UK, Asia are priorities – TEG’s Geoff Jones

Australian-headquartered Ticketek will be operating in the UK by early next year, TEG’s chief executive has revealed.

In a press call with trade media today, TEG’s Geoff Jones reiterated the company’s positivity around its acquisition by Silver Lake Partners and went on to emphasise that the UK and Asia markets were priority objectives.

TEG currently operates as the exclusive ticketing provider for over 135 venue and promoter clients and delivers 30 million tickets annually for over 30,000 events spanning live sports, concerts, theatre, festivals, and exhibitions across more than 13 countries.

Silver Lake synergies

TEG’s new owners – Silver Lake Partners – is one of the leading tech investors with some US$43bn in combined assets across a broad tech portfolio. The portfolio includes some of the key businesses in sports and entertainment, including stakes in: China’s AliBaba; Learfield-IMG (the leading US collegiate sports rights marketing group); Fanatics (an online sports team merchandising platform); AMC (the largest global cinema chain); Endeavour (which provide athlete representation); and Oak View Group (the venue operator and North American arena alliance). Silver Lake also has stakes in Madison Square Garden and UFC.

Will Silver Lake be encouraging TEG to use these potential partners to grow its business? Jones played down the immediate likelihood of linking business activities across Silver Lake’s portfolio, commenting: “We will grow our own way… tread our own path.”

Entering the UK market

Jones said that he expected Ticketek (TEG’s ticketing retail platform) to be operating in the UK by early 2020 but that entering other European markets was only at the “preliminary discussion” stage.

“We’ve already ticketed a couple of million tickets in the UK for various shows, so we are set up to operate there,” said Jones.

With Ticketmaster as an established leader, and AXS embedded into the AEG family of venues, the UK entertainment ticketing market is highly-concentrated at the top end.

In August, TEG acquired UK-based event promoter and venue operator The MJR Group.

But Jones said TEG’s focus would more likely be away from the stadia and large-scale arena. “We’re open to venue opportunities but not at the stadium or arena scale. We like the size and the mix of the MJR venues… We’re also use to working with different types of content – family shows, esports, conferences – not just live music.

The MJR Group is a great fit for TEG. It has strong management talent and a clever live entertainment model to which TEG can add ticketing, analytics and digital capability. The MJR Group also brings significant additions to our venue portfolio.”

The MJR Group’s operations will be incorporated into TEG’s global offering, with The MJR Group’s UK operations to be renamed TEG UK. So, will MJR businesses be moving to the Ticketek platform anytime soon?

“MJR group has an existing ticketing contract (Eventbrite – ed) but I would imagine we transition to our platform over time,” explained Jones.

Tech differentiator

Asia is another focus for growth with Jones not ruling out acquisitions over the coming months. He added: “We’re already promoting international football in Singapore with Brazil national team. And growing the ticketing companies we have in Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia. We are looking at other acquisitions in the region.”

So what will TEG be offering the market to set it apart from the incumbents? “We won’t be a bargain bucket ticketing setup, that’s for sure. We believe that it is our technology which sets us apart. We have tools to help engage and to sell more tickets. That’s the real measure of success.”

It’s perhaps worth noting that last week Jones also commented that: “Silver Lake brings us deep technology expertise as well as important global entertainment content and live events expertise and relationships which will help us to accelerate the growth of our platform globally.”