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(Updated with comment from eBay)
It was all the way back in 2007 that eBay bought StubHub, but it is only this year that the company seems to have taken an active interest in really turning its purchase into something larger than a website dedicated to resellers.
Instead, it's turning it into a primary ticket marketplace, and that's a big change for StubHub. No longer will be it be individual users selling one or two tickets at a time, but major players selling thousands of tickets at once. That requires a much different set of tools, so eBay has acquired Ticket Utils, a ticket broker software company.
No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but a spokesperson for eBay informs me that all 35 of Ticket Utils' employees, including president Brian Hampel and CTO Muktak Joshi, are expected to join StubHub.
Ticket Utils will become part of the StubHub platform, where it will "help maximize sell-through and better automate the inventory management process for large sellers on StubHub." In addition to integrating with StubHub, Ticket Utils will continue to allow sellers to list on the 20 other marketplaces that it currently provides for.
Founded in 2010, some of Ticket Utils' features include PDF/barcode management, a broker hub for one-click broker-to-broker transactions, a built-in broker-to-broker chat tool, an online stores for sellers, auto-invoice, Quickbooks integration, and maps and seating charts.
The platform also supports multiple currencies and languages, which will be useful for StubHub as it begins to further expand internationally.
“As StubHub seeks to become a truly global brand, we are working on new ways to ensure that sellers have effective, useful tools to better manage their inventory, pricing, distribution and internationalization,” StubHub President Scott Cutler said in a statement. “Ticket Utils is an example of the ways in which we are listening to our customers and working to improving their selling experience, which is a benefit to our business and theirs.”
Building up StubHub
2016 is turning out to be a big year for StubHub, as it has suddenly begun to grow into something much larger than a secondary ticket marketplace,
That started with the announcement in February that StubHub was going to expand to the other part of the ticket marketplace, selling tickets directly from venues on its platform. It even got its first partner, the Philadelphia 76ers, meaning that people who want to buy tickets to home games for the 2016-2017 season will have to go to StubHub to get them.
The platform will include features such as white-labeling for primary tickets; real-time market data, so that box offices can maximize pricing, while owning and controlling all buyer data; as well as the the ability for customers to purchase tickets from multiple sellers in one transaction, and for partners to bundle other goods, such as parking, with a ticket sale.
In May, eBay decided to give StubHub another boost with the acquisition of Ticketbis, an international ticket marketplace that operates in 47 countries including Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey.
StubHub, on the other hand, had only been in four countries outside of the United States: Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Germany. So this represented another big change, and a big boost.
"StubHub is our tickets vertical experience, much like fashion, electronics, or parts & accessories that you can find on eBay. We continue to see strong overlap between the Marketplace and StubHub visitor bases," the eBay spokesperson told me.
"We encourage all of our customers to use StubHub as their tickets marketplace to take advantage of the tailor made experience for fans and the security offered by StubHub’s FanProtect Guarantee, assuring fans they will make it to their event or we will make it right."
It's clear that eBay sees a big opportunity for StubHub, as both the primary and secondary ticket markets are said to be worth upwards of $10 billion. If eBay can capture both sides of the ticket space, it would be a goldmine.
(Image source: dailymail.co.uk)
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