ESPN is a big player in the sports world, and so are ticketing companies, so it would seem to make sense for them to pair up with one. That’s exactly what’s happened, with ESPN and VividSeats announcing Thursday that VividSeats will now be ESPN’s “official ticketing partner.” Here are some more details from the release:
ESPN, the No. 1 digital sports brand in the world, has selected leading online ticket marketplace Vivid Seats as its official ticketing partner. Starting today, Vivid Seats’ branding, links and promotions will be seamlessly integrated across all ESPN’s digital platforms allowing users to conveniently access and purchase tickets to their favorite sporting events. Together, ESPN and Vivid Seats will ensure sports fans nationwide have an industry-leading ticket buying experience.
“Vivid Seats’ dedication and prioritization to serve sports fans fits well with ESPN’s long-standing mission,” said Eric Johnson, executive vice president, global advertising revenue and sales operations. “This deal represents a true collaboration in which both sides have agreed to regularly share key metrics in an effort to collectively learn, make adjustments if necessary and ultimately maximize performance.”
“At Vivid Seats we are laser-focused on providing a best-in-class experience for our customers,” said Eric Vassilatos, co-founder of Chicago-based Vivid Seats. “We are excited to partner with ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, to broaden our reach and directly offer their more than 110 million monthly visitors a safe and easy way to buy tickets to a wide range of sporting events.”
ESPN has plenty of partnerships, but this one is interesting on several levels based on the language in the release. For example, “seamlessly integrated across ESPN’s digital platforms” might suggest that visitors to ESPN.com or the ESPN app might start seeing VividSeats ticket links on the future sports schedules they peruse. And those comments from Johnson are interesting, especially about “a true collaboration” with both sides sharing metrics; ticketing data can certainly be useful from an editorial side as well as an advertising side, and that could carry some benefits for ESPN.
It makes perfect sense for ESPN to strike a partnership with someone in the ticketing industry, bringing in some much-needed revenue (keep in mind the constant investor concerns about ESPN’s bottom line, plus the talk about perhaps reducing their ad load), and it likely makes sense for VividSeats to link up with an outlet as prominent as ESPN (as long as the price is right). It will be interesting to watch and see just how this partnership is implemented, though. If done well, this could unobtrusively suggest sports fans using ESPN’s digital properties should check out VividSeats for tickets. If done poorly and promoted too much or in the wrong places, though, this could lead to some blowback. We’ll see how it goes.
[VividSeats office photo from Chicago Business]