is available here The post Broker Genius, Seat Scouts Announce Merger of Ticket Resale Tool Providers appeared first on TicketNews .
For the first time this season, Buffalo Bills fans will be allowed to watch their team in person. New York’s government has authorized just over 6,000 attendance for playoff games taking place in the Western New York city. The rights of those fans to use, gift, or resell those tickets, however, is being ignored despite being specifically enumerated in state law. “If you are not among the group of fans to receive a ticket to the Buffalo Bills’ wild-card playoff game, you aren’t getting in,” reads the opening sentence from a Buffalo News story on the restrictions, which include fully non-transferrable tickets that will likely utilize Ticketmaster’s controversial “SafeTix” anti-resale platform to block the ability of fans to sell or even transfer their tickets to anyone else. Fans will also be required to take a COVID test prior to the contest, with a positive result leading to the forfeiture of tickets with no chance for a retest to rule out the possibility of a false-positive result. “The NY ticketing law recognizes the importance of free and open transferability,” says Gary Adler of the National Association of Ticket Brokers. “[Transferability] needs to be protected because consumers benefit from such a system. The Bills’ policy appears to violate the NY law unless there is a Covid-specific emergency law that overrides it.” “Of course, you have to take into consideration public health concerns and the desire to encourage steps to reopen live events,” Adler continues. “However, I am not sure how the Bills’ policy serves those interests because steps can be taken to ensure the person attending the event meets the criteria the season ticket holder must satisfy. We must make sure that health considerations are not used as a trojan horse for attempts to thwart the ability of consumers to buy and sell tickets in an open market. New York has one of the most consumer-friendly regulatory environments related to ticket resal e in the United States, thanks to hard-fought rights coded into law in the last decade. The law specifically makes the use of non-transferrable tickets illegal by venue owners and vendors like Ticketmaster, a fact which has saved New York consumers from the most egregious offenses related to resale restrictions that have been attempted in many states and abroad. But with COVID and public health concerns as their trojan horse, the Buffalo Bills have successfully enacted a total forfeiture of consumer rights to their purchased tickets anyways, for at least this game. “On behalf of The Coalition for Ticket Fairness we are aware of the Buffalo Bills restriction on ticket transfer which conflicts with the NYS Arts & Entertainment law protecting transfer and resale,” reads a post from CTF executive Jason Berger on Facebook. “We have been in touch with the Governors office and they understand our concern. Since this restriction was placed because of concern for health and safety and under executive order for a trial to see if events could be safely held, There is no transfer or resale. The Governors office explained this is a temporary measure and we are hoping an investment to get live events back in the state in some capacity.” Approximately 6,200 tickets are expected to be made available to season ticket members, available in “pods” of two or four tickets according to the announcement on the Bills’ website . Club-level season ticket holders will get first chance with a “select” set of tickets available beginning Thursday, while non-club members will have their chance on Friday, January 1. But those who don’t get their bid in through the team will have no chance to purchase through any legal secondary ticketing system due to the team’s decision to ignore state law, likely forcing at least some into risky forays through the inevitable black market that will spring up when vetted, regulated marketplaces are shut down. A $63 add-on cost to each ticket for the required COVID testing through a specific team partner, Bioreference Laboratories, is also included in the price. Buffalo is the only NFL franchise without the ability to wantonly restrict or eliminate consumer ticket transfer rights , specifically due to New York’s protections in place. The other two “New York” teams – the Jets and Giants – both play in New Jersey. The AFC East Champions with a 12-3 record following Monday’s victory over New England, the Bills will host at least one playoff game, either in the Wild Card or Divisional round – possibly both. Kansas City has the AFC’s top seed, but the Bills could theoretically host the conference final should the Chiefs be defeated in an earlier round. Headline photo via BuffaloBills.com The post Bills to Allow Fans for Playoffs – With Ticket Rules That Violate NY Law appeared first on TicketNews .
