Beliebers just want to go to Justin Bieber concerts. They don't really care if their tickets came from the box office or an independent seller.
That feeling is likely true for more than Bieber lovers, and it's why StubHub decided to start regularly selling box office tickets for the first time in the ticket resale company's 15-year history.
"Consumers no longer delineate between primary and secondary [markets]. They're looking for the seat they want," Geoff Lester, StubHub's head of partnerships and business development, said in an interview. "A ticket is a ticket."
The eBay-owned company said Monday it will become the official ticketing partner for the Philadelphia 76ers, offering both box office tickets straight from the team, as well as reselling tickets from private owners. When the partnership kicks off in October at the start of the next NBA season, StubHub customers will be able to see both primary and secondary 76ers tickets for sale side by side.
The change reflects StubHub's desire to be more than just a place to buy someone's unwanted concert or sporting event ticket. Consumers don't look down on resold tickets the way they once did thanks to online ticket resale marketplaces that have made fan-to-fan sales a safer and more legitimate business. Putting both primary and secondary tickets together in one place not only gives consumers more options to choose from, it's indicative of how people want to shop for their tickets.
The change also helps StubHub keep pace with Live Nation Entertainment's Ticketmaster, the leader in box office ticket sales for live events. Ticketmaster has been developing its fan-to-fan marketplace, called Ticket Exchange, and is increasingly putting primary and secondary tickets together on its main website. Still, Ticketmaster is more restrictive about resales than StubHub and only lets people resell tickets they bought on Ticketmaster.com.
Granted, there are plenty of box office tickets already sold on StubHub. Since StubHub is an open marketplace, concert venues and sports arenas can sell their extra tickets on the site. StubHub also sells some box office tickets for special events, such as its deal last month to sell premium tickets for Jennifer Lopez's Las Vegas show. The big change with the 76ers deal is that StubHub will be running just about all the team's ticket sales, not just acting as a source to unload inventory when needed or a one-time partner.
For this year, Lester said StubHub will be focused on building out its 76ers partnership, but it hopes to start selling box-office tickets for more sports teams and music acts next year.
"We certainly expect it to grow. We have grand aspirations in terms of adoption," he said. "I think we will find ourselves in competition with Ticketmaster going into the future."