Live Nation to offer event tickets

Concert promoter gets into sales

The world’s largest concert promoter is making its first inroads into the ticketing service biz, which could have repercussions for several major ticketing companies.

Live Nation is using its Web site to sell premium seating, VIP parking spaces and VIP Club Access for live music events in all of its amphitheaters across North America. Company is one of the largest clients of Ticketmaster, and speculation has been rampant that Live Nation will expand its currently small ticketing operation or acquire a ticketing business near the time their contract expires in 2008.

Secondary market sellers such as StubHub also have set their sites on greater involvement with promoters and acts by becoming repositories for ticket auctions and VIP packages. This move could put a crimp in those plans.

Effort is the latest by Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino to develop the connection between the concert promoter and the patron. Since he ascended to the top spot of the company spun off from Clear Channel, Rapino has been focusing the company’s acquisitions on businesses directly involved in concertgoing (venues, merchandising, licensing) and shedding businesses in other areas, such as sports.

His contention has been that concert promoters have traditionally had their connections to fans limited to the time spent at a venue; by offering apparel, tickets and other services, the concert promoter can develop a stronger bond with the consumer. Currently, only House of Blues has developed a brand as a concert promoter.

LiveNation.com will provide registered members with exclusive access to the best seats in a venue for a premium price. LiveNation.com has been operating for less than a year.

“Our premium seat program helps us and the artist participate in the revenue generated from these ticket sales that might otherwise go to scalpers,” Rapino said.

On Wednesday, a LiveNation.com premium ticket — third row, one section to the right of center — for Alejandro Sanz’s June 8 show at Gibson Amphitheater was priced at $162.50 with a $13.05 convenience fee. Ticketmaster’s best offer was 18th row, one section to the left of center, for $120 plus a $12.45 convenience fee.

Live Nation controls 10% of the tickets at all of its concerts as part of its deal with Ticketmaster and sells ducats through its own Live Nation Tickets operation.

Live Nation owns, operates, has booking rights for and/or has an equity interest in more than 160 venues, including the House of Blues clubs and amphitheaters.

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