Last updated

Ticketmaster Entertainment, LLC.
Type Subsidiary
Industry Entertainment
FoundedOctober 2, 1976;45 years ago (October 2, 1976)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
FoundersAlbert Leffler
Peter Gadwa
Gordon Gunn III
Area served
Key people
Michael Rapino (CEO)
Mark Yovich (President)
ProductsTicketing technology
Ticket sales
Ticket resales
Distribution of event tickets and information
Support of venue renovation
RevenueSold 142 million+ tickets valued at $8 billion in 2007
Number of employees
Parent Live Nation Entertainment
Website ticketmaster.com

Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. is an American ticket sales and distribution company based in Beverly Hills, California with operations in many countries around the world. In 2010 it merged with Live Nation under the name Live Nation Entertainment. [1]


The company's ticket sales are fulfilled digitally or at its two main fulfillment centers located in Charleston, West Virginia, and Pharr, Texas for both primary and secondary markets. Ticketmaster's clients include venues, artists and promoters. Clients control their events and set ticket prices, and Ticketmaster sells tickets that the clients make available to them.


Ticketmaster was founded in Phoenix, Arizona in 1976 [2] by college staffers Peter Gadwa and Albert Leffler, as well as businessman Gordon Gunn III. [3] [4] The company originally licensed computer programs and sold hardware for ticketing systems. Its first ticketed concert was Electric Light Orchestra, held at the University of New Mexico. [4] [5]

In 1982, Fred Rosen was appointed CEO of Ticketmaster and moved the company to Los Angeles to be closer to the live entertainment industry. The move enabled the company to build contracts with many well-known venues including the LA Forum. Rosen drove investment into the company and led the switch to computerized ticketing. [6] By 1985 the company had operations in the U.S., Canada and Europe. [4] Under Rosen, the company moved into publishing and set up a travel agency and acquired rival Ticketron in 1991, making it the market leader. [6] [7]

In November 1993, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen acquired an 80% stake for more than $325 million. [8] [6]

InterActiveCorp years

In 1998, USA Networks Inc., later named InterActiveCorp (IAC), purchased a majority stake in Ticketmaster. [9] That same year, the company merged with CitySearch and was renamed Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch. [10] In May 2000, Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch acquired TicketWeb Inc., a ticket vendor that sold tickets online and over the phone. [11] In 2003, IAC repurchased the remaining Ticketmaster stock that it had previously sold off. [12]

In September 2006, Ticketmaster President Sean Moriarty told NPR that Ticketmaster had lobbied several states to enact laws that would limit the ticket resale market to authorized companies. Economists worried these laws would harm competition, but Moriarty expressed the need to reduce corrupt scalpers and counterfeit tickets. [13]

In January 2008, Ticketmaster acquired Paciolan Inc., a developer of ticketing system applications and hosted ticketing systems, after litigation over the potential breach of antitrust laws. [14] Also in January, Ticketmaster acquired the UK-based secondary ticket marketplace, Getmein.com. [15] And finally, in that same January, Ticketmaster acquired TicketsNow, a ticket reseller in the United States, for $265 million. [16]

IAC spun off Ticketmaster as its own company in the summer of 2008. [17] Later in 2008, Ticketmaster acquired Front Line Management, an artist management firm that worked with artists such as Aerosmith, Christina Aguilera and Jimmy Buffett. [18] Front Line CEO Irving Azoff became CEO of the new company, which was renamed Ticketmaster Entertainment. [19]

Live Nation merger

In February 2009, Ticketmaster entered into an agreement to merge with event promoter Live Nation to form Live Nation Entertainment. [20] The deal was cleared by the U.S. Justice Department in January 2010 under the condition that the company sell Paciolan to Comcast Spectacor or another firm, and license its software to Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), its biggest competitor. [21] The new company, which would be called Live Nation Entertainment, would also be subject to provisions for 10 years that prevented it from retaliating against venues that partnered with competing ticketing firms. [21] Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino was named CEO of the new company. [22]

