Vivid Seats unseats StubHub at ESPN

Courtesy of Crain’s Chicago Business:

Chicago’s big player in online ticket resales now has one of the world’s most popular sports websites on its side.

Secondary ticket marketplace Vivid Seats today announced it has signed with ESPN as the company’s official ticketing partner, meaning it will have direct links to buy tickets to sporting events listed throughout and all other ESPN digital platforms.

Vivid Seats supplants StubHub in the high-profile position, ending a partnership between ESPN and eBay-owned StubHub that dates to 2007.

The deal will put the Vivid Seats brand in front of ESPN’s 110 million unique users per month online. The network’s various websites account for 29 percent of all sports usage across digital platforms, according to analytics company Comscore.

That’s a big deal for Chicago-based Vivid Seats as it vies to stand out from increasing competition in the ticket resale game. In addition to StubHub, the company battles major brands like Ticketmaster, SeatGeek, Ticket IQ and TicketsNow, as well as official league resale marketplaces NFL Ticket Exchange, NHL Ticket Exchange and

“The way we look at it, there is not an opportunity to be able to plug into 110 million people very often,” said AJ Machosky, senior vice president of partnerships at Vivid Seats. “The power of ESPN, to be able to reach that amount of people and do it in a way that is about the customer experience and use content to do that is extremely exciting for us.”

Sixteen-year-old Vivid Seats has the third-largest market share of online event ticket resales, behind StubHub and Ticketmaster, according to a 2016 report from credit ratings agency Moody’s.

Its ESPN partnership adds to Vivid Seats’ agreements with Fox Sports and CSN Chicago, among others. It also has partnerships with more than 50 teams and leagues, including the Chicago Bears, the University of Notre Dame and the Big Ten Conference.