Front Gate Tickets is one of the largest ticket providers in the United States, known for selling tickets to festivals and large-scale events. Ticketmaster is also a major ticket sales and distribution company, selling tickets for concerts, sports games, and more. Many people wonder if Front Gate Tickets and Ticketmaster have an official business relationship or if one company owns the other. Here is an in-depth look at whether Front Gate Tickets is owned by Ticketmaster.
The History of Front Gate Tickets and Ticketmaster
Front Gate Tickets was founded in 2008 and is based in Austin, Texas. The company was created specifically to handle ticketing and access control for large-scale events and festivals. Some of their major clients include ACL Fest, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Outside Lands. Front Gate provides ticket sales, on-site box offices, marketing, data reporting, access control, and other event services.
Ticketmaster is one of the largest ticketing companies in the world and has been around since 1976. They provide ticket sales and distribution for concerts, sports games, theater shows, and other live events. Ticketmaster sells tickets through their website, mobile apps, retail outlets, call centers, and box office sales. They have exclusive arrangements with many major venues and artists. Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation in 2010 but still operates under the Ticketmaster brand and management.
The Relationship Between Front Gate Tickets and Ticketmaster
So is there an official relationship between these two major players in event ticketing? Front Gate Tickets and Ticketmaster both work in live event ticketing but have different models and specialties.
Front Gate Tickets focuses solely on large-scale events and festivals. They handle everything from online sales to on-site box offices to access control. Front Gate Tickets partners directly with event organizers and venues to provide ticketing and related services. The company does not sell tickets to concerts, sports games, or performing arts events.
Ticketmaster has a much broader business model, selling tickets for concerts, theater, sports, and other live entertainment events. While Ticketmaster may sell tickets to major festivals, their focus is on general admission ticketing sales and distribution across live events.
So while Front Gate Tickets and Ticketmaster have some overlap in the festival/live event market, their core business models and partnerships differ quite a bit.
Official Statement from Front Gate Tickets
According to an official statement from Front Gate Tickets:
Front Gate Tickets is not owned by Ticketmaster or Live Nation. We are an independent company that handles ticketing and access management for festivals and other large events.
So in Front Gate Tickets’ own words, they do not have any official ownership relationship with Ticketmaster or the Live Nation umbrella.
Do Ticketmaster and Front Gate Tickets Have a Partnership?
While Ticketmaster does not own Front Gate Tickets, the two companies do maintain a business partnership. Front Gate Tickets utilizes Ticketmaster’s API to handle backend ticket processing and delivery for the festivals and events that contract Front Gate as their ticketing provider.
Ticketmaster’s API allows ticketing companies to integrate Ticketmaster’s platform and services into their own sales systems. So when you buy a ticket to ACL Fest or Bonnaroo through Front Gate, those sales are processed via Ticketmaster’s API. This allows the festivals to benefit from Ticketmaster’s established ticketing infrastructure while still using Front Gate Tickets for upfront sales and customer service.
This API partnership allows Front Gate Tickets to avoid developing their own ticketing infrastructure from the ground up. At the same time, it allows Ticketmaster to make their platform and services available to major festivals and other large-scale events. The partnership benefits both parties and their clients.
Services Provided Through Ticketmaster API:
Here are some of the key services that Front Gate Tickets gets access to through their API-based partnership with Ticketmaster:
- Integration of Ticketmaster’s order processing system
- Use of Ticketmaster’s ticket delivery services
- Access to Ticketmaster’s expansive distribution network
- Utilization of Ticketmaster platforms and tools
- Support from Ticketmaster for troubleshooting and customer service
So in summary, Front Gate Tickets handles the frontend sales, marketing, and customer service while relying on Ticketmaster’s API for back office processing and delivery of the actual tickets.
Other Ticketmaster Festival Partnerships
While not owned by Ticketmaster, Front Gate Tickets is far from Ticketmaster’s only partner in the festival space. Ticketmaster provides its API services to a range of festivals and events.
Some other examples of major festivals using Ticketmaster for ticketing include:
- Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC)
- Bottlerock Napa
These festivals work with separate ticketing companies or internal teams for upfront sales and customer service. But they all use Ticketmaster as their backend order processor and ticket distributor via API integrations.
So while Ticketmaster does not outright own companies like Front Gate Tickets, they have established key partnerships across the industry. Their API platform and services allow Ticketmaster to benefit from major festival sales without needing to provide front-facing ticketing services.
Why Front Gate Tickets Does Not Sell Via Ticketmaster
While they partner behind the scenes, you’ll notice you cannot buy Front Gate festival tickets directly via Ticketmaster. There are a few reasons for this:
1. Front Gate Tickets handles all upfront sales
Front Gate Tickets partners directly with festival organizers as their primary ticketing vendor. As part of these contracts, Front Gate sells all tickets directly through their website, mobile apps, box offices, etc. The festivals do not allow sales via third parties.
2. Keep the customer experience consistent
By selling exclusively through Front Gate Tickets, the festivals can provide a consistent buying experience for customers. This avoids potential confusion of some tickets being sold via Ticketmaster and others via Front Gate Tickets.
