SBD/August 20, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NBA Inks Deal With Ticketmaster Consolidating Primary, Secondary Ticket Sales For All Teams

The NBA has signed a “multiyear ticketing deal with Ticketmaster, which for the first time will consolidate the primary and secondary ticket-selling efforts for all 30 teams,” according to Lombardo & Fisher of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The deal will create “a centralized online portal for fans that is intended to serve as a one-stop shopping site for all NBA tickets.” League and team officials said that the new site “will add branding power, ease of use, and security to attract more ticket buyers while also delivering additional consumer data collected that will be with the teams.” Financial terms were not disclosed, but the pact "calls for ticket buyers to be directed to a new league-wide landing page featuring logos for all 30 teams.” On that website, to be “separately branded and co-marketed by both Ticketmaster and the NBA, users will be shown all available ticket options for each team, including secondary listings.” NBA Exec VP/Team Marketing & Business Operations Chris Granger said, “To have all the primary and secondary inventory on one site is unique.” Lombardo & Fisher report Ticketmaster's deal with the NBA “will share a fair degree of similarity" to its deal with the NFL, but will include "a heightened focus on primary ticketing.” Ticketmaster COO Jared Smith said, “There’s some evidence that the fan is being trained to immediately go to the secondary market. So our goal is to create something where the fan is presented with a complete, overall view of all safe, trusted ticket options.” Lombardo & Fisher note the deal will allow “the six NBA teams that do not have local Ticketmaster deals to also be part of the larger structure.” The new system “will be partially implemented by the late October start of the upcoming NBA season, with full operational capability projected for the 2013-14 season” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/20 issue).

EFFECTIVENESS DEPENDS ON TEAMS: ESPN.com's Darren Rovell notes whether the site "will be effective will depend on how the teams respond." Each team "can determine how much it wants to charge the seller to list the tickets and the buyer to buy them." It also is not clear if some teams "will institute a price floor that will restrict how low a ticket can be sold for." The NBA likely would not go for the deal "if it didn't think that it can offer a lower aggregate fee than sites like StubHub, which has higher acquisition costs due to the higher price it has paid for marketing" (ESPN.com, 8/20).
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