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Volume 22 No. 32
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Vivid Seats will not be in NFL Ticket Exchange; others expected to join

Vivid Seats has withdrawn from its preliminary arrangement to join the NFL Ticket Exchange after talks ended between the two sides in the last few weeks.

The exchange launched last year with Ticketmaster, StubHub and SeatGeek, allowing fans to buy authenticated primary and secondary tickets through those three companies. 

Vivid Seats last year quietly negotiated to join as well, reaching what sources close to the company called a preliminary agreement. But a deal was never formally announced, and the ticket integration planned for various points during the 2018 NFL season ultimately did not occur.

“We are not participating in the platform,” said Geoff Lester, Vivid Seats chief commercial officer. “Our strategies were not aligned and it didn’t make the most sense for us to participate.” 

Vivid Seats, however, will still sell NFL tickets on its platforms independently. “Nothing changes for us,” added Lester. “We’re still going to have perhaps the broadest selection of inventory of NFL tickets anywhere.”

Robert Gallo, NFL vice president of club business development, used similar language, saying, “We just never got strategically aligned and at this point we do not expect them to be formally part of the network.”

Asked why the talks broke down, Gallo rejected the premise, responding, “I wouldn’t say it was a breakdown in talks, like I said it was a shift in strategy. We both agreed it no longer made sense to move forward.” He did not offer details.

There should be one or more ticketing companies added before the start of the upcoming season, Gallo said. “We are not in a position to say who yet, but we do expect the network to expand and grow,” he added. “We are in negotiations with other emerging players right now.”

Prior to 2018, Ticketmaster was the only authenticated place to go for NFL tickets. In the first year of the new exchange, 4 million tickets were sold, Gallo said. That is not an exhaustive figure for total NFL sales, as it does not include other brokers (like Vivid) or personal sales (Gallo declined to disclose total NFL ticket sales).

The exchange collected 2 million new names that the NFL and its clubs did not have prior, Gallo said. 

Another key trend is mobile ticketing. Gallo said half of the fans who entered NFL stadiums in 2018 used a phone for their ticket, up from 10 percent in 2017. He added that five to six teams were fully mobile for tickets and he expects the figure to double this season.