Live Nation takes to turnstiles

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LONDON -- Live Nation, which already promotes concerts, owns venues, sells merchandise and has a recording artist division with Madonna, is getting into yet another area of the live entertainment business: ticketing.

The live music giant said Thursday that it has struck a 10-year agreement with CTS Eventim, the Bremen, Germany-based ticket marketer and promoter, to launch a worldwide ticketing business on Jan. 1, 2009.

CTS is second only to IAC/InterActive Corp.'s Ticketmaster in worldwide ticket sales. Live Nation said earlier this year that it would not renew its contract with Ticketmaster in a move to gain more control of the business.

Beverly Hills-based Live Nation said that the ticketing platform will allow it to control customer data to create "enhanced ticket-based concert products," like T-shirts and valet parking, and capitalize on expanded distribution channels and sponsorship opportunities.

Through the CTS initiative, Live Nation will exclusively license the Eventim platform in North America, while Eventim will provide back office ticketing services in the U.K. and ticketing services throughout Europe. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With the deal, CTS will enter the U.S. market and expects to nearly double ticket sales from the 60 million it sold last year.

Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino described the development as "a monumental step forward in the evolution of Live Nation into a next-generation music company."

"Eventim is the most technologically sophisticated ticketing platform in the world," he added. "Live Nation will use its most important asset, the concert ticket, to build artist careers and customer relationships, forge innovative sponsorship deals, create a fan and artist-friendly secondary ticketing platform and provide a ticketing alternative for third-party venues. We believe that our partnership with Eventim will allow us to execute on this transformational vision."
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