Fred Maglione doesn’t want his tickets to sit still. The Executive Chairman for the Americas at Isreali-ticketing company Toptix sees a future where tickets are spread across multiple platforms and available on retail sites, tourism web pages and just about anywhere fans can be found.
His goal is to create a completely distributed ticketing platform with an API that allows thousands of retail partners to sell tickets for events like the Sundance Film Festival or Catalina Adventure Tours. Working with SeatGeek and Sporting Kansas City, Toptix is developing a platform that works across all verticals. Amplify recently caught up with Maglione to ask him five pressing questions about his latest adventure.
Toptix has been around for over a decade, but the distributed network model is relatively new. What can you tell us about it?
When this company started fifteen years ago in Israel, they were the only game in town. Whether you were a movie theater or a museum or a stadium where Madonna was going to play, everyone was using our platform. Our developers were constantly modifying the system to meet the needs of these different niches. They made a very difficult decision in 2007 and took a step back, hired a separate team of programmers and rebuilt the product from scratch based on everything that they had learned the first seven years of their existence. We started using the new system in late 2010 and now we have almost four hundred installations of it around the world. It’s multi-lingual. It’s highly scalable. It’s very open so third parties can tap in and sell tickets.
Recently you announced a partnership with SeatGeek. What can you tell us about the partnership?
If you look at the Seat Geek technology, their consumer experience on the web and mobile is really good. They’re going to take that consumer experience, use our API to tap into our back end and provide ticketing for Sporting Kansas City. SeatGeek will use our technology to manage their entire ticketing business and inventory for all their matches. When a consumer goes online or goes on the web, it will be the SeatGeek experience. Then SeatGeek is going to open up that ecosystem to any third party that wants to tap in and sell tickets. They’re working on negotiating relationships with companies like Uber and Airbnb, so that when you go to book your Uber you can also buy a ticket.
If one of your clients wants to sell tickets on another retail site, how do they work with Toptix to set it up?
Through our API. Any developer can use our API to tap into the system. Again, it’s not this free for all. Whoever owns that inventory, whether it’s a team or a concert hall, will be the ones to open the gateway. Retailers can negotiate that deal with the content owner. It could be a sponsorship deal or an affiliate program. We hope that it’s new revenue sources for the content owner and more distribution opportunities.
Why do you think a decentralized model is the future of ticketing?
We see that’s just where the world is going in North America. In a lot of other parts of the world, ticket sale retail is much more open. It’s not these closed environments with these exclusive contracts. It is in North America now, but we see North America changing. We spoke to the content owners, the teams that own the tickets and the promoters and the bands, we see these organizations as the ones that are going to start dictating where their product can be sold and we want to facilitate that. We’re not the gate-keeper. We’re the gateway.
How do you plan to break up the exclusivity system that currently shapes the ticketing landscape?
There are tens of millions of tickets that are sold every year at performing arts centers, museums, science centers and casinos. Yes, if we try to get into the NBA or NFL, we’re going to pay a big upfront fee. But there are other places that we can go in the mean time while the marketplace evolves. I also think that when and if the Amazons of the world and the Googles of the world decide they want to participate in this space, it’s just going to disrupt our business even more. The definition of an upfront fee may have a different meaning. It might just not be a check and cash. It’s the promise of promotion, marketing and exposure ti millions and millions of new customers.