SBJ/October 3-9, 2011/Franchises

Tickets.com signs up Mets for seven years

The New York Mets have signed a seven-year ticketing deal with Tickets.com, consolidating their baseball and special-event business at Citi Field.

The Mets switch to Tickets.com, owned by MLB Advanced Media, after spending the past seven seasons with Paciolan.

Mets fans will continue to buy tickets for games at Citi Field through Mets.com. Tickets for concerts and other non-baseball events at Citi Field will be sold through Tickets.com and linked through Mets.com.

Previously, tickets for all non-baseball events, such as Paul McCartney, were sold through 507TIXX.com, a site tied to the Mets’ ticket sales telephone number, said Dave Howard, executive vice president of business operations.

Those terms, under which the league’s digital arm did not share in ticket revenue for non-baseball events, led to a “point of tension with MLBAM,” Howard said.

The Tickets.com deal brings the Mets closer to the league in its ticketing initiatives. Similar to the Mets’ old deal, MLBAM does not get a piece of revenue for non-baseball events sold through Tickets.com. But Tickets.com gets a share, which ultimately benefits its parent company.

“Now it is one partnership,” Howard said.

The deal extends to ticketing for Mets Class A farm team the Brooklyn Cyclones, owned by Mets owner Fred Wilpon, plus Mets spring training games in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

In addition, the Tickets.com platform enables the Mets to use that technology outside of baseball as a regional ticketing firm, selling its services as a ticketer for smaller venues and colleges. The Mets did not have that option with Paciolan, Howard said.

The Mets are focused on making the change to the new system for the Mets and Cyclones, but signing some of those deals is something the team could pursue, Howard said.

Tickets.com has 14 MLB clients, 10 of whom use ProVenue, the firm’s latest ticketing software system. Last year, the Florida Marlins signed a four-deal with Tickets.com for their $515 million ballpark that will open in April.

None of those 10 teams has pursued regional ticketing but the option is available, said John Walker, the company’s president and CEO. Outside of MLB, six regional ticketing groups in smaller markets use Tickets.com’s platform across multiple facilities.

The Mets’ changeover to Tickets.com should be completed by mid-November, Howard said.

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