Carlos Alvarez, Chief Technology Officer at Ticketmaster International

Ticketmaster Sport’s ticketing technology has recently undergone a huge transformation, can you tell us more?
 We are the world leader in ticketing and have over twenty years’ experience of serving sports clients at all levels right across the world. We all know that technology has been progressing at an ever-increasing speed and, hence, our clients are demanding more and more from their technology providers.
 
With this in mind, we have taken some bold steps to ensure that we continue to deliver everything our clients require now and for the next twenty years and beyond. This has meant an enormous amount of investment from Ticketmaster, in terms of effort, resource and capital, over the past two years to completely revitalise our sports technology platform.
 
When we set off on this journey, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We had to initiate a huge, complex and totally unique technology project to slim down our legacy Venuemaster platform and migrate it to a technology stack that is modern, productive and attractive for both employees and clients.
 
Such projects can be risky, but our team has done an excellent job at managing that risk and overcoming all of the hurdles that have come our way. We have now established a new, stronger foundation for our applications which we can continue to build and iterate on top of to deliver features more rapidly and incrementally than ever before.
 
What’s changed and what are the benefits for both sports clients and their fans?
Our core systems and client tools have moved to a .NET platform, which currently is the future of Microsoft-based development. The key to all of this, and what we hope, is that our clients won’t have noticed much at all yet! We have purposefully made the migration as seamless as possible to avoid changing too much too quickly. Some no longer used features have gone, and the user experience has become more consistent – but the whole foundation of the platform has changed, almost without anyone outside of the business knowing!
 
You’ve been part of the team for a number of years, how has the sector changed?
My career has spanned multiple industries such as banking, travel, ecommerce and ticketing. Since joining Ticketmaster 4 years ago and now being the Chief Technology Officer for International, my role covers all ticketing verticals, all of them have their own challenges. However, when looking deeply into the sports sector, it has unique needs making it the most complex ticketing segment by far.
 
Our clients, and indeed fans, are rightly insisting that we evolve with their needs. We’ve seen such a change in social interaction patterns because of mobile phones that I think we’ll continue to see innovation in ticketing around them for some time to come. The mobile revolution isn’t even over yet.
 
That being said, we are constantly peering over the horizon at the next game-changing technology to come. For instance, we recently invested in facial recognition with Blink and have acquired a blockchain company called Upgraded.
 
What do you see as the real challenges and how is Ticketmaster working to overcome these challenges?
The real challenge in any technology business is complexity, and it is my team’s role to apply techniques to manage that. We are a company that has had a presence on the internet since the earliest days – and our challenge is to take our technology and evolve it incrementally to both reduce complexity and waste. In technology sense, that means improving reuse.
 
What’s next for Ticketmaster’s technology team?
Quite simply to hit the ground running with delivering more features to our amazing clients and fans! We are delighted to have completed such a huge replatforming project – we must now reap the benefits of having a great stable core to build on top of. What’s been remarkable is that we have already delivered two major new pieces of technology, solving business challenges around digital marketing promotions, and the distribution of tickets to supporter clubs. We’re very proud that our hard work is already paying off and delivering an even greater world-class service.