US-based ticketing group SeatGeek has served notice on its arts and culture clients in Benelux. The decision to “sunset” directly impacts circa 50 organisations across the region, including the high-profile Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, one of the world’s most respected concert halls.
Other installations include Rotterdam International Film Festival, Opera Antwerp, a network of 18 arts organisations around Bruges (which are cross-selling on the platform), another cluster of four arts organisations around Leuven and a range of mid-size theatres.
SRO (Standing Room Only) is the name for the original Israeli-developed platform, which was later acquired by SeatGeek in its move to establish a primary platform. Opera Antwerp was one of the first clients of the SRO2 software by TopTix back in 2003, followed by Royal Concertgebouw on the updated SRO3 in 2007. The SRO4 software was further developed and subsequently relaunched as SeatGeek Enterprise.
Mirroring its foundation and growth in North America, SeatGeek has had more success in recent months in the sports sector, with a strong football presence in the UK across the Premier League, including Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC.
TheTicketingBusiness understands that SeatGeek’s Amsterdam workspace contract has not been renewed and its client support staff continue to work from home under current covid-19 restrictions in the Netherlands. There is speculation that SeatGeek’s significant contract with the KNVB (the Dutch football association) could be supported from the UK sports team going forward.
It’s unclear how this latest announcement affects SeatGeek arts users in Scandinavia, which include Oslo’s landmark Operaen and Den Norsk Theatre supplied via its long term regional reseller Buytec.
Several of SeatGeek’s non-sport customers in the UK have confirmed that they share concerns over this latest news and will be seeking further reassurance from SeatGeek’s US management group. In August 2018, the company announced its surprise exit from Asia-Pacific leaving customers across the region in search of new ticketing solutions.
In response to enquires from TheTicketingBusiness.com, SeatGeek issued the following statement: “The on-going uncertainty of COVID-19 and its impact on the industry as a whole has meant that SeatGeek are focusing on areas of long-term, scalable growth. SeatGeek has moved to scale back their presence in the Benelux region with the news that theatres and museums and other non-sport clients in Holland and Belgium are not part of the strategic direction for the region. SeatGeek will serve out all client contract obligations and commitments over the next few years, and will continue to provide long-term Dutch support in the market. This decision will not affect any sports clients in Benelux, nor will it impact any clients at all in the rest of Europe.”
SeatGeek’s existing clients have been given a year to find a new ticketing platform, although some more recently-signed clients may have an extension on this.
“The news came as a shock. There were some staff changes earlier this year and we all know it’s difficult to make money in the arts – and that’s also true for arts software. We all liked SRO. Yes, it was an old system but it was extremely versatile and could do everything, although difficult to learn,” says one user. “I guess this is an opportunity to now look around and see what’s on offer.”
Image credit: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra – photo: Simon van Boxtel.