One year after merging, Live Nation settled a previous class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster which alleged that the company had misled plaintiffs in its descriptions of delivery and processing fees. [23]

Growth and acquisitions

In 2015, Ticketmaster acquired Front Gate Tickets, a music festival ticketing service that provided services for festivals including Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. [24] The same year, the company acquired Universe, a DIY ticketing platform. [24] In 2017, TicketWeb, Ticketmaster's self-service ticketing platform, acquired Strobe Labs, a marketing platform that allows users to market to fans through social media. [25] In 2018, Ticketmaster acquired UPGRADED, a company which converts physical tickets into digital ones, utilising blockchain. [26]

Products and services

Ticketmaster sells tickets that its clients make available to them. [27] In 2009, Ticketmaster released a digital ticketing system that required customers to prove their identity prior to purchase. The company believed this would help circumvent brokers and scalpers. [28]

In 2016, Ticketmaster released a statement in favor of the Better Online Ticket Sales Act (BOTS Act), which banned the use of ticket bots to buy large amounts of tickets online and resell them at inflated prices. [29] The following year, the company filed a lawsuit against the ticket broker Prestige Entertainment after the company used bots to buy more than 30,000 tickets to the Broadway play "Hamilton". [30]

The company reported nearly 500 million tickets sold for 400,000 events in 2018. [31]

In November 2020, Ticketmaster announced it will check the COVID-19 vaccination status of ticket buyers before issuing passes when live events return in 2021. Fans that either failed to verify their vaccination status or tested positive would be denied access to the event. [32]


The face value of Ticketmaster tickets is determined by the artist or client. [33] In addition to the face value price, venues and Ticketmaster add fees to pay for their services. [34]

Typically, fees added to a ticket's face value have included: [35] [36] [37]

Fee amounts vary between events and are dependent on the venue, available delivery methods, and preferences of the artist. [33] Some economists and activist groups have claimed that high ticket prices are due to a lack of competition within the music industry. [34] [38]

In 2013, the jam band The String Cheese Incident gave fans money to purchase 400 tickets to one of its shows in order to resell them on its own site with fewer fees. The band said they were protesting Ticketmaster's ticket fees, while Ticketmaster argued that the band was taking revenue from venues and promoters. [39] [40]

Criticism and controversies

Anti-competition claims

In May 1994, the grunge band Pearl Jam filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice claiming Ticketmaster had cut the group out of venue bookings in a dispute over fees. [41] The investigation was closed without action in 1995, though the Justice Department stated it would continue to monitor the developments in the ticket industry. [42] [43] Chuck Philips, a reporter who covered the issue, [44] [45] [46] [47] was told by sources close to the case that the investigation was closed due to a combination of a shortage of resources and the case being difficult and having uncertain prospects. [42]

In a 2009 article by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Ticketmaster argued that legislation was needed in Ontario to protect fans from scalpers and unauthorized ticket brokers saying, "You and I both know there is a thriving ticket-broker industry ... so the law is really a fiction ... We very strongly feel the law needs to be modernized to reflect the reality of internet commerce. By keeping a price cap in place, you're really just driving the [resale] business into the shadows." [48] That same year, musician Bruce Springsteen complained of a conflict of interest between Ticketmaster and TicketsNow after fans were directed to TicketsNow once tickets to his concert sold out on Ticketmaster.com. Irving Azoff, Ticketmaster CEO at the time, released an apology and stated that the TicketsNow link would no longer be shown for Springsteen's concerts. [49] [50] In 2018, the United States Department of Justice began reviewing complaints by AEG that claimed the company had engaged in anti-competitive practices. As of April 2018, the Department of Justice had not released comments on its investigation. [51]

As of 2016, ticket resale was Ticketmaster's fastest growing business. [52]

Rewards program monthly fees

In May 2013, Ticketmaster agreed to pay up to $23 million for enrolling customers into a rewards program that charged $9 per month. Ticketmaster made $85 million in fees, from customers who took about eight months on average to cancel their enrollment in the program. 1.12 million customers were eligible to claim up to a $30 refund. [53]

Secret partnership with scalpers

Ticketmaster secretly partners with scalpers to drive up prices for consumers. [54] Economists characterize the secondary market in tickets as socially wasteful rent-seeking. [55] [56] In the mid-2000s, Ticketmaster engaged in primary market auctions that reduced the rents involved in secondary market scalping – however, Ticketmaster ended these primary market auctions, opting instead to enter into the secondary market. [56]

In September 2018, the Toronto Star reported that Ticketmaster was not enforcing ticket limit rules on its resale platform, TradeDesk. [57] Ticketmaster denied the allegations, saying it would examine its resale policies on TradeDesk, and that it "never allows ticket scalpers to buy tickets ahead of fans." [58] One month later, a group of customers filed a class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster. [59]

In July 2019, a report by Billboard revealed a strategy by Live Nation, Ticketmaster's parent company, to secretly bypass placing certain tickets for sale on the primary market and instead, place them directly on resale sites "without giving fans a chance to buy them through normal channels at face value." [60] The company acknowledged it has "facilitated the quiet transfer of concert tickets directly into the hands of resellers through the years, though only at the request of the artists involved."

Data breach

In June 2018, Ticketmaster notified 40,000 U.K. customers that it had identified a hack caused by malicious software on a third-party customer support product it contracted. The company stated that customers who bought tickets between February and June 2018 may have had data compromised. [61] [62] [63] [64] [65] [66] [67]

Deceptive pricing

A class action lawsuit was filed against Ticketmaster in 2003, alleging that it did not fully disclose UPS and order processing fees added to tickets sold online. The case settlement was approved in 2015 and Ticketmaster issued vouchers and discount codes to fans who purchased tickets online between 1999 and 2013. [68] [69] In a related case, Ticketmaster filed suit against its liability insurance carrier, Illinois Union Insurance Company, a subsidiary of ACE Limited, in 2010 for failing to aid in its defense in the 2003 suit. [70]

In June 2019, Competition Bureau (Canada) fined Ticketmaster $4.5 million Canadian dollars ($3.44 million US dollars) as part of a settlement after it was discovered that Ticketmaster "topped advertised costs by more than 20% -- and sometimes as much as 65%." In addition to the required payment, Ticketmaster signed a consent agreement to ensure its advertising policies abide by Canadian law. [71]

Competitor computer hacking

In December 2020, Ticketmaster "entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors" and agreed to pay a $10 million fine after being charged with illegally accessing computer systems of a competitor. [72] According to FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Williams Sweeney, "Ticketmaster used stolen information to gain an advantage over its competition, and then promoted the employees who broke the law." [73] The allegations were first reported in 2017 when a former CrowdSurge top executive hired by Ticketmaster hacked into his former employer's database. [74]


Ticketmaster has partnerships with venues, professional sports leagues, musical acts and theatre tours [75] [76] [77] and target corporation in the United States and internationally. [78] Ticketmaster has partnered with musical acts such as Taylor Swift, [79] and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, [80] and theatre productions such as Hamilton and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. [75] [81]

Ticketmaster has been the ticketing provider for the National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). [82] [83] [84] In 2008, Ticketmaster entered into an agreement with the National Football League (NFL) to manage its resale market on NFL TicketExchange. [85] Ticketmaster also works with wrestling promotions World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) (1994) and All Elite Wrestling (AEW) (2019)

In 2017, Ticketmaster announced it would open the TicketExchange platform to allow the sale and validation of tickets on third-party websites, including StubHub. [85] Ticketmaster has also partnered with the United States Tennis Association, [86] Tennis Canada, [87] and the PGA Tour. [88]

See also

Related Research Articles

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