To Woo Young Sports Fans, Ticketmaster Embraces a Competitor

(Bloomberg) -- For decades, Ticketmaster has all but monopolized the market for concerts, shows and sporting events, sometimes to the annoyance of fans and competitors. Now the ticket giant wants to make friends.

As of Wednesday, Ticketmaster will make tickets available through a competitor -- a first for the ticket behemoth. Its new partner, Gametime, is a mobile-only ticket app specializing in last-minute sales and beloved by younger customers.

Ticketmaster wants to “fish where the fish are,” said Chief Commercial Officer Greg Economou. “Gametime gives us an opportunity to continue to do that, especially with their dynamic with millennials.”

Ticketmaster, which is owned by Live Nation Inc., has already started selling tickets on other sites, including Costco, Facebook and Spotify. In the first three months of 2017, Ticketmaster sold over 4 million tickets off its central platform, a 32 percent jump from the previous year.

Gametime will become another option for the 12,000 teams and venues that use Ticketmaster. Teams can choose to simultaneously list the same seats on, Facebook and Gametime; sales will be split between the ticket company, the distribution platform, and the team. Hockey’s Dallas Stars have already committed to using Gametime’s platform.

“In order to be competitive, Ticketmaster needs to distribute to as many places as possible,” Gametime Chief Revenue Officer Colin Evans said. “This is the way the market is going.”

Other teams and venues have been looking for new ways to make tickets available and compete side-by-side with resellers. Startup SeatGeek and eBay’s StubHub have both announced recent partnerships with major league teams that blend the primary and secondary ticket markets.

For its part, Gametime has raised $33 million since it launched in 2013. More than 70 percent of its users are younger than 35, and a vast majority of its sales happen within a week of the event, two factors attractive to Ticketmaster.