What would the world without StubHub look like?
Updated: Jul 1, 2020
StubHub is the most significant secondary ticket marketplace in the world, or they were until COVID-19. StubHub's control reached across concerts, theater and sporting events with their blended primary and secondary products. As this pandemic continues to decimate the live entertainment, we have to wonder what a world without StubHub would be like?
StubHub started in early 2000 with Eric Baker and Jeff Fluhr working together to start a new industry, a way for people to buy and resell tickets for events they were unable to attend. Since then, StubHub has always been the "go-to" brand for consumers to find tickets to their favorite events, but as this pandemic goes on, that won't be the case.
In 2008 StubHub launched a new way of thinking, something they felt strongly about and something they thought consumers would enjoy. What they didn't think about was how their competitors would take advantage of this move. All-In Pricing, a way to show consumers what their tickets would cost upfront, including all fees. They would later find out that all-in pricing would greatly decrease their business and increase business for marketplaces like SeatGeek, FanXChange and Vivid Seats.
Vivid Seats up until this point was a small marketplace located in the heart of Chicago, Illinois, offering consumers better pricing and customer service. When StubHub started all-in pricing, Vivid stuck to their guns and didn't change a thing. Over the next few months, StubHub would see a massive decline in sales and Vivid Seats flourished because of it.
StubHub making that one bad move would help their competitors grow in the coming years. Companies like Vivid Seats, SeatGeek, TickPick and Ticketmaster Resale would all take advantage of this small change and increase their marketing as "The Lowest Price". If you can imagine that one small change on a grander scale with COVID-19... I don't see StubHub lasting much longer and if they do, they'll have a lot of making up to do in the eyes of consumers and partners.
As we move deeper into this pandemic with no end in sight and no restart date for live events, you must wonder what will become of these companies. StubHub is already facing more than a few lawsuits for not offering cash refunds but instead offering 120% coupons, which can be used at a later date. There are multiple articles where consumers would try and call StubHub to figure out their options only to be met with busy signals or uneducated agents, this is also fueling the lawsuits and anger.
So I ask you this question... would you buy tickets from StubHub again?