No matter what the consumer will still get screwed. Anschutz Entertainment Group will roll out its much-hyped challenge to chief rival Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster this Saturday. So the battle is on. AEG has partnered with start-up Outbox Technology to form AXS with a plan to sell tickets through more than 100 arenas and theaters by the end of 2012. AEG — which owns L.A.’s Staples Center and London’s 02 Arena — was Ticketmaster’s biggest client, so not only will the loss hurt Ticketmaster’s bottom line but the new entity could challenge Ticketmaster’s dominance in this cutthroat biz. Turns out that a primary architect of AEG’s Outbox strategy is none other than Fred Rosen, who was Ticketmaster’s CEO in the 1980s and masterminded the company’s rise by creating a centralized ticket sales system used by the venues. The revenues came from service fees which, as anyone who’s bought a ticket to a live event in the past 20 years knows, have spiraled higher and higher. The AEG plan instead has the venues selling the tickets themselves via Outbox software that can be customized. AEG’s expansion into the ticket-sales business was seen as inevitable after the U.S. Justice Department approved the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger in 2010. But as a condition for that merger, the feds insisted that AEG have the opportunity to license Ticketmaster’s software. AEG ultimately chose to go with Outbox instead.
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