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2020 in review: December

The West End closed its door for the third time this year on December 14 after London was moved into tier three, England’s highest level of coronavirus restrictions. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there had been exponential growth in the virus in London, south and west Essex and the south of Hertfordshire. He also told MPs that a new variant of the virus had been identified which may be “growing faster” than existing variants. 

The move dealt a major blow to the theatre sector which had only begun to welcome back fans since England’s lockdown ended on December 2.

Ticketmaster’s chief operating officer Amy Howe announced she will be taking a step back from her role in the firm’s latest shakeup at the helm. The executive at the Live Nation-owned ticketing giant has already begun transitioning to a consulting role ahead of her exit next year.

Howe has served as global chief operating office of Ticketmaster since August, when she was promoted after previously working as the firm’s president of North America.She was appointed alongside now-Ticketmaster global chairman Jared Smith and global president Mark Yovich. However, in October Smith announced that he would be leaving the company at an undisclosed date when Yovich will take over his position and lead the ticketing powerhouse.

December also welcomed US Congress agreeing to terms on a $900bn (£681bn/€741bn) COVID-19 Relief Bill, with around $15bn going to independent music venues, theatres and cultural institutions that have been almost entirely shuttered since March. The Save Our Stages Act was first proposed by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and subsequently introduced in July as a bi-partisan bill in the Senate by Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Cornyn and in the House of Representatives by Peter Welch and Roger Williams.

Ticketmaster Sport, SecuTix and SeatGeek Sport joined forces to develop a set of guidelines to support the return of fans to live sporting events in the UK. The work to identify a framework of ticketing standards for the industry was carried out on behalf of the Sports Technology and Innovation Group (STIG), which was set up by the UK Government in September to identify technological solutions for the safe return of fans.

The guidelines include a 10-step process through the fan journey from ticket purchase to post-event communication. The steps include a fan risk assessment, identifying modes of transport, a pre-event health questionnaire and notifications before and after the event. It identifies the minimum requirement for ticketing companies, along with the gold standard to aim for.

Image: Oxfordian Kissuth / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Edited for size