RealTime IT News

Ticketmaster Aims to Cut Scalpers Out with Auction

Ever wonder about all those choice seats going empty the last time you attended a pro sports event? Soon there may be a way to buy your way into one of them.

Ticketmaster's online operation is quietly launching a marketplace Web site at which sports fans with season tickets will be able to offer them for sale in an auction format if they can't attend a particular event.

Los Angeles-based Ticketmaster , which is majority owned by e-commerce mogul Barry Diller's USA Interactive, says the ticket sales will be sanctioned by the sports teams, so there are no worries about scalping.

No event tickets are on sale yet, but 17 NBA teams have reportedly signed up to participate, and it would seem likely that marketing efforts are underway with baseball and football teams as well.

The Web site says that "our authentication technology ensures that all tickets at Ticketmaster Marketplace are valid for entry." Apparently both Ticketmaster and the particular sports team get a portion of the ticket price.

"Avoid the hassle of collecting tickets from sellers by mail or in person," the Web site says. "Ticketfast delivery lets you print your own tickets instantly." Ticketfast apparently will use e-mail with a barcode that can be printed out and then scanned at participating stadiums, according to published reports. A similar mechanism is reportedly being planned for the eventual sale of concert tickets.

Auction leader eBay already has a ticket area that includes concerts, theaters, sporting events and even movies.

Ticketmaster says it sold 86.7 million tickets in 2001 valued at more than $3.6 billion through approximately 3,300 retail Ticket Center outlets; 20 telephone call centers and the ticketmaster.com Web site.