SBJ/Oct. 7-13, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Yankees, Angels both declare break from StubHub a success

The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which each broke away from MLB Advanced Media’s renewal with StubHub to form their own secondary ticketing exchanges with Ticketmaster, branded their initial year with their own resale platforms a success.

Neither club nor Ticketmaster disclosed secondary ticket sales or revenue figures. The Angels, however, said they saw a 15 percent lift in single-game ticket sales at their primary market, despite the club’s attendance falling 1.4 percent. The average selling price of Angels tickets on all secondary markets, according to internal club research, rose from $30 in 2012 to $38 this year.

The Yankees, meanwhile, said they saw significant boosts in walkup and group ticket sales business, even as their total home attendance fell 7 percent this season. Perhaps more important to them, the creation of Yankees Ticket Exchange curbed speculative resale listings by sellers without possession of the tickets that the club viewed as corrosive to the overall value of Yankees tickets.

“We think this did a lot to help stabilize the secondary market and reduce illegitimate sales,” Yankees President Randy Levine said. “I think it worked great. It did take a little while to take hold and work out some of the kinks. But fans have grown to it, and we think this only gets better.”

Then-Ticketmaster Chief Executive Nathan Hubbard said in February that he expected the ventures with the Yankees and Angels to be profitable, based in part on the typically sizable profit margins of secondary ticketing. Jared Smith, now president of Ticketmaster North America, declined to specifically address Hubbard’s comments, but said the two baseball partnerships in 2013 “exceeded our expectations.”

“We’re very pleased with the outcomes thus far,” Smith said. “Year one, you never really know what to expect. But given the goals each club had, particularly with regard to having more control over their resale markets, and the goals we had, everybody involved would say it’s a success.”

Robert Alvarado, Angels vice president of marketing and ticket sales, said the club’s initial revenue from Angels Ticket Exchange did not match what the club likely would have received this season by staying in the MLBAM-StubHub partnership. But beyond immediate-term dollars and profit considerations, the Angels also wanted the opportunity to have additional direct involvement in the local resale market. The club used some price floors and other controls on some games, akin to individual manipulations seen in dynamic ticketing structures.

“We did better than expected, and I’d have to think in our market that StubHub did not grow their business,” Alvarado said.

StubHub, now operating without electronic ticket integration from the Yankees and Angels, did confirm its business from both clubs declined this season. But the company pegged the fall more to both teams’ failure to make the playoffs.

“Revenue was down, but with them it was sort of down across the board if you look at what was on the field, overall attendance, the Yankees’ TV ratings and so forth,” StubHub spokeswoman Alison Salcedo said. “Team performance is typically a big indicator in terms of ticket demand. But fans continued to buy and sell tickets to the Yankees and Angels on our site.”

The Yankees and Angels had varied involvement with StubHub this season near their respective ballparks. The Yankees sued to prevent StubHub from opening a pickup location near Yankee Stadium, and obtained a settlement that saw StubHub instead open a storefront much farther from the ballpark. In Anaheim, however, StubHub maintains a last-minute service center just beyond the left-field parking lot of Angel Stadium.

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