SBJ/June 19-25, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

StubHub opening first retail store in New York City

StubHub is headed to Broadway.

The company this week will debut a flagship store in New York, marking the first move by the dominant ticket resale marketplace into brick-and-mortar retail.

StubHub's new flagship store will cater to both Times Square tourists and NYC locals.
Photo by: STUBHUB

StubHub has long operated physical last-minute service centers where buyers could pick up their orders for events that are quickly approaching. The new retail store at 1412 Broadway at the lower end of Times Square, conversely, is designed as a full-service destination where consumers can seek live entertainment options across numerous genres without a prior order.

Ticket kiosks and service desks will help users buy and sell tickets, and find events happening in the area. The location will also include a lower-level area for events such as artist meet-and-greets, autograph signings and speaking engagements. A “selfie zone,” meanwhile, will allow users to take pictures in the space and share socially.

The new StubHub store is somewhat comparable to the physical bookstore that online retailing giant Amazon recently opened in New York, similarly serving as a branding element and catering heavily to user discovery. And by opening in the Times Square neighborhood that is one of the most highly trafficked areas in the entire country, StubHub will seek to cater to both tourists and locals seeking tickets to nearby Broadway shows, concerts and sports events.

“At our heart, we’re a digital technology company. But New York, and Times Square in particular, is an epicenter of sports and entertainment, and this was a great opportunity to provide a heightened level of service and different kind of fan experience,” said Perkins Miller, general manager of StubHub’s North American operations.

The StubHub store, roughly a year in development, was created with the aid of design and architecture firm Gensler. The firm, which like StubHub is also based in San Francisco, has worked with StubHub parent eBay and is highly experienced in retail and brand experience projects including the new NBA Store, also in midtown Manhattan.

The new retail store is located at 1412 Broadway at the lower end of Times Square.
Photo by: STUBHUB

“People can obviously buy tickets online, so the focus for this project was really to create something of a welcome center and a way to celebrate the brand,” said Kathleen Jordan, Gensler principal. “The idea was to create a hub, no pun intended, of activity and information.”

Financial terms for StubHub’s investment into the new retail space were not disclosed. But Miller said the company was “disciplined in its spend” on the project, and that it allowed StubHub to consolidate its existing New York last-minute service center and local business operations into a single location. StubHub will maintain its New York offices below the retail store.
The company has not yet decided whether it will pursue similar retail locations in other markets, but Miller said the consumer density Times Square offers is largely unrivaled.

“We’re going to test this out and see how it goes before we commit to anything else,” he said. “But this is going to be a very interesting experiment for us. This space allows us to really try and play around with a wide variety of new ideas that we’re kicking around.”


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