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StubHub is changing how you buy tickets in Australia

A roadmap for global expansion is bringing the online ticket marketplace Down Under, and hopefully it will bring ticket prices down with it.


"We sell a ticket every second," says Glenn Lehrman, StubHub's global executive. The online marketplace is the biggest in the world for ticket sales, in case you didn't catch that. And in 2017, it's finally rolling out in Australia.

First founded in 2000 and acquired by eBay on 2007, StubHub had plenty of time to mature before reaching our antipodean shores. Here's how the service works:

Like its parent company eBay, Stubhub is an e-commerce site exclusively for ticket sales. Unlike eBay, sellers are anonymous and sales are guaranteed and protected by the site. While there are some deals in place with rights holders, traditional ticket sellers and venues, 90 percent of sales on the platform are resales -- consumer-to-consumer second-hand purchases.

Ticket prices on StubHub are pretty evenly split, says Lehrman. Around half sell for above the sticker price, half for below. In Australia, StubHub will be going head-to-head with scalpers. He estimates 9 in 10 resales are above sticker price, and a lot of that had to do with traditional sellers having a stranglehold.

"If you don't buy a ticket from Ticketmaster you won't see a show," Lehrman says. "StubHub wants to bring choice and access to the Australian market."

And they've got a plan to win you over. The two biggest selling points of Stubhub, Lehrman says, are security and the user experience.

From buyer safeguards like StubHub's guarantee to replace counterfeit tickets and absorb the cost of replacements, penalties for fraudulent sellers and bar code reallocation of e-tickets, it makes buying second-hand tickets a less risky prospect.

"The biggest question people have when buying tickets is 'What are my seats going to be like?'" says Lehrman. It's by far StubHub's flashiest feature, offering a virtual view of every seat in dozens of venues with more being added.

But when you're talking user experience, StubHub offers things like automatic price and availability alerts. It's also pushing discovery hard. Lehrman says it'll soon be able to let you know when concerts you might like are announced, based on a scan of your connected music library.

It's not just on the buyers' side either. Globally and locally, sports teams are having trouble selling out games and this gives those organisations another outlet to find fans, experiment with pricing and get more butts in seats.

At CES 2017, the company's president Scott Cutler spoke to CNET about further plans for expansion. Building on ticket sales, the company is branching out into services around live events, like car rentals, hotel bookings and restaurant reservations all in one place. Expect to see merchandising too, with the help of eBay.

"We want to enable more opportunities beyond just that ticket of the live event," Cutler said in a separate interview with CNET at CES. "StubHub wants to facilitate that entire experience."

StubHub's Australian rollout will start in Q1 2017. It'll begin with a takeover of eBay's ticketing category locally, using the StubHub site and its own separate user accounts.