Latest Veritix News
Apr 10, 2018
Detroit Lions are making switch from Veritix to Ticketmaster as primary provider Photo by AXS Flash Seats — which had been operated by Cleveland-based Veritix until the company merged with Outbox AXS in 2015 — was used by the Detroit Lions for five seasons. As the Detroit Lions' five-year deal with Veritix nears its summer expiration date, the NFL club has told its season-ticket holders that it is switching to Ticketmaster as its primary ticketing provider. The Lions aren't commenting on the switch, which was announced by team president Rod Wood in a Feb. 8 letter to the club's fans. The Lions deal, struck in 2013 , was considered a major coup for Veritix, a digital ticketing company that at the time was owned by Dan Gilbert. Back then, the Lions were the only NFL team that didn't use Ticketmaster as their primary provider, and the hope was Cleveland-based Veritix would begin to chip away at Ticketmaster's booming NFL business. Veritix — which was formed in 2008 after Flash Seats acquired Vertical Alliance — announced a merger with Los Angeles-based Outbox AXS in June 2015. The deal, however, appears to have been more of an acquisition, as the AXS brand has replaced Veritix on all of the combined entity's digital properties and the majority of Veritix's key leaders, including founding CEO Sam Gerace, had left the company by the time the deal was finalized. (Gilbert maintains a minority stake in the combined company, a Cavs source told us in 2016.) The Cleveland office, along with Los Angeles, remains a key technology hub for AXS, CEO Bryan Perez told Crain's in 2016. "The team that is there is really core to our ticketing platform operations," Perez said. Flash Seats, the paperless ticketing system that is used by Gilbert's Cavaliers, has been utilized for all games and events at Ford Field in Detroit for the last five years. That will change later this year, when the Lions become the 30th NFL team to employ Ticketmaster as their primary provider. According to ESPN , the only NFL clubs who have opted out of the league's deal with Ticketmaster are the Dallas Cowboys, who recently purchased an undisclosed stake in SeatGeek, and the New Orleans Saints, who signed a deal with SeatGeek last November. Via its NFL Ticket Exchange, Ticketmaster has long been the league's official resale marketplace While discussing the Lions' new deal with Ticketmaster, an industry source said an NFL team pairing its primary and secondary ticket providers is hardly a surprise. And for AXS, which is operated by entertainment giant AEG, losing an NFL deal is hardly a killer. Veritix struck a partnership with the NCAA in 2009, and the Flash Seats platform is used for the men's and women's Final Four, as well as the College World Series in baseball and softball. Flash Seats, according to its website , also has deals with six NBA teams (the Cavs, Clippers, Lakers, Nuggets, Rockets and Timberwolves), three NHL clubs (the Colorado Avalanche, L.A. Kings and Vegas Golden Knights), plus the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx. In addition, Flash is used by five MLS clubs (the Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake) and the collegiate athletic departments at Drake, Duquesne, Grand Canyon, Sacramento State, Texas A&M, the University of Texas at Arlington and Utah. The AXS-Veritix merger created the second-largest ticketing company in North America. In 2016, the company said it was on track to process more than $2.5 billion in transactions. Ticketmaster, though, remains the industry leader by a considerable margin. Live Nation's annual report for 2017 said Ticketmaster delivered 500 million tickets and accounted for $30 billion in transactions. Tribe's home-opener rating is second-best for STO Brutal weather, as expected, isn't helping the Indians at the gate this month, but the Tribe remains a big draw for SportsTime Ohio. A WKYC-STO simulcast of the Tribe's home opener against the Kansas City Royals last Friday, April 6, generated a 16.46 rating and was watched by more than 245,000 homes in the Cleveland market. The rating was the second-best for an Indians home opener on STO — topped only by the 2017 Tribe. Last year's home opener against the White Sox, also a WKYC simulcast, posted a whopping 19.58 rating. Prior to 2017, the best rating for an Indians home opener was a 16.1 on March 31, 2008. (It's not a coincidence that Tribe team was coming off a run to the 2007 American League Championship Series.) The Tribe's three-game series against the Royals last weekend produced an average rating of 11.85, which was down slightly from a three-game norm of 12.22 for the 2017 club's first home series. The Indians' 1-0 loss to K.C. on Saturday delivered a 9.24 rating for STO, and the rating for Sunday's 3-1 win — via a Yan Gomes walkoff homer — was 9.85. Assuming the Indians remain in contention — and with their pitching staff, that's not much of a stretch — the club is likely to finish among the top five in the MLB ratings rankings for the fourth time in five years. With a norm of 8.33, the 2017 Indians had baseball's best ratings — and the club's top TV average in 16 years. You can follow me on Twitter for sports information and analysis, but not a breakdown of how the Nets' three-game winning streak might have ruined the Cavs' chances to land DeAndre Ayton in the draft. (Let's just say Brooklyn picked a bad time to get hot.) MORNING ROUNDUP Business headlines from Crain's Cleveland Business and other Ohio newspapers — delivered FREE to your inbox every morning. Sign up for the Morning Newsletter.