November heralded the biggest story of the year in the ticketing industry as it was announced that Viagogo had agreed a deal to buy rival StubHub from eBay for $4.05bn.
The sale is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2020, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. eBay had been considering the future of the ticketing resale platform throughout the year following pressure from activist investors.
Viagogo said the deal will unite the two businesses which “share the same fundamental principle of providing a secure platform for people to buy and sell tickets to live events”.
“Buyers will have a wider choice of tickets, and sellers will have a wider network of buyers. Bringing these two companies together creates a win-win for fans – more choice and better pricing,” said Eric Baker, Viagogo’s founder and CEO, who also co-founded StubHub while in business school, but left before the business was sold to eBay for $310m in 2007.
In what was a landmark month for Viagogo, the platform was also readmitted to Google after it was banned from advertising by the search engine giant in July.
Viagogo’s return to Google was criticised by campaigners who had long called on the search engine to bar the resale platform. FEAT (Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing) suggested Viagogo had not amended its practices, citing a listing for Billie Eilish in a tweet issued in the same week.
The ban had a major impact on Viagogo, with reports claiming global site visits fell by around two-thirds from 15.3m in June – before the ban came into effect – to just 4.5m in August. In the UK, visits fell by 80 per cent to just 820,000 in August.
It was a bad month for See 360, which was ditched from ticketing duties by English Football League club Stoke City in a rare mid-season move.
The Championship club claimed that the move will “create a smarter, more streamlined supporter experience.”
While Stoke City did not confirm its reasons behind the move, it was widely reported during the club’s opening game of the campaign in August that See 360 was to blame for a technical error in the coding of the ticketing system for those whose season cards had been printed in the 10 days prior to the game.
Meanwhile, YouTube launched its concert discovery service in the UK and Ireland with music fans now able to access tickets from Ticketmaster, See Tickets and Eventbrite.
The Google-owned video-sharing platform’s new feature was an expansion of the ticketing integration first launched with Ticketmaster in 2017 in the US. Since then it has been expanded to Canada and Australasia. Concert listings appear on Official Artists Channels, with fans able to purchase tickets directly from one of the site’s ticketing partners.