Posted May 9, 2011 8:43 am by with 0 comments

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Imagine you can get a discounted ticket for the hottest show in town. Now pinch yourself and wake up from the dream you are having.

The top concert promoter LiveNation and Groupon are teaming up to offer GrouponLive to offer deals on tickets for sports, concerts and other events. By reading the press reports it’s easy to imagine that tickets will be discounted for anything but I seriously doubt it.

Reuters reports

Top online group buying site Groupon tied up with Live Nation Inc to launch a new online ticketing deals web site that will allow customers buy tickets to concerts, theatres and other live events at discounted prices.

Live Nation Entertainment, which was created by the combination of concert promoter Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment, produces over 20,000 shows annually for more than 2,000 artists and bands like Rihanna and Def Leppard.

The new site, GrouponLive, timed to launch with the summer concert season, will act as a local resource for Live Nation events and clients of its ticketing business, Ticketmaster, the companies said in a statement.

Having worked for several years in the sports ticketing business myself, I can tell you with a great degree of confidence that this service would probably be better named GrouponExcessTicketInventoryLive. Note in the quote above (which I assume came from the press release) that the band Def Leppard is highlighted. Def Leppard? Really? I hope you are getting the idea that LiveNation has a lot of left over tickets for crappy events and they want to get something rather than nothing for them.

So if you think you’ll land discounted tickets at Fenway Park for the Yankees – Red Sox series, I am going to guess that you will be sorely disappointed. If you need tickets in Kansas City, though, for that Minnesota Twins v. Kansas City Royals game on a Tuesday in July I bet you’ll be in business.

You see, the ticket business is like any other business. You don’t discount your best sellers. If U2 goes on tour again or if there some other ‘major’ event on the schedule, LiveNation needs to maximize those revenue opportunities. How a service like this may be most useful is a measure of an artist’s career. If you see tickets showing up in GrouponLive it’s likely that that artist or show is on the way out.

Of course, I could be proven wrong. In fact, when this service rolls out it would be in the best interest of LiveNation and Groupon to do some ‘loss leader’ promotion by eating profits on big shows to get people into the habit of looking for discount tickets for everything. Over time, however, no company is going to just hand over ‘easy money’ for exposure.

So if I sound like a skeptic on this it’s because I am. Promoters hate empty seats. Empty seats happen at less popular events. The more tickets you can sell to less popular events at any price moves the revenue needle. All this service is likely to do is create larger audiences for otherwise middle of the road entertainment quality which will pretty much make everyone a little dumber at the end of the day.