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International Ticketing Report 2021: Secondary ticketing

IQ Magazine's one-off International Ticketing Report provides an indispensable annual health check on the global ticketing business

By Gordon Masson on 13 Dec 2021

The International Ticketing Report is a one-off annual health check on the global ticketing business, with emphasis on the sector’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The past two years have been turbulent for the business, but with consumer demand for live events now at an all-time peak, the challenges of fulfilling the most packed event schedule in history will test ticketers to the hilt.

Staffing, vouchers schemes and refunds, demand, consumer behaviour, communication, new products & services, secondary ticketing, pandemic lessons and recovery are among the challengers addressed by industry-leading experts in this extended report.

The report, originally published in IQ105, is in lieu of the International Ticketing Yearbook – a standalone global guide to the live entertainment market that will return in 2022.

IQ will publish sections of the International Ticketing Report over the coming weeks but subscribers can read the entire feature in issue 105 of IQ Magazine now.

To read the previous instalment of the report on new products and services, click here.

The controversial business of secondary ticketing was never far from the headlines, pre-Covid, and indeed on the eve of the pandemic being declared, leading European operation Viagogo acquired eBay’s ticketing division, StubHub, for an eye-watering $4.05billion (€3.5bn) in cash.

The timing of that transaction, in February 2020, led to financial publication Forbes branding it the “worst deal ever” as sports and live entertainment were among the first sectors to close down, effectively shutting down the secondary market, too.

Since then, Viagogo sold its StubHub assets outside of North America, primarily to meet anti-competition regulations, but with little to no revenues over the past 18 months, the company will be determined to make the most of 2022’s packed events schedule to start clawing back some of that substantial investment.

According to Adam Webb, campaign manager at FanFair Alliance, an anti-touting campaign group, “The fear now is that the secondary players will be as desperate to get as much inventory as they can, and the other side of that is that some promoters will be desperate to sell tickets any which way, as well.”

“There’s still a lot of work to do on the industry’s behalf educating their consumers about capped resale services”

With thousands of tours, festivals, and other events going on sale in the weeks and months ahead, Webb is all too aware that many people may need to use secondary services to divest of tickets for rescheduled shows they can no longer attend for any number of reasons.

Webb contends that while those ticket exchange platforms with capped resale rules also suffered during the pandemic, they also seem to have weathered the storm.

“Just before the likes of Reading and Wireless festivals, there were loads of tickets available on places like Twickets, so there was real need – possibly driven by Covid – for a lot of people to genuinely resell their tickets,” says Webb.

“Because of dates being rescheduled or people who have health concerns, I think having that option through is probably more vital than ever, and there will be a need for primary agents to up their game a little bit to make sure fans are aware of those ticket exchange services, what they are and how to use them.”

He adds, “Going into 2022, with the calendar busier than probably ever before, lots of consumers are still unaware of the difference between an uncapped seller like StubHub or Viagogo and the primary ticket services.

“So I think there’s still a lot of work to do on the industry’s behalf educating their consumers about capped resale services and how to use them. All of the primary ticket companies have a resale service or are affiliated with one but those services need to be marketed a bit better.”


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