Published in The Music Network
by Lars Brandle
Ray, your colleagues have been widely quoted in the press as saying StubHub was considering setting up shop in Australia. How far down the track are those plans?
We have no immediate plans to come to Australia, but hope to have a presence sometime in the next few years. When we do come to Australia, we’ll likely look to replicate the model we’ve established in the United States, which includes local offices where fans can pick up their tickets and partnerships with leagues, teams and venues to enhance the fan experience.
Can you explain to our Australian readers what exactly StubHub does?
StubHub is a secondary ticket market that connect buyers and sellers and we’re building our business to be a place that connects fans with live event experiences.
So why does Australia need StubHub? What are you going to do differently?
I think it’s a bit presumptuous to say Australians need StubHub, but we feel like we offer a service that benefits fans by providing them choice and access to the live events they want to be at. In the U.S., StubHub has differentiated itself from competitors by providing a marketplace that specialises in tickets, which includes robust trust and safety, world-class customer service and a world-class user experience for buying and selling tickets.
Where do you see the inventory coming from?
Sports memberships, music, theatre? Anyone can sell on StubHub, but StubHub itself never sells tickets. In the U.S., about 75% of our sales come from sporting events and the remainder is everything else.
Will StubHub’s entry to the Australian market start a wave of discounted tickets?
StubHub operates a free and open market in the U.S. without price restrictions. At this point we see nearly 50% of tickets being sold at or below face value.
Ticket reselling companies have something of a rogue’s profile. How will the company challenge that perception in Australia?
In the U.S. we focus on consumers, which is different from the rest of the industry. And other secondary ticketing sites typically sell their own inventory, which we believe is a conflict of interest.
Australia has a handful of big ticketing players. Behind that, it’s a fragmented marketplace. What are your ambitions should you come here?
This isn’t new territory as it is the same situation we face in the United States. We’ve believe there’s as much opportunity in Australia to serve fans as there is in the U.S.
Some promoters and ticketing agents reckon you’re going to face difficulties based on the differences to the U.S. market with our lack of sold-out events and season ticket holders. How will you navigate those peculiarities?
Providing access to events that are sold out is one thing we do well, but the majority of events in the U.S. don’t sell out. What we offer, is not only access but the ability to choose the location of where you sit and hat is something that is in demand regardless of whether the event is sold out or not.
In March this year, your company’s Internet presence was upgraded for cross-border trading, apparently opening the market up to more than 55 countries including Australia. What activity have you noted from that?
What we’ve noticed is that we’ve gotten more sales from Australians than from any other market.
And in the U.S., StubHub has been trialling paperless options using mobile phones. What’s the feedback on that been like?
We’ve just start testing mobile barcoding, so it’s a little early to provide feedback. We do think that this is the future of ticketing.