AXS Implements Philosophical and Structural Changes

AEG packages multiple assets together in aggressive go-to-market strategy

  • by Jessica Boudevin
  • Published: November 19, 2014

Ticketing platform AXS was created in August 2011. Now, it’s time for the next evolution.

“It can seem a little complex, but it’s actually not,” Brian Perez, president of AXS Tickets, told Venues Today.

In 2011, AEG created AXS Tickets and Outbox Enterprises in partnership with Cirque du Soleil. The AXS system, then wholly owned by AEG, was powered by Outbox Technology, which provides the ticketing platform software that sits behind AXS Ticketing.  Outbox Enterprises was created for Cirque du Soleil, with AEG serving as an equity partner.

The partnership has existed and continued to grow over the last three years.

“Along the way, AEG made a series of additional investments and developed technology that really enhanced the whole offering, so the decision was made to put everything together under one roof,” said Perez.

So what will change?

According to Perez, almost nothing. The AXS name will remain and costs will remain steady. For existing clients, nothