Ticketmaster is the largest distributor of tickets in the primary ticket market, their monopoly on the primary space makes them one of the most recognized brands in tickets. Ticketmaster has distribution deals with the venues, performers, teams and promoters to distribute tickets to the general public for events. They are responsible for setting up the initial pre-sale and on-sale date, offering consumers the ability to buy tickets online or by phone, and then printing and distributing the tickets; they also partnered with the venues to allow people to pick-up tickets at will-call. Ticketmaster was owned by IAC (InterActiveCorp), but was spun off in 2008.
Ticketmaster's monopoly spans a wide range of events as they have deals in place with venues for professional sports teams, like the NFL, concert venues and many other multi-use facilities that host events. Ticketmaster also owns Paciolan tickets, which is the largest distributor of tickets for college sports teams and universities. Ticketmaster also acquired ticket broker, Ticketsnow, to increase their presence in the secondary ticket market. They now refer clients who cannot find the tickets they want on the Ticketmaster website to the Ticketsnow site; a practice that has been panned by some concert fans who feels that relationship is driving up the price of tickets. Ticketmaster also has been slammed by consumers for having high service fees and a lack of customer service, even though TM is the primary distributor.
There are some drawbacks, but Ticketmaster is still a good resource to buy concert or event tickets; their inventory spans from the circus to concerts to motorcross racing. We recommend that TicketCity clients buy tickets at face value from TM if the event they want is not sold out or still has good seats available. Although you must be careful when Ticketmaster tries to steer you to buy from Ticketsnow or their TicketExchange, buying from those sites is often more expensive, and less reliable, than buying tickets at TicketCity. The best practice is to check Ticketmaster's inventory and TicketCity's inventory because we will always have better seats available and often have tickets available at or below face value. Ticketmaster even recommends checking a broker site to find deals at or below face value.
Ticketmaster is not alone in the primary ticket space, their biggest competitor is LiveNation, who used to have a partnership with Ticketmaster and now competes against them. LiveNation is currently the second largest distributor of tickets in the United States and has signed contracts with artists like U2 and Madonna to exclusively distribute tickets for their future tours. Tickets.com is another big name who competes with Ticketmaster, but the majority of Tickets.com business comes from Major League Baseball who owns them. Telecharge is a primary ticket distributor for many New York and Broadway theatre shows, they often partner with Ticketmaster to distribute tickets for hot shows like The Lion King. Paciolan is the primary distributor in the college sector, but their name will most likely be phased out since Ticketmaster now owns them. There are hundreds of smaller ticket distributors, like TicketWeb, who have contracts with venues in their region of the country to distribute tickets; these companies often handle the less mainstream concert tours and sports outside of the big four professional leagues.
To learn more information on the ticket industry and buying tickets, check out our ticket information