It feels like every year we look back after the summer and comment on how busy it has been, how much we’ve achieved and how proud we are.  This year is certainly no different, and it’s fair to say this summer really has taken things to the next level for Ticketmaster Sport.

First and foremost, in the UK, we completed a truly epic project which saw us deliver a completely replatformed ticketing solution for our clients. Having taken over 200,000 man hours, our amazing technology team have achieved our objective of making our technology even more robust, scalable and supportable, enabling us to deliver more new features to clients and fans, faster (more on that later!).  This kind of project takes vision, dedication and real guts – over 80% of companies that take on these projects fail, but under the watchful eye and careful guidance of Andy Lovatt, our Senior Director, Technology and a host of others, that wasn’t a concern. Heartfelt thanks go to the whole team including Andy, Kieran Benton (Chief Architect), Nav Marwaha (Architect), Ronnie Gallacher (Programme Manager) and many many others who put their heart and soul into this success.  I’m incredibly proud that once again we are leading the way in sports ticketing, and helping our clients drive their businesses forwards. Read more about this huge achievement here.

Some of you will have heard me discuss our replatforming at the recent ALSD conference, where it was a pleasure to meet with clients, potential clients and other industry leaders. Really though the focus there wasn’t on what we have achieved but what comes next (actually, much of it has already been delivered thanks to our investment in the replatforming) and how that can help our clients in an ever-changing business environment. Highlights include:

  • Digital ticket delivery, direct to Apple and Android wallets coming early next year (and already available to be delivered through your club, team or venue app)
  • Allocation Management Tool – allowing you better, slicker distribution of tickets to member clubs, affiliated groups, sponsors or basically any non-public group. AMT will help you save money, but more importantly increase transparency to know where your tickets are going. Available NOW!
  • Improved digital marketing tools rolling out in the next few weeks
  • Improved access control integrations for Fortress GB clients – rolling out NOW!

Further afield, our sports business continues to flourish, and nowhere more than in Switzerland where our team were not content with one new ice hockey client, and partnered with three!  Swiss Ice Hockey Federation, Hockey Club Davos and Spengler Club – it’s great to have you on board, and we can’t wait to get stuck into working with you.  Our awesome team in Zurich will be sure to give it everything over the next seasons.  Read more about these new partnerships here.

In Germany, one of our fastest-growing sports markets, we are proud to be working with BR Volleys and delighted that Fuchse Berlin has renewed their contract with us. Germany is without doubt an incredibly sophisticated sports market, and we will be sure to live up to the high standards of our clients there.

A leap further away to the Middle East, and we signed a groundbreaking deal for football in the region with a league-wide deal to power ticketing for the Qatar Stars League building on many years of supporting football in Qatar, working with the QFA and the Supreme Committee for Legacy and Development as they build towards what will surely be a FIFA World Cup like none before it!

I was lucky enough to spend some of the spring and summer on the road visiting clients, prospective clients and partners, and being reminded how truly amazing and humbling it is to be part of this industry, as well as how talented our team across the world is. I got to take in a game at the MCG (or as I kept being reminded – “the G”!), watched the unique spectacle of sumo at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Sumo Hall, learned more about esports in Zhuhai, China and Las Vegas (surely an explosion still waiting to happen in our industry, particularly in Europe), and enjoyed watching my own team have a great start to the season in both the Premier League and the Women’s Super League – more on the excitement surrounding women’s sport another time, but I’ll take a 5-1 win over Chelsea any day!

One of the things I was most excited and proud to be part of was our delivery of the Ice Hockey World Championships in Denmark. The biggest event ever to be held in Denmark was delivered flawlessly by Jakob Lund and his small but dedicated team in Copenhagen. I was lucky enough to take in a game at the stunning Royal Arena, and it really was a treat – the targeted, agile marketing that Martin Blemsted was so talented in delivering, combined with the slick operations managed by Rikke Westergaard and Anders Hansen really did deliver a fantastic atmosphere. Congratulations to all involved.

Back in the UK, our team has had a very busy summer getting new clients live, and they seem to have spent a lot of time north of the border as the likes of Falkirk FC and others came on board, and in the Midlands with Crewe Alexandra and Notts County football clubs joined the Ticketmaster family – it’s been a real pleasure to work with clubs outside the top flight of football and to understand their unique challenges, but also work with their incredibly talented and ambitious teams to deliver new technology and services for their fans.

Last, but by no means least, a big shout out to our Tournaments team that has delivered big launches for both the Rugby World Cup in Japan and the ICC Cricket World Cup in the UK.

In Japan, the Rugby World Cup has truly exceeded expectations, with tickets now secured by hundreds of thousands of fans – check out to get yours!  Our project team on the ground in Japan headed up by Nikos Katsamatsas and Matt Rivers are doing a great job in Tokyo and this tournament really is going from strength to strength. Can’t wait to cheer on England next year!

Back in the UK, our big focus, working with the ECB and  ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, has been to introduce new audiences to cricket. Thanks to the hard work of George Hellens in the UK marketing team, Ticketmaster marketing activity drove 7% of traffic, 14% of registrations and 5% of applications for the ticket application phase, ensuring we delivered on that objective.  Needless to say, sales are phenomenal, and we are excited for the months ahead.  The ECB and ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 teams have great vision and are a hugely dedicated bunch.

We feel very lucky to have such great event partners and it’s a real privilege to be part of these historical events.

So, how do we beat all that as we roll into the last quarter of the year?  I’m not sure we can beat it, but we have a few special somethings up our sleeve to round out the year.  One of the more significant events in our calendar is the launch of our annual State of Play report, which will focus on the UK sports sector this year.  I’m not going to give away too much, but our research team, led by Tina Mermiri are delivering a real industry-leading piece of quantitive and qualitative research which we will be launching next month, and which I know will provide some powerful insights for all of our clients and partners, as well as the wider industry.  Watch this space for more on that!

And as always, we’re looking forward to spending time with existing clients, working hard through Autumn International rugby, the start of the FA Cup campaign, Tottenham Hotspur’s move into their new stadium (which is truly breathtaking by the way!), and onboarding more new clients.

A huge thank you to all our teams who work so hard to deliver for clients and fans around the world, and to our clients who put their trust in us every day. Only 9 more weekends of sport until Christmas!