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Volume 25 No. 210
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StubHub Working With MLB Team To Buy, Distribute Ticket Inventory

StubHub did not identify the team involved in the latest deal or the financial terms
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

StubHub has made a significant policy shift, as it is beginning to work with an undisclosed MLB team to buy ticket inventory itself and assume risk from that inventory like a ticket consolidator or broker would. The eBay-owned company’s original roots have been in merely connecting buyers and sellers on its ticket resale marketplace. However, as time gone on, StubHub has struck hundreds of sponsorships and data sharing agreements with leagues and teams. It has also begun to work with rightsholders in different ways, such as its blended ticket offering with the 76ers. StubHub did not identify the team involved in the latest deal or the financial terms, but sources said it was a MLB club. StubHub GM/Americas Perkins Miller branded the effort an “experiment,” albeit one that could soon be expanded. The latest deal also includes a significant data-sharing component. “We have made a capital commitment here, similar to what we’ve done on the sponsorship side. It is a bit of a different structure to help manage the (ticket) distribution. But it’s really a reflection of the market and what was asked of us,” Miller said. “We’re responding to that market need, and we have 18 years of data on how to price tickets.” For StubHub, the latest move presents an opportunity to get increasingly closer with content owners and rightsholders, in line with the ongoing mission of new president Sukhinder Singh Cassidy. There is also a chance for financial upside from the ticket sales for StubHub compared to merely garnering fees from a portion of that inventory. Given the tickets obtained through this deal will be resold strictly through StubHub and not other forums, a question remains on whether constricting the distribution will help reverse MLB's attendance trend in which turnout has fallen in five of the last six seasons. “We’re going to see where this goes, and we want to help buyers get into the building,” Miller said. StubHub has been an MLB partner since ’07.