Amazon to take on Ticketmaster in lucrative ticketing market, report says

Amazon’s next big thing is reportedly to be ticket sales, as the retail giant looks to take on the dominance of Ticketmaster, partnering with venue owners in the US.

According to four sources talking to Reuters, Amazon see the lucrative US ticketing market as ripe for attack. Consumers dislike ticket fees, and venue owners, sports leagues and teams want more distributors for their tickets as they seek to boost sales.

The move would represent the latest attempt by the world’s largest online retailer to use its massive customer base, tech savvy and bargaining power to shake up a big market. Access to tickets could be another means to lure members to Amazon’s Prime subscription service, while for music acts and sports teams, selling tickets through Amazon could help merchandise sales.

Ticketmaster is currently the exclusive retailer of primary tickets for many of the top venues in the US. Would-be challengers have struggled to compete in the face of Ticketmaster’s strong relationships with the operators of major sports stadiums, arenas, concert halls and other venues.

Amazon has had success with ticketing in Britain, where it has been selling seats to West End shows since 2015, even outselling Ticketmaster for some events, according to one venue owner. It is less common for venues in Britain to have an exclusive ticket provider.

Amazon has had conversations to partner with Ticketmaster in the US, but discussions stalled over who would control customer data, according to Reuters.

Ticketmaster generated $1.6bn (£1.2bn) in revenue from initial sales of tickets to events in 2016, according to estimates by research firm BTIG, and a further $250m from the reselling of tickets. Ticketing would likely make money for Amazon, which has a patchy record of profitability.

Getting a foothold in the ticketing business would likely be an expensive proposition. Ticketmaster in many cases pays the venues for the right to sell tickets and manage the box office, and venue owners are loath to give up that revenue even when it means high ticketing fees for consumers.

Amazon has offered to write sponsorship cheques worth millions of dollars to the venues, one of the sources said. But it has yet to budge on customer data. Owners want to know who is buying their tickets so they can tailor social media campaigns and book the right acts in the right places.

Amazon did not return a request for comment. Ticketmaster declined to comment.


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