IT’S OFFICIAL…LIVE NATION AND TICKETMASTER TO MERGE

It has been reported…. well, everywhere but I took it from the Wall Street Journal’s online “MarketWatch” newsletter that…well they can say it better than me.

By MarketWatch
Last update: 1:50 p.m. EST Feb. 10, 2009
CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Live Nation Inc. and Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. said Tuesday that they’ve agreed to merge in a $2.5 billion all-stock deal that would create the nation’s top ticket provider, artist-management group and concert promoter.

Wow, that’s a lot…”the nation’s top ticket provider, artist-management group and concert promoter.”  What does this mean to you and me for 2009?  Probably not much.  Although almost everyone who writes on the subject believes that this deal with pass national and international antitrust regulators (although there may have to be some concessions made), there will still likely be scrutiny on both sides of the the Atlantic…which takes time.  The all-stock deal is expected to be completed in the second half of 2009 according to MarketWatch, so one would assume that operations of the combined companies wouldn’t begin till January, 2010.  But what then?

Live Nation Entertainment, Inc will control most concert and professional sports venue ticketing, there is no question.  So fans, show producers and independent promoters won’t see “convenience charges” and other ticketing fees coming down anytime soon.  Frontline’s client’s aren’t going to drop their guarantees, so ticket prices aren’t coming down either.  Again, there is nothing really changing here.  The real bright spot in this deal could be fan service.

There are plenty of smart people at Live Nation and TicketMaster.  Put them together with talent, buildings, and technology, and the fan could actually end-up being the winner of this merger.  Call me a dreamer, but think about it for a second.  The buildings, sports teams and bands can’t put-up with poor customer service.  Lee Zeidman from the Staples Center/Nokia Live told me that if there is a customer with a ticketing problem of any kind, it doesn’t matter who is at fault (promoter, ticketing company, fan club, radio station, etc) it becomes his staff’s job to solve that problem.  The fan doesn’t know the difference, only that their sound sucks, can’t see the stage, didn’t get the seats they were promised, or whatever the issue is. 

So if everything we read is true and there is a merger, we should be able to count on better service for fans in 2010.  It only makes sense since it is in the artist, manager, promoter, producer, and ticketing company…everyone’s best interest to keep the fan happy. 

Talk with you soon…

Jim

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