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Ticketmaster (LYV) has signed a 5-year extension with the NFL to provide the league with the “first open architecture, fully digital ticketing system in sports”. The platform utilizes Ticketmaster’s “Presence” software to track ticket-trading and the identify of attendees; while validating and authenticating seats purchased within other marketplaces. Ticketmaster will remain the NFL’s preferred primary ticketing partner and will continue to operate the league’s resale marketplace (NFL Ticket Exchange). Financial terms of the new deal were not disclosed, but it is expected that Ticketmaster will be paying more than the $200 million it paid on the expiring deal.

Howie Long-Short: As I noted yesterday, increased distribution leads to greater competition and ultimately lower prices. An open market best suits the fans’ interests. The NFL’s new ticketing system, open to other licensed marketplaces, gives fans the “broadest participation possible” from resellers. Great news for those who want to attend NFL games.

Fan Marino: Russia sold 2.6 million tickets to the 2018 World Cup, but not all those seats are within the stadium. FIFA requires World Cup venues hold a minimum of 35,000 people. 60-year-old Ekaterinburg Arena, a 2018 World Cup venues, apparently doesn’t. To maintain the historical façade of the stadium, organizers have decided against reconstruction and instead have chosen to comply by building a temporary seating structure outside the venue. You’ve got to see this to believe it.

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