AXS Ticketing to Serve as Exclusive Ticket Seller for Some of L.A.'s Biggest Concert Venues

Staples Center Nokia Theater L.A. Live - H 2012
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Staples Center Nokia Theater L.A. Live - H 2012

UPDATED: The AEG service, which launched last year, presents a major challenge to Ticketmaster, the dominant U.S. ticket seller.

AEG said Monday that its AXS Ticketing will replace Ticketmaster as the sole ticketing agency for events held at four of its sports and entertainment outlets in Los Angeles -- Staples Center, Nokia Theatre, L.A. Live and Club Nokia.

The first event at Staples for which tickets will be sold through AXS (pronounced Axis) will be Beyonce’s  June 26 concent at Staples, which kicks off her world tour. The tour was announced after her halftime performance at the Super Bowl on Sunday.

The move is a major threat to Ticketmaster, which is the dominant concert ticket sales service. Staples is one of the top concert venues in the U.S. The West Hollywood-based Ticketmaster merged in 2010 with Live Nation to become Live Nation Entertainment.

At least through t his season, however, Ticketmaster will continue to handle ticket sales for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, both of whom play their games in Staples Center. 

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Launched in August 2011 by AEG, AXS Ticketing already is serving 24 venues, including London’s O2 arena (also controlled by AEG), the top concert venue in the U.K. since 2007.

“With the addition of AEG’s largest and most iconic venue to date -- Staples Center -- the ticketing platform now powers the No. 1 arenas in both North America and the United Kingdom, with true momentum forward,” said Tom Andrus, AXS Digital senior vp and GM. “AXS is more than just ticketing and was created as a complete platform to redefine the live-event experience by empowering venues across every phase of an event -- from event discovery to ticketing to in-venue engagement and beyond.”

For AEG, owned by Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz, the move is not just about ticketing but about controlling the fan experience and cutting out the middleman -- thus keeping an extra portion of the ticket price. This is seen as a way to curb the scalping of tickets and to make it easier to buy them. An app that allows ticket holders to order concessions that will be delivered to their seats is another innovation.

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In the announcement, AEG said it also has begun to acquire other assets to add additional capabilities to AXS Ticketing and to collect data it says will present “a true picture of fans from the moment they contemplate a purchase until they leave the venue post-event.”

Recent acquisitions include Carbonhouse, which creates websites for arenas, performing arts centers and convention centers. It offers Apps for Venues in partnership with WillowTree Apps. Carbonhouse is said to have more than 100 client facilities across the U.S., including Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, American Airlines Arena in Miami and KeyArena in Seattle.

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AEG also recently became a “strategic investor” in ByPass, which offers ordering and payment services for venues.

“AXS is rapidly becoming the world’s only end-to-end digital venue services platform, unifying the entire event lifecycle for both the fan and venue management to create seamless experiences, personalization and commerce and data-capture opportunities,” said Bryan Perez, AEG president of digital, ticketing and media. “Today’s investments demonstrate our commitment to deploy technologies that do more than just ticketing but truly empower venues to build direct relationships with their patrons and enhance the entire fan experience.”

Other innovations include AXS Invite, which allows people to buy tickets and reserve adjacent seats for their friends. Since it was introduced in October, according to AEG, 64 percent of people using AXS have purchased tickets using the system, which it says increased the size of the average transaction by 2.4 percent to 4 percent.

AEG also acquired Front Gate Tickets in a joint venture with C3 Presents. It is billed as the largest independent ticketing company in the U.S. and has handled such events as the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and Lollapalooza.

AEG also partners with eBay and StubHub to create what it calls a fan-to-fan ticket marketplace for AEG venues worldwide, with PayPal becoming one of the ways people can pay for the tickets.

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AEG also said it soon will launch Fair AXS, to allow fans to buy tickets in advance of the official sale by filling out a form in the week before the tickets are available.

The company also plans to roll out AXS Anywhere, which allows partner websites to sell tickets through AXS Ticketing. This would allow someone on a website like ESPN to read about an upcoming sporting event and then use a widget to click and buy tickets.

Last year, Mark Cuban renamed his premium cable TV channel HDNet as AXS TV. It features live concerts and events with tickets available through AXS Ticketing. AXS TV is a joint venture of Cuban, AEG, Ryan Seacrest and the CAA talent agency.

AEG announced in the fall that it was putting L.A. Live, Staples and other assets, including its sports teams in Los Angeles, up for sale. That process has slowed, according to reports, because there is more interest than expected in the properties. Days after Anschutz put AEG up for sale, the Los Angeles City Council approved Farmers Field, AEG's $1.1 billion football-stadium project designed to bring an NFL team to Los Angeles for the first time since the Rams and Raiders left in 1994.