Ticketmaster has entered a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in New York in a case related to its employees illegally accessing a rival companies systems to obtain information it used to poach clients and help run it into insolvency. The deal includes a payment of $10 million in fines to put the matter to rest. “Ticketmaster employees repeatedly – and illegally – accessed a competitor’s computers without authorization using stolen passwords to unlawfully collect business intelligence,” Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said Wednesday in a press release . “Further, Ticketmaster’s employees brazenly held a division-wide ‘summit’ at which the stolen passwords were used to access the victim company’s computers, as if that were an appropriate business tactic. Today’s resolution demonstrates that any company that obtains a competitor’s confidential information for commercial advantage, without authority or permission, should expect to be held accountable in federal court.” The rival company in question is CrowdSurge, which operated a fan club-based ticketing rival to Ticketmaster. That company eventually merged with Songkick, which was subsequently purchased in part by Warner Music Group , with the remaining assets being bought by Live Nation Entertainment for over $100 million in order to settle a lawsuit brought by the company alleging the same matters being put to bed in this criminal matter. A former Crowdsurge employee who took a position at Ticketmaster in 2013 was convinced to share access to back-end systems and proprietary information with his supervisors at Ticketmaster, in order that the Live Nation-owned behemoth could “choke off” the budding competitor, and “steal back” their signature clients, in effect allowing the ticketing giant to “cut [Crowdsurge] off at the knees.” TicketNews detailed the allegations, including the presence of screenshots and details of CrowdSurge/Songkick’s platforms that couldn’t have possibly come from anywhere outside of illegally obtained inside access in a powerpoint deck shared with senior management, at the time of the initial lawsui t. “When employees walk out of one company and into another, it’s illegal for them to take proprietary information with them. Ticketmaster used stolen information to gain an advantage over its competition, and then promoted the employees who broke the law. This investigation is a perfect example of why these laws exist – to protect consumers from being cheated in what should be a fair market place,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. One Ticketmaster executive involved in the scheme, Zeeshan Zaidi, pled guilty in federal court in October 2019 to one count of conspiring to access protected computers without authorization and to commit wire fraud, according to the deferred prosecution agreement. He has not yet been sentenced in the case. Ticketmaster, long dogged by allegations of anti-competitive and monopolistic behavior , must maintain clear policies to detect and prevent unauthorized computer intrusion and present annual reports on its conduct for the next three years in addition to the hefty fine. “Ticketmaster terminated both Zaidi and Mead in 2017, after their conduct came to light, Ticketmaster told The Verge in a statement . “Their actions violated our corporate policies and were inconsistent with our values. We are pleased that this matter is now resolved.” How a full three years passed between the powerpoint including proprietary CrowdSurge data being shared with Ticketmaster President Jared Smith, Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino, and other senior management, and the termination of these employees remains to be explained. The post Ticketmaster Avoids Hacking Prosecution by Paying $10 Million Fine appeared first on TicketNews .
Seattle Sounders FC announced late last week that it would be shifting ticketing providers to Ticketmaster, replacing SeatGeek after three years. Ticketmaster previously served as the primary and resale ticketing partner for the MLS franchise since its debut in 2009 through the 2017 season. “We are thrilled to return to Ticketmaster as Sounders FC’s official ticketing platform,” said Sounders FC EVP & Chief Global Officer Bart Wiley. “Our longstanding relationship over the course of nearly a decade saw Sounders FC become one of the most well-attended clubs in world football, and they understand our culture deeply. We know from experience how strong of a partner Ticketmaster is, and alongside our colleagues at the Seahawks, we believe this gives our fans the most seamless event experience from an operational perspective. This will be particularly important as we prepare to welcome the public back to Lumen Field in 2021 as the fight against COVID-19 continues and improves.” Access to fan data appears to be a key driver of the shift back to the Live Nation-owned behemoth, as the use of Ticketmaster’s Presence and SafeTix systems are touted in the release announcing the deal. SafeTix and Presence are digital-locked tickets that require access to troves of data from users mobile devices, which are then used for marketing purposes for both the ticketing giant, the team partner, and potentially third parties allowed by their wide-ranging data permissions required upon use of the systems . Originally developed to curb consumer rights regarding resale of tickets on platforms that aren’t owned by Ticketmaster , SafeTix is in the process of an attempted re-brand as part of the company’s COVID safety tools . The full press release announcing the deal is available below. Seattle Sounders FC today announced that the club is partnering with Ticketmaster, making the company the club’s official ticketing partner beginning in 2021. Ticketmaster replaces SeatGeek as Seattle’s official primary and resale ticketing platform, resuming a relationship between the Rave Green and the world’s largest ticketing platform. Sounders FC and Ticketmaster were partners from the club’s MLS expansion launch in 2009 through the 2017 season. “We are thrilled to return to Ticketmaster as Sounders FC’s official ticketing platform,” said Sounders FC EVP & Chief Global Officer Bart Wiley. “Our longstanding relationship over the course of nearly a decade saw Sounders FC become one of the most well-attended clubs in world football, and they understand our culture deeply. We know from experience how strong of a partner Ticketmaster is, and alongside our colleagues at the Seahawks, we believe this gives our fans the most seamless event experience from an operational perspective. This will be particularly important as we prepare to welcome the public back to Lumen Field in 2021 as the fight against COVID-19 continues and improves.” “At Ticketmaster we’re constantly innovating our ticketing