Rival, the ticketing company started by former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard will partner with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment as Rival’s first client, Amplify has exclusively learned. The deal unseats AXS Tickets, who through their acquisition of Veritix in 2015 had held the ticketing contract that powered Altitude Tickets, Kroenke’s in-house ticketing system for the Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and the Colorado Rapids of the MLS.
The signing is a big win for Hubbard, who announced the formation of Rival in 2018 with few details and a lot of buzz in the ticketing industry. The former TM boss and Twitter vp of commerce from 2013-2016 is an outspoken critic and thought leader in the ticketing world, writing articles for The Ringer and tweeting long treatises about college football pricing and missed opportunities in ticketing.
1) The College Football National Championship Game ticket market had imploded. Tickets are available for ~10% of what they were a month ago. In the last week, the number of available tickets has doubled. Supply is now being outright dumped. The lesson as always: don’t buy early.
— Nathan Hubbard (@NathanCHubbard) January 3, 2019
We’ve been thinking a lot about the year ahead in the ticketing business as we get ready for @Rival’s next steps. So apropos of nothing, here’s a quick thread on some things I think I know are coming in the year ahead in the ticketing business:
— Nathan Hubbard (@NathanCHubbard) December 18, 2018
Few details of the agreement are known, but Amplify has learned that the deal was brokered between Josh Kroenke, who along with his mom Ann, took over ownership of father Stan Kroenke’s Denver sports holdings in 2010 so that Stan Kroenke could comply with NFL ownership rules as part of his purchase of the (then St Louis, now Los Angeles) Rams.
The Rival deal does not include the Rams or the venues within the $4 billion stadium development in Inglewood — but the client list of Altitude is quite impressive and includes Colorado venues like 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Dicks Sporting Good Park in Commerce City, Denver’s Paramount Theatre and the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.
The news is a blow for AEG-owned AXS Tickets, which held the contract since 2009 when Kroenke’s ticket company Ticket Horse struck a deal with Flash Seats, the digital ticketing brand of Veritix. Denver was a test market for AXS when the AEG-owned company first began testing its AXS ticketing system, built partially on technology developed by former Ticketmaster CEO Fred Rosen and touring troupe Cirque du Soleil through their Canadian firm Outbox.
Hubbard announced the formation of his company in May, telling the Wall Street Journal that Rival would be the “platform for the most coveted live events on the planet” and has backing from unnamed “sports teams, venue owners across the globe, and leaders from the tech industry’s highest profile companies.”
Amplify reached out to Rival, Kroenke and AEG for comment but did not receive a response by press time. An announcement from Rival with more details on the client signing is expected in Q2 or Q3 of 2019.