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In a ‘shocker,’ Nets drop SeatGeek, return to Ticketmaster

The New York Times reports that BSE Global, owner of the Nets and Barclays Center, has abruptly ended its relationship with upstart SeatGeek and will return to industry leader Ticketmaster.

The switch is not expected to affect Nets ticket holders with SeatGeek accounts as the change will be phased in.

The Times used the words, “surprising,” “head-spinning” and “abrupt” to describe the change, which it suggested was about booking for concerts for the 10-year-old arena...

Now, barely a year into what had been a seven-year contract, BSE Global, the parent company of Barclays — the home of the Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty basketball teams, and a destination for major concert tours — is canceling its partnership with SeatGeek and returning to Ticketmaster...

SeatGeek, which remains the ticketer for many events already on Barclays’s calendar, will gradually be replaced by Ticketmaster in coming months as new concerts and sporting events go on sale.

The Times said reasons for the change were not immediately clear. Neither BSE Global nor SeatGeek would comment to the Times reporter, Ben Sisario, about whether there were any problems with ticketing that may have prompted a switch. Sisario covers the music business for the Times.

BSE Global and SeatGeek announced a seven-year agreement 15 months ago. At the time, it was also reported the Kevin Durant’s Thirty-Five Ventures was an investor in SeatGeek.

Such break-ups in what are normally long-term relationships is considered rare. The Times quoted Larry Miller, the director of the music business program at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, on the switch.

“Ticketing platform deals with venue owners are not of short duration,” Mr. Miller added. “I can’t think of a time over the last decade where a major venue has dropped a ticketing platform early on in the deal cycle.”

Sisario and Norman Oder, critic and chronicler of the Nets move to Brooklyn and the overall Atlantic Yards project, suggested the move could be based on Ticketmaster’s relationship with Live Nation, which books concerts around the world. Presumably, the connection between Ticketmaster and Live Nation will increase bookings. The pairing has been criticized for limiting competition in the music industry.

As Oder noted, bookings at Barclays have not reached pre-pandemic levels, citing an April 2022 New York Post story by Brian Lewis and Josh Kosman that reported that there were just 147 events projected for 2022, as opposed to 194 in the last pre-pandemic year. The actual number turned out to be 137. In original marketing for Barclays Center, arena operators projected more than 200 dates for the Nets, other sporting events, concerts and family shows.

That lack of dates has resulted in huge losses for the arena, estimated by the Post at between $50 and $100 million annually. Moreover, Barclays Center has a new competitor in the UBS Arena in Belmont. As Oder noted, The UBS arena operators said they aimed to make UBS a second choice for tours after Madison Square Garden.

Neither BSE Global nor SeatGeek would comment on the change. Nor has there been any comment from the Nets on what the change will ultimately mean for ticketholders.

Oder also notes that the end of the SeatGeek deal will mean BSE Global will once again be changing the name of the arena entrance plaza which has been sponsored by the New York Daily News, the Resorts World Casino and SeatGeek in its decade of operation.