Tickets.com: Not Out of the Race

This weekend, I watched the Olympic triathlon. There was the 0.93-mile swim
(starting with a dive from the Opera House), 24.8 mile cycle, and 6.2 mile run.

In a way, it kind of reminded me of many dot-com companies; that is, a
grueling experience.

One that comes to mind is Tickets.com
. Since going public last year, the stock price hit a
high of $32. Now, the stock is at $1-5/16 and the market cap is $77
million. Alas, it is a familiar story.

Yet, the stock price has not scared away deals. Tickets.com
was able to snag the deal to provide the online ticketing for the upcoming
Winter Games in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Then there was the deal to provide exclusive online ticketing to
Major League Baseball (MLB). The arrangment is very enticing for MLB, as it
will be able to control its brand, as well as customer data. In fact,
baseball fans are some of the most avid Internet consumers. Thus, MLB has
made online ticketing a critical element in creating a stronger relationship
between fans and local clubs. Keep in mind that in 1999, more than 70
million tickets were sold for MLB.

The financials for Tickets.com? In the past quarter, revenues were $14.8
million, which was up 16.2 percent from last year. While losses have been
narrowing, they are still large. Last quarter the losses were $13.9
million.

Then again, Tickets.com is a company in transition. While many other
dot-com companies have started to consolidate, Tickets.com has already done
this. You see, the company is a roll-up of 11 companies.

In the consolidation, Tickets.com has been rationalizing its technologies.
“With our acquisitions,” says Tom Gimple, CEO of Tickets.com, “we acquired
seven ticketing software solutions. We are integrating the technologies
into one solution.”

Also, the company has been paring down its workforce. About 220 employees
will be let go over the next year.

While there are still great risks to the stock, the fact remains that the
company has been focusing on the right things. No longer is Tickets.com a
portal play. “We are focusing on our core competency,” says Gimple, “which
is transaction systems.”

So far, it seems to be working. No question, the deals with the Olympics
and MLB should be a boost to revenues and profits. According to Gimple:
“Time will be friendly to us.” And to shareholders.

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