To streamline ticket-buying for those who frequent Staples Center, cut down on unwanted service charges and improve the fan experience inside the building, AEG announced a new process today that will eventually eliminate Ticketmaster as its main entrance-pass provider for its facilities.
AXS (pronounced “access”) Ticketing, developed, owned and operated by AEG, will be the primary point-of-sale distributor moving forward. The company will also advance the technology on how a seat-holder with a smart phone can navigate through food lines, enter without a printout, and be alerted to seat upgrades on the day of a game.
The multi-use service is one that AEG has already installed in 24 of its venues across the work over the last 18 months, including London’s The 02 arena.
Fans of the AEG Sports-owned MLS Galaxy have already seen the AXS service in use at Home Depot Center. Next up is bringing the Kings into the fold, starting with Staples Center tickets issued this summer for the 2013-14 season.
AEG has a minority stake in the Lakers, but that team, as well as the Clippers and Sparks, will ultimately have to decide if their seats will continue to sue Ticketmaster or eventually come over to AXS.
No decision has been made by those teams yet, nor has one been determined by ESPN for its X Games events that are often in and around Staples Center each summer.
Concert goers at Staples Center, LA Live, the Nokia Theatre and Club Nokia will see AXS used first with the sale of tickets to the June 26-28 concerts that Beyonce has set for Staples Center. Those go on sale Feb. 11.
Bryan Perez, AEG’s president of digital, tickets and media, and Tom Andrus, the AXS Digital senior vice president and general manager, explained how the system will work to some 1,000 AEG employees who attended a company expo at the JW Marriott Hotel in LA Live today.
“This will change the industry and improve the event experience for millions of customers,” said Andrus.
AXS vice president of ticketing Blaine LeGere explained that his company can do a better job than Ticketmaster in freezing out brokers from day-of online sales by having all those who try to buy tickets to enter a virtual “waiting room.” From there, customers are randomly selected to be allowed into “the store” to purchase tickets.
The Fair AXS software also allows fans to sign up to buy tickets a week in advance of the online sale and select tickets through a lottery system before the general sale.
“It doesn’t favor anyone with the fastest computer and it’s a much more fair way to do it,” said LeGere.
AXS also eliminates that $2.50 charge that Ticketmaster posts for people to print out tickets from their own computer. AXS policy is also to present all service and handling charges up front so the customer sees them before agreeing to the purchase.
AXS has a partnership with StubHub that can eliminate the frustration of fraudulent ticket sales.
“We allow the customers who want to sell their tickets to enter the bar code, get authenticated, and then it verifies to the customer buying it they have a trusted ticket and they are able to enter the building without having issues at the box office,” said LeGere.
Once inside, a Staples Center customer who has provided data to AXS through the website or via a phone app may have quicker access to things like concession stand food, be alerted to upgrades, and receive offers to hold tickets for friends for purchase.
The creation of AXS Ticketing was a direct result of the recent merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, the latter of which was a failed business created to compete with the Ticketmaster way of selling tickets. Antitrust regulators encouraged AEG to find their own ticketing agency after approving the merger in 2010.
Ticketmaster has had the ability to collect data from Kings fans, for instance, and alert them of deals that the Dodgers may be offering at Dodger Stadium. AXS keeps all that information in house with AEG instead.
Kelly Cheeseman, the Chief Operations Officer for AEG Sports (which includes the Kings and Galaxy), said he is confident about seeing this improve the “experience for the fans, having everything much more integrated inside the facility.
“As it is now, a person buys a ticket and we don’t interact much with them at all after that. There will be a lot more positive experience from parking to concession stand bypass lines to seat upgrades.”
AEG announced last year it was putting all its sports assets up for sale, including the Kings, Staples Center and L.A. Live. AEG has also announced its intent to build a $1.1 billion football-ready stadium for an NFL franchise that wants to move to L.A.