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Ticketing fight: AEG replaces Ticketmaster with its new Axs system in Kansas City

By Eric Richardson with Shereen Meraji
Published: Friday, January 13, 2012, at 01:24PM
AEG Eric Richardson

A fight between two Los Angeles-based giants of the concert industry took a new front in Kansas City today, where AEG is now selling seats for shows at the Sprint Center and the Midland theater through its new Axs ticketing system.

That's a blow for Ticketmaster, which in 2010 merged with Beverly Hills-based Live Nation. AEG was once the ticketing giant's largest third-party client, but the company committed to moving away from the service after it became part of the rival entertainment company.

Ticketmaster has long dominated the ticket booking industry, with exclusive deals to sell seats for a wide range of venues. AEG fought the merger on antitrust grounds, and ended up getting provisions inserted in the deal that would allow it to compete with the new firm.

Axs ticketing will eventually expand to all of AEG's venues, including Staples Center, Nokia Theatre and Club Nokia on AEG's L.A. Live campus.

There’s big money at stake: AEG venues sold nine million tickets worldwide in 2011. Staples Center took home the top U.S. spot in Pollstar’s 2011 concert rankings, with 633,374 tickets sold. If those were sold with an average ticket fee of $13, that is more than $8 million in revenue at just the one venue.

AEG's Todd Sims told the Kansas City Star that the company is launching new features for high-volume shows, including a "waiting room" where a user can browse pricing and options while waiting for sales to begin.

No timetable has been released for when the local venues might make the move to Axs, but AEG has said that the company-wide rollout could take up to two years.

Radio story by Shereen Meraji / KPCC

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