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StubHub looks to sell you tickets, T-shirts and a hotel room

The biggest ticketing marketplace worldwide plans to expand into many more services this year, StubHub's president tells CNET.


StubHub President Scott Cutler at CES 2017 talks about his company's expansion into a lot more than tickets.

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

For game seven of the World Series this past November, StubHub sold millions of dollars of tickets in just the two hours prior to the first pitch. A third of the folks there, who witnessed the Chicago Cubs snap a 108-year championship drought, got their seats through the online ticketing site.

It's stats like these that show StubHub is great at selling tickets. Yet, the site doesn't do much more than that.

For 2017, StubHub President Scott Cutler told CNET this week, the company plans to branch out into many more services around live events, so people can buy a ticket and set up a car rental, hotel room and restaurant reservation all in one place. No, StubHub isn't planning to start selling plane tickets, but merchandising will be coming, too, with the help of StubHub's parent company, eBay.

"We want to enable more opportunities beyond just that ticket of the live event," Cutler said in an interview at the CES tech show in Las Vegas. "StubHub wants to facilitate that entire experience."

With that change, folks can more easily get seats, a dinner reservation and a great MMMBop T-shirt for the next Hanson concert. (Hanson is still a thing, right?)

This strategy isn't just for StubHub's main US market. Cutler plans to roll out these types of services globally, thanks in part to eBay's purchase in August of international ticketing company Ticketbis.

StubHub last year added Uber rides and parking passes to its site. Though Cutler said many more services will be coming this year, he didn't mention any specific partnerships.

The new new strategy could be big for StubHub. Right now the average customer uses the site for one and a half events, out of six total, that he goes to per year. Building more services could convince people to come back to the site more often instead of using SeatGeek, Ticketmaster or a box office, and bring StubHub new revenue for hotel and restaurant reservations.

Still, while StubHub is the biggest tickets marketplace in the world, it doesn't have a reputation in hospitality or dining, so it will have to compete against a lot of established online players, including Expedia, Priceline, TripAdvisor and Yelp. Cutler said he plans to offer up StubHub's live events platform to travel sites so StubHub can work with these sites instead of fight them for customers.

StubHub is a much smaller marketplace than eBay, but the ticketing site has seen significant growth over the past year, thanks to its expansion into primary ticket sales for the Philadelphia 76ers and for Jennifer Lopez in Las Vegas. People are also spending more on live events, which has given StubHub a boost.

StubHub is now a growth engine, while eBay still struggles to re-energize its own online marketplace. That means if Cutler is successful in broadening what StubHub can do, that could become a significant benefit for its parent company, too.

"We want you to experience more of life live," Cutler said. "We see that as a big opportunity for us."