Ticketmaster on Olympic team

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Ticketmaster, along with a couple of Chinese partners, has been named the exclusive supplier of ticketing services for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

A unit of Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp, Ticketmaster is the world's largest provider of tickets to live entertainment events. Its Olympics deal, announced Friday, marks its first foray into the Chinese market.

Ticketmaster said it would operate there through a joint venture called Gehua Ticketmaster, which was formed as a partnership with China Sports Industry Group and Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group.

Gehua Ticketmaster will handle telephone and online sales of Olympic tickets, as well as the staffing and other support at on-site boxoffice locations.

Gehua Ticketmaster will be managed in Beijing by Curt Logan, a senior vp and 25-year veteran of Ticketmaster, which operates in 19 markets worldwide and last year sold 119 million tickets worth a total of $6 billion. The only other time Ticketmaster worked with the Olympics was at Athens in 2004.

"We are committed to a long-term investment in the country's live event marketplace," Ticketmaster chairman and CEO Terry Barnes said.

Although there are more than 50 ticketing services in China, its residents "are accustomed to making reservations but not so accustomed to advanced ticketing," Barnes said.

He said Ticketmaster intends on staying in China after the Olympics, possibly by continuing its partnership with the China Sports Industry Group and Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group.

Shares of IAC/InterActiveCorp. fell 1% on Friday to $30.10. Some of the company's other assets are Ask.com, Citysearch, Evite, Match.com and HSN.
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