.Com site opens e-commerce avenue, boosts stock
Continuing a strategy of integrating its assets, SFX Entertainment will launch SFX.com this summer and position the site to serve a wide variety of customers, from sports fans to concertgoers.The deals, which SFX execs announced Thursday to analysts, helped boost the concert promoter’s stock. Shares of the Gotham-based promoter and operator of live entertainment venues rose $6.12 to close at $63.25. The SFX.com site will offer ticket purchases and provide event information, and will be developed as a membership-based club that will allow concertgoers who pay a fee to buy premium seats before they go on sale to the public. The service will use SFX’s existing partnership with Ticketmaster, a unit of USA Networks. An offshoot service dubbed Ticketraders.com will be launched and dedicated to the commerce of swapping and trading tickets. SFX execs believe a market exists for people who want to trade ducats for merchandise or tickets to other events. Through its minority stake in an unnamed Internet service provider, SFX plans to create fan clubs and vanity e-mail addresses around the performers, athletes, sports teams and others it represents. A deal with Intel will allow SFX to present 20 Webcasts of concerts while offering sites built around sports stars and music personalities. “This is only the beginning of our Internet strategy,” said Robert Sillerman, exec chairman of SFX. “While our road map is clear, the full potential of available e-commerce opportunities is still ahead of us.” Analysts characterized the move as a relatively low-cost online strategy because it leverages all of the company’s existing assets. Wall Streeters expect SFX to post cash flow of $200 million in 1999 with that figure rising to $270 million in 2000, compared with $161 million in 1998.