solutions and are glad to once again be partnering with Sounders FC so we can provide their fans with the most seamless experience possible, as they return to games in 2021 and beyond,” said Clay Luter EVP, Sports, Ticketmaster. Through this partnership, Sounders FC is able to further develop unique relationships with its fans as the club provides an elevated venue experience. Ticketmaster’s Presence and SafeTix technologies will facilitate the move to all-digital tickets so fans can conveniently access tickets on their mobile device, download to a digital wallet, receive personalized event information, and enjoy a streamlined venue entry experience. SafeTix also provides improved security, shutting down fraud to protect fans. Moving forward, games will also feature contactless entry and payment solutions to both assist with the safe return to matches, and streamline the in-venue experience for fans into the future. Prioritizing health and safety, Sounders FC is working closely with its partners at the Seattle Seahawks and First & Goal Inc., ensuring a continuous ticketing and operational experience inside Lumen Field for MLS matches, NFL games and other concert and entertainment experiences. Both organizations eagerly await the return of fans to SoDo, and are looking forward to having Ticketmaster assist in that journey. “We would also like to thank SeatGeek for their time with our organization as our official ticketing partner over the past three seasons,” said Wiley. “SeatGeek worked diligently to provide our fans with a first-class matchday ticketing experience, and our club is appreciative of their efforts.” Sounders FC recently completed its 2020 campaign, a season that saw the club qualify for its fourth MLS Cup appearance in five seasons. The Rave Green join D.C. United as the only clubs to make four finals in a five-season span, while Sounders FC currently owns the MLS record for consecutive appearances in the MLS Cup Playoffs (12 and counting). Seattle raised the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy as league champion in 2016 and 2019. ABOUT TICKETMASTER Ticketmaster is the world’s largest ticket marketplace and the global market leader in live event ticketing products and services. Through official partnerships with thousands of venues, artists, sports teams, festivals, performing arts centers and theatres, Ticketmaster typically processes over 500 million tickets per year across 32 different countries. ABOUT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC Winner of the 2019 and 2016 MLS Cup, 2014 MLS Supporters’ Shield and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championships (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014), Sounders FC is Seattle’s Major League Soccer franchise. The club received an MLS charter on November 13, 2007 and has set a league record by qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs in every year of its existence. Sounders FC reached a milestone in 2016 as the franchise claimed its first MLS Cup championship, before earning its second title in 2019, hoisting the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy in front of a home crowd of 69,274 fans. Since the club’s debut MLS season in 2009, Sounders FC has set the standard for soccer support in North America, leading the league in attendance for eight consecutive seasons (2009-2016) and routinely ranking in the top 30 in attendance among all professional teams internationally. Prior to joining MLS, the Seattle Sounders organization has been a part of the greater Seattle community and U.S. Soccer professional scene since 1974. The post Seattle Sounders FC Shifts Ticketing Back to Ticketmaster appeared first on TicketNews .
The 2021 College Football Playoff (CFP) Semifinal scheduled to take place at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena has been relocated to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas . Rising case rates of coronavirus and the subsequent refusal by local authorities to allow any fans in the stands, including friends or family of game participants. “We know that the decision was not an easy one to make,” said David Eads, Tournament of Roses CEO and Executive Director. “While we remain confident that a game could have been played at the Rose Bowl Stadium, as evident in the other collegiate and professional games taking place in the region, the projection of COVID-19 cases in the region has continued on an upward trend.” “We are very grateful to Rose Bowl officials and the City of Pasadena. They have worked hard to listen to the concerns of the CFP, the teams that might have played there, and their state and government officials,” said Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff. Game officials made the decision to relocate following news that California would not make any exception to its COVID restrictions to allow player guests at the game. That means playing in California would leave even family of players and coaches at Notre Dame and Alabama watching from home rather than cheering in the stands at the Rose Bowl, which can normally accommodate close to 100,000 fans at full capacity. In a release announcing the relocation, Tournament of Roses officials stressed they had appealed to state authorities in both November and again in December for a special exception to the COVID restrictions to allow a small number of in-person attendance, but the state refused to budge. The last time the Rose Bowl game was played outside of California was in January 1942. That game between Duke and Oregon State was played in North Carolina due to worries of game safety on the California coast following the Pearl Harbor attack in Hawaii the previous month. It is unclear at this point if the game in Dallas will still be referred to as the Rose Bowl despite the relocation. Plans for allowing fans in the stands at AT&T have not yet been announced for the CFP semifinal. Generally, Texas has been more permissive of allowing fans to attend live events amid the pandemic. The Cotton Bowl Classic game, which will feature Florida taking on Oklahoma on December 30 at AT&T Stadium, is allowing a limited number of fans, as have the Dallas Cowboys at their home games. “We are heartbroken for our friends at the Tournament of Roses,” said Rick Baker, President/CEO, Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. “This year has been tough on most of our sacred traditions and this is just one more example. When friends reach out and ask for your help, you step up. We look forward to working with the Tournament of Roses staff and the College Football Playoff to host a game that will be worthy of the great tradition of ‘The Granddaddy of Them All.'” The post CFP Semifinal Moves from Rose Bowl to Texas Over COVID Restrictions appeared first on TicketNews .
