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The annual guide to the global live entertainment ticketing business
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Prague is not just a hotspot for Western tourists – it’s also a common stopover for most international acts touring in Europe. And that’s not just down to its geographical location as a bridge between eastern and western Europe – the Czech capital also boasts the O2 Arena, a 20,000-capacity arena that’s one of Europe’s renowned multipurpose venues, and the O2 Universum, a brand-new, 24-hall, 10,000-capacity multifunctional congress and cultural centre right next door.
Yet the mood in the Czech live entertainment market remains somewhat fraught. “Czech promoters, especially after Covid, are increasingly dependent on prepayments,” says Lukáš Jandač, managing director of ticketing company GoOut. “This is obviously a big risk and a question mark for the industry’s future, as no one can be sure about future ticket sales.
Customers and promoters are both fighting inflation, and culture is at risk of becoming some sort of luxury good.”
Despite Ticketmaster – which acquired the established Ticketpro in 2016 – having somewhat exclusive access to both of those O2 venues through the venue’s biggest promoter Live Nation Czech Republic, it is not the biggest ticketing operator. That accolade goes to Ticketportal, historically the number one in terms of market share and a company that continues to lead the way when it comes to non-O2 venues.
“Piletilevi Group is a well-known ticket mediation company with more than 26 years of experience. They already have existing relationships with international agents and artists.”
Another player is GoOut, which was acquired in July by dominant Baltics ticketing firm Piletilevi Group. Jandač, who will continue as a shareholder and managing director of GoOut.net, believes this is a very exciting opportunity.
“Piletilevi Group is a well-known ticket mediation company with more than 26 years of experience. They already have existing relationships with international agents and artists. We highly appreciate the investment capacity of Piletilevi Group, including the nearly €6m invested in the new ticket sales platform. Now we can also contribute to it,” he said.
Distribution of sales
Much like the rest of Eastern Europe, older fans retain a preference for physical tickets bought in person – and yet, much like the rest of Western Europe, digital and online are taking over.
“E-ticketing is the future.”
“It is digital by far,” says Simona Matějková, managing director of Ticketmaster Czech Republic, of their sales. “Many customers use the Ticketmaster mobile app for its ease and convenience.” Jandač agrees. “E-ticketing is the future. People usually buy their tickets online, and QR codes downloaded to phones are used more and more.”
Typically, the bigger the artist or show, the bigger the problem with reselling and scalping. As in other territories, Ticketmaster is trying to combat this by launching its own platform for fans who can no longer attend. “We launched Ticketmaster Resale this year, which has been terrific to see more fans engage with,” says Matějková. “They are now confident that their tickets are being handed to fans in a safe manner.”
“They are now confident that their tickets are being handed to fans in a safe manner.”
Outside of this, Viagogo remains a popular option for A-list superstars and must-see arena shows. Ticketonlineshop and Bazos.cz are other common destinations for those looking to sell or buy secondary tickets.
International/domestic splits & genres
Prague, and the two O2 venues, are a powerful draw for A-list artists and those just below that level. But there are a huge number of successful domestic artists with large, dedicated followings – and they represent the majority of ticket sales. “The number of events with local artists is way bigger but those tend to be in smaller venues,” says Jandač. “The big international artists sell out the big arenas.”
“The big international artists sell out the big arenas.”
The rise in digital ticketing is just one aspect of the shifting sands in demographic behaviour. “In general, people in Czechia are very progressive regarding payment options,” says Jandač. “When inflation started to hit the entertainment industry and tickets were getting more expensive, this topic became very relevant for ticketing companies. More than ever, customers are looking into alternative payment methods such as instalments, employee benefits, and culture vouchers.”