Revolutionizing the Ticket Industry
Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. is the world's leading live entertainment ticketing company, with ticket sales of nearly $9 billion per year in 20 markets around the globe.
With more than 10,000 clients including arenas, stadiums, professional and college sports teams and leagues, museums, theatres and other venues, Ticketmaster has unique insight into the challenges and opportunities that face these event operators every day. Operators need to control seat inventory, manage customer relationships, process payments and manage ticket distribution and fraud in order to maximize revenue and retain their most valuable customers.
To meet the needs of its clients, Ticketmaster sought to develop an in-house ticketing platform that provides granular control over seat inventory, superior customer relationship management and complete ownership of customer data for reporting and marketing. But just as important, Ticketmaster needed this solution to handle transactions quickly, easily and securely.
Changing the Game with Rigorous Inventory Control
To meet these requirements Ticketmaster developed the ARCHTICS® ticketing system to be a customizable ticketing solution that encompasses everything from billing to season ticket renewals to marketing, with the efficiency and security for which the Ticketmaster name is known.
Because the ARCHTICS® ticketing systems are deployed into client sites with small or non-existant IT staffs, Ticketmaster requires a database to power its solution that could be deployed and managed with minimal administration. However, the high demands of the application meant it was not acceptable that this would come at the expense of performance or features.
SQL Anywhere – A Powerful and Low Maintenance Database Solution
In Sybase’s SQL Anywhere, Ticketmaster found a database that could meet its performance requirements, while still being easy to deploy. The self-tuning and self-managing capabilities of SQL Anywhere allow the database to respond dynamically to changing workloads without custom tuning for each customer. The ease of administration enables Ticketmaster to install the ARCHTICS® ticketing systems directly into client sites that have small or non-existent IT staffs with full confidence that it will always perform at a high level.
SQL Anywhere’s powerful stored procedure languages, easy to use SQL dialect, and powerful profiling and debugging tools allow Ticketmaster to put complex business logic right into the database. This enables Ticketmaster to leverage the advanced features found in SQL Anywhere including recursive queries, bit arrays, full-text search, and high availability to power the cutting-edge features found in the ARCHTICS® ticketing system.
Lastly, SQL Anywhere’s optional per-user licensing allows Ticketmaster to create an application that can be deployed to large and small customers alike, that would have been cost-prohibitive under server or CPU licensing models.
"Sybase SQL Anywhere does all the complex, heavy lifting of the ARCHTICS platform," says Steve Davidson, Vice President of Product Development at Ticketmaster. "Inventory control is absolutely essential to the system—there are only a certain number of seats and each one must be accurately assigned. All of that control is done through the Sybase database engine."
The market has responded emphatically to this service offering; more than 400 operators have licensed the ARCHTICS ticketing system, including many major professional sports franchises and universities, which are using it to keep seats filled at events and increase revenue.
As Paul Cacciatore, Senior Director of Ticketing, at the Boston Celtics commented, “ARCHTICS has revolutionized sporting event ticketing. The developers at Ticketmaster are always looking to improve upon the product. That has helped us tremendously because they are not afraid to change the solution based on our needs. We can deliver feedback for improvements based on the ever-changing technology landscape and fan requirements and they listen. I have seen many of my suggestions make their way into the product.”
Catering to VIP Customers
For all of these operators, season tickets are a significant source of revenue for event operators, and strict inventory control provided by SQL Anywhere enables a variety of new features that provide the ultimate level of customer care and engagement for these VIP customers.
Managing each customer's packages, upgrades and renewals creates significant complexity. Full season, half season, mini-plans, seat upgrades, renewals, suites—all of these possibilities need to be managed.
Furthermore, many operators want the ability to enforce a prioritization that gives high-value customers first refusal on the best seats when they become available. ARCHTICS gives corporate clients and season ticket holders a purchasing experience that is unprecedented in the industry, including online seat-by-seat selections. Consumers have a great deal of choice in the type of ticket plan they can choose from, and they have new options for reselling or distributing their tickets long after the purchase is made.
Operators, on the other hand can create custom priority queues that immediately release seats into the available ticket pool when season ticket holders make a seat change or package upgrade. The system uses automated notification features that maximize operator revenue, personalize the customer experience and reward customer loyalty.
Improving the Customer Relationship
Another component of the ARCHTICS solution is its Access Manager. This business intelligence platform gives operators visibility into ticket-level event statistics, including the exact individual barcodes scanned at the event, the time that the ticket holder arrived, and even what gate they entered at. This detailed level of business intelligence can help operators understand their customers and create marketing outreach that helps get them in their seats.
"Operators want someone in those seats. Not only is there more excitement when a venue is full but operators make far more money on concessions than they do on ticket sales," says Davidson. "Empty seats are lost revenue."
Enhancing the quality of the customer relationship is particularly valuable for event operators during a period of economic decline. At a time when fewer consumers have discretionary income for live entertainment, operators can offset losses through personalized services that build loyalty and increases retention for VIP customers.
Working with Sybase is the ticket to success
Throughout the years Sybase has proven to Ticketmaster that in addition to its powerful relational database, SQL Anywhere, the overall expertise and guidance received has been invaluable.
“They are truly an impressive team, who has spent a lot of time with us to really understand our business,” says Davidson. “We feel confident that Sybase will continue to provide the quality software and support we have come to expect as we continue to grow and evolve our ARCHTICS business to a service-oriented approach. I don’t think we would have got the same level of customer care had we gone with another database provider.”