MEGAseats has begun offering a free N95 face mask to go along with every shipped ticket purchase, the company announced Wednesday. The transparent ticket resale marketplace says that consumers are rearing to get back to live events in 2021, but that many are wary about their safety in large groups as the COVID vaccination process continues to unfold. The N95 face masks are provided through a partnership with Connecticut BioTech, which imports the high-quality masks from manufacturers abroad and serves both consumers and medical facilities. “After so many things were postponed or cancelled in 2020, we’re seeing a lot of excitement to get back to arenas, amphitheaters, and stadiums,” says MegaSeats managing director Up Punyagupta. “With an expectation that face masks are going to be required at most events for a while, we want to go the extra mile for our clients and offer them the peace of mind that these masks can help provide.” This week marked what many believe to be the beginning of the end of the COVID pandemic, as vaccinations began across the country with frontline healthcare workers and other high-risk individuals. Confidence is high that live events will be back to pre-pandemic levels soon. That said, local authorities are likely to continue requiring face masks for entry at most events for the foreseeable future, and many consumers will have to wait until summer or later for their vaccination. A spokesman for CT Biotech says the N95 masks that MEGASeats will be providing customers are its best-selling item. Due to a huge backlog in Food and Drug Administration certification, the masks are not approved for medical use, however the masks have been independently verified to meet the NIOSH medical standards for protection by Nelson Labs. “We believe this unique partnership with MEGASeats is a great way to help boost consumer confidence in the safety of attending concerts and games in 2021,” says CT Biotech’s Sean Burns. “Between huge steps taken by venues on their hygiene and ventilation protocols and the availability of high quality and affordable PPE, there’s no reason not to feel that you can get back out to events safely as soon as local authorities sign off on them happening.” The promotion between MEGASeats and CT Biotech began on December 16 and will continue through at June 1, 2021. The offer is only valid on orders where a physical ticket is shipped to a consumer. The post MEGASeats Offers Ticket Purchasers Complimentary N95 Face Masks appeared first on TicketNews .
Major League Baseball and all 30 of its franchises have filed a lawsuit against their insurance providers , citing billions of dollars in losses due to pandemic-related bans on fans attending games. The lawsuit was filed in October in California Superior Court in Alameda County, California. It was initially reported earlier in December by the Associated Press. Providers AIG, Factory Mutual and Interstate Fire and Casualty Company have refused to pay claims made by MLB and its teams, in spite of losses that should have been covered by “all-risk” policies held, the lawsuit alleges. Losses claimed in the lawsuit include billions of dollars on unsold tickets, as well as hundreds of millions on ancillary revenue generated by fans coming through the turnstiles. The league says that all of these losses should have been covered by policies that have not been honored by the insurers. “Due to COVID-19, the Major League Baseball entities, including those of the 30 major league clubs, have incurred significant financial losses as a result of our inability to play games, host fans and otherwise conduct normal business operations during much of the 2020 season,” the league said in a statement to the AP. “We strongly believe these losses are covered in full by our insurance policies, and are confident that the court and jury will agree.” . Insurers have been targeted by numerous lawsuits over payouts clients claim were wrongfully denied in the wake of the pandemic. The defense mounted in such suits often posits that financial losses caused by COVID do not constitute physical loss or property damage, but MLB argues that the virus has led to both. “The presence of the coronavirus and COVID-19, including but not limited to coronavirus droplets or nuclei on solid surfaces and in the air at insured property, has caused and will continue to cause direct physical damage to physical property and ambient air at the premises,” the suit says. “Coronavirus, a physical substance, has attached and adhered to Plaintiffs’ property and by doing so, altered that property. Such presence has also directly resulted in loss of use of those facilities.” Major League Baseball had its entire 2020 campaign upended due to the coronavirus. Teams were at spring training facilities in March when the virus shutdowns began across the globe. Opening day was postponed indefinitely, with the league eventually instituting a truncated schedule beginning in the middle of the summer. No fans were allowed at stadiums throughout the regular season, and were only approved for some of the postseason. The 2021 season schedule has yet to be finalized, as COVID closures continue across the country. The post MLB Franchises Suing Insurers Over Lost Ticketing Revenue appeared first on TicketNews .