3. Front Gate Tickets provides added services
Beyond just selling tickets, Front Gate Tickets provides full-service festival ticketing. This includes marketing, data reporting, customer service, on-site box offices, RFID access control, and more. Festivals want these Front Gate services for their events vs just standalone ticket sales.
So while Ticketmaster’s API handles key background processes, the festivals want Front Gate Tickets managing the entire customer experience.
Does Live Nation Own Front Gate Tickets?
As Ticketmaster’s parent company, you may also wonder if Live Nation owns Front Gate Tickets. According to Front Gate Tickets’ statement, they do not have any direct ownership relationship with Live Nation either.
While Ticketmaster and Live Nation are closely tied, they still operate as distinct businesses. Front Gate Tickets partners with Ticketmaster for API services but is not owned under the Live Nation umbrella.
That said, there are some indirect connections worth noting:
- Live Nation is the parent company of Ticketmaster after their 2010 merger.
- Live Nation is also the parent company of C3 Presents, who produces festivals like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits.
- C3 Presents festivals use Front Gate Tickets for ticketing.
So while there are business connections, Live Nation does not directly own Front Gate Tickets as a subsidiary or affiliate company.
Other Front Gate Tickets Partners
While Ticketmaster is their major backend partner, Front Gate Tickets also works with some other tech companies. Examples include:
Front GateTickets utilizes Amazon Tickets for select ticket sales and promotions. Amazon acquired Atom Tickets in 2018 to expand into the ticketing space.
Punchh provides Front Gate with an enhanced mobile app experience using their customer loyalty and engagement platform.
Elevate is a travel company that offers packaged festival experiences including tickets, accommodations, and more. They partner with Front Gate for festival ticket inclusions.
SeatGeek is a major ticket resale marketplace. They partner with Front Gate to allow fans to resell festival tickets via their platform.
So Front Gate Tickets partners with various other tech brands, but Ticketmaster remains their key ticketing infrastructure partner.
Does Front Gate Tickets Have Exclusive Festival Contracts?
While not all festivals use Front Gate Tickets, they do have exclusive multi-year contracts with some of the largest festivals in the US. These include:
- Austin City Limits (ACL) Festival
- Electric Forest
- Governors Ball
- Outside Lands
Their contracts grant them exclusive rights to handle ticketing, marketing, data, access control, and on-site box offices for these festivals. Other competing ticketing companies and third-party resellers are prohibited from selling tickets to these events per the contracts.
These exclusive partnerships with major festivals form the core of Front Gate Tickets’ business model and revenues. They continue partnering with new festivals each year as well.
Front Gate Tickets’ Partnership Benefits
While not an outright merger, Front Gate Tickets’ partnership with Ticketmaster provides benefits to both companies:
Benefits for Front Gate Tickets
- Access to Ticketmaster’s API, platforms, and tools
- Utilization of Ticketmaster’s established ticketing infrastructure
- Avoid costs of developing their own systems and software
- Leverage Ticketmaster’s delivery network and processing capabilities
- Offer festival clients a full back-end solution via Ticketmaster
Benefits for Ticketmaster
- Access to major festival clients without sales competition from Front Gate
- Revenue share from festival ticket sales processed via their API
- Expanded reach into the festival and events market
- Opportunity to provide services for a growing segment
By providing services that complement each other, both companies can grow their ticketing businesses in a mutually beneficial way.
Potential Issues With the Partnership
While there are clear advantages, some concerns have also been raised about the Front Gate Tickets and Ticketmaster partnership model:
- Ticketmaster maintains near-exclusive control over backend ticketing, limiting options for Front Gate’s clients
- The partnership entrenches Ticketmaster’s dominant position in ticketing further
- Opportunity costs if Front Gate Tickets has to turn down potential clients who won’t use Ticketmaster services
- Ticketmaster has access to valuable sales data from Front Gate’s festival clients
Despite some concerns, the partnership model has worked well for both companies and their festival partners so far. But as the live events industry continues rapidly evolving, the dynamics between these major players could potentially shift as well.
Could Front Gate Tickets and Ticketmaster Merge?
Given the existing partnership, could Front Gate Tickets and Ticketmaster ever pursue a full merger or acquisition? While not impossible, a full combination seems unlikely currently for a few reasons:
- It would face heavy antitrust scrutiny from regulators
- Front Gate’s major festival partners might object or find alternatives
- The companies seem satisfied with their current partnership model
- Ticketmaster’s parent Live Nation already faces criticism for its size and power
Rather than a merger, Ticketmaster may be more inclined to make strategic investments in Front Gate Tickets as a business partner. But full ownership could present regulatory and client relationship risks.
To summarize, Front Gate Tickets and Ticketmaster maintain an API-based business partnership but no direct ownership relationship. Ticketmaster provides its backend ticketing infrastructure and services to support Front Gate’s sales and servicing of major festivals and events.
While not a merged company, the partnership allows them both to benefit from each other’s capabilities and client base. Between exclusive festival contracts and the Ticketmaster platform access, Front Gate Tickets has built a strong position in festival and event ticketing.
Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see if the partnership model shifts at all, especially as the live events industry continues rapidly innovating and new technologies emerge. But for now, the existing collaboration approach seems to serve Front Gate Tickets and Ticketmaster well as they both look to expand their festival ticketing businesses further.