Anschutz Entertainment Group, a behemoth in the world of sports and entertainment events and venues, has officially entered competition with Live Nation’s Ticketmaster in the ticketing market.
AEG, which owns venues like Los Angeles’ Staples Center and London’s 02 Arena -- and is behind the push for a Los Angeles football team as well -- has launched the website for its new site, axs.com, and will sell the first tickets through the service Aug. 27.
The venture is a partnership between AEG, which has been Ticketmaster’s biggest client, and Outbox Enterprises, a start-up. Former Ticketmaster CEO Fred Rosen is overseeing the new project.
Rosen was at the heart of Ticketmaster’s rise in the 1980s and 1990s, but he left after disputes with bosses Paul Allen and Barry Diller. For a good look at Rosen’s history and involvement in the rise of online ticketing, read this story that the New York Times’ Janet Morrissey wrote about him in June.
Live Nation, the biggest live event promoter, merged with Ticketmaster, the giant of ticket sales, in 2010. Since then, AEG has been licensing Ticketmaster’s software per a ruling by the Department of Justice. The DOJ stipulated that AEG must be able to use the software for up to five years until it establishes its own ticketing business.
The deal puts AEG well ahead of schedule. Outbox permits venues to have more control over the ticketing operation, erasing the middleman (Ticketmaster). Tickets will be available on the venues' websites through the axs service.
AEG owns or operates more than 100 buildings across the globe, and the first tickets will be available for a few shows at two theaters in Denver -- the Ogden Theatre and Bluebird Theater. Tickets are available on axs.com.
Outbox, which is an independent company, will eventually expand to non-AEG venues. How the partnership will proceed has yet to be announced.