Since Nevada opened its first legal sportsbook back in 1949, the popularity of sports betting has exploded across the nation and now fans enjoy it everywhere. With the pastime available across all major sports, there’s no doubt that this rapid expansion has caused an increase in viewership of televised events and sales of tickets for live games . Betting on your favorite player or sport may sometimes result in a financial reward, and it also makes the fan experience much more immersive and exciting. Let’s take a look at how sports betting has influenced live game attendance and viewership. The Expansion of Legal U.S. sportsbooks Legalized sports betting has been on the rise in several U.S. states as of recent, and fans are ecstatic to have the chance to place wagers on their favorite teams whenever they choose. As of late, 18 out of 50 states including Washington D.C. have legalized the pastime, with active legislation in progress in several other locations. Major professional leagues such as the MLB and NBA have embraced it too. Indeed, they’ve even lobbied lawmakers on the subject and created marketing partnerships with betting operators. As the growth of sports betting continues to be on the up and up, online platforms are responding by stepping up their game, providing both retail and mobile betting options for their passionate customers. For instance, some states such as Iowa have recently crossed the line to allow legal sports wagering, with the first sportsbooks taking wagers from August 2019 on various Iowa betting sites , and becoming one of the most exciting jurisdictions for sports betting since. Likewise, states like New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and New Jersey have seen rapid growth in their markets recently. The Impact on Ticket Sales, Leagues, and Viewership With the 2018 ruling of Murphy vs. NCAA that made it unconstitutional for states to outlaw sports gambling, it was predicted that revenue would rise across major professional sporting leagues by over $4 billion. This report projected a 3% annual growth rate until 2022, and its findings proved to be true. When it comes to ticket sales, fan engagement, and overall viewership, statistics show an increase in numbers since the Supreme Court ruling. It’s a fact that the legalization of sports betting is driving more people to the television and the ticket booth. Professional sporting leagues have also seen an increase in revenue, with some having official gaming partners like that of the NBA and NHL with MGM Resorts International. Last year’s report from the American Gaming Association predicted that the NFL could earn up to $2.3 billion every year from legal sports betting and partnerships. These numbers continue to rise year after year as leagues generate more income from betting products and user consumption. Of course, when it comes to huge, televised events like March Madness and the Super Bowl, viewership is also on the rise. Last year, it’s estimated that roughly 26 million people placed bets on American football’s biggest game, with a TV audience that increased by 1.7% since 2019’s match. Over 99.9 million people tuned in to watch the Kansas City Chiefs defeat the San Francisco 49’ers. NBA fans celebrate after the result of a championship game, showing how sports can ignite strong emotion amongst viewers What does the future hold? As it currently stands, only 18 out of the 50 U.S. states have made sports betting legal. Although active bills have been passed in states like Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, and Vermont, some locations have seen proposed legislation fail. However, fans are the ones driving the pastime forward and with more tech-savvy young people than ever before, online sports betting is becoming a serious trend. Who knows, maybe by 2025 another 10 states will be added to the “legalized” list. The post How the Sports Betting Industry Affects Viewership and Ticket Sales appeared first on TicketNews .
Live Nation President Joe Berchtold affirmed the company’s belief that concerts would be back by midway through 2021 in an interview on CNBC this week. The company has maintained that timeline for several months , pinning its fortunes to the fact that vaccine distribution will be at a level allowing for large scale events without social distancing to occur – at least outdoors – by summer. “We feel very good right now … at this point, given the vaccine news, we start to see with much greater clarity what the path to return to live is, and certainly a lot of confidence about that return to live,” Berchtold told CNBC. “At this point, on a global basis, we’re already starting to see in Asia some shows coming back, New Zealand operating at full capacity, other Asian markets that have made more progress are getting back more quickly.” “In the key U.S./Western European markets, it continues to be our expectation that by next summer, we’re back with our major outdoor shows—our amphitheaters here in the U.S., festivals globally. We’ll be able to do those shows.” The full interview with Berchtold is available below: The post Live Nation’s Berchtold Confident in Concerts Returning for Summer 2021 appeared first on TicketNews .