Ticket Manager, a platform that helps companies better manage, distribute and monetize their corporate tickets, has reached an agreement to buy Sports Systems, a firm that provides similar services, primarily on the league and team side.
The deal, which closed this week, will add another $300-$400 million of unused corporate tickets to the Ticket Manager platform, according to co-founder and CEO Tony Knopp. It values Sports Systems, previously owned by its founders, in the low eight figures.
The acquisition comes as the entire live events industry prepares to slowly emerge from a pandemic that has dramatically impacted its business. Sports Systems specializes in guest and press credentialing, two areas that ground to standstill last year as sports leagues moved into playoff bubbles and left stadiums empty nationwide.
“This was unique situation where it was going to be a really rough road for them for the next year, but we were in a position to weather that storm for them, and there’s a ton of upside for us on the other side,” Knopp said. “And when you put it together with the other companies that we’re working with, it makes total sense.”
Ticket companies generally make money in one of two ways. They can provide access to supply that nobody else has (brokers, On Location Experiences), or they can drive high levels of demand (StubHub, VividSeats, SeatGeek). Some companies manage both.
Ticket Manager’s approach is the former—it found “new” supply in the hundreds of thousands of corporate tickets that go unused each year by companies like Anheuser-Busch, Google, Mastercard and Adidas. Ticket Manager’s platform helps those clients manage their seats, assess their value and decide how to better use them. That includes distributing them in different ways internally, trading them or selling them. With this acquisition, the company’s network now has more than $1 billion in unused corporate tickets, Knopp said.
Sports Systems was founded in 1986 with an aim similar to Ticket Manager’s—to help companies and rights holders manage their approach to live events. While the two firms overlap a bit (Sports Systems has a product similar to Ticket Manager’s, with around 60 corporate customers), Knopp said the acquisition is more additive. It will let the Ticket Manager corporate clients and rights holders that work with Sports Systems, like the College Football Playoff, sit on the same network and use the same technology.
The Sports Systems offices will remain in Fort Lee, N.J., and its leadership team will stay in place.