Amazon has held talks directly with the owners of major venues in the US about potentially entering the business of ticket sales, according to a report from Reuters. If Amazon were to proceed, it could significantly disrupt an industry that is largely dominated by Ticketmaster. But as an alternative to competing, Amazon has also considered partnering with Ticketmaster on a ticketing effort. Those discussions “have stalled over who would control customer data” according to Reuters.
The report claims that Amazon views ticketing as “ripe for attack” and as a potential source of profit. The company already operates Amazon Tickets overseas, but hasn’t launched that business at home in the United States yet.
But Ticketmaster, owned by Live Nation, has a seemingly unbreakable grip on the box office at many of the largest and most popular venues. In an attempt to give itself an opening, Amazon has reportedly “offered to write sponsorship checks worth millions of dollars to the venues” according to one of Reuters’ sources. The online retail giant has also discussed a StubHub-like model of reselling tickets with one unspecified sports league.
It would take a company of Amazon’s stature to have any real chance of overcoming the long-running business ties between Ticketmaster and big event venues in cities around the country. But many consumers likely have a more positive opinion of Amazon than they do of Ticketmaster and its added processing fees that get tacked onto already-expensive ticket prices. (Remember that class action lawsuit settlement and all the free tickets people got?) And it’s not hard to see the appeal and convenience — and money to be made — if you could get tickets and merchandise together. Ticketmaster was acquired by Live Nation in 2009 for $2.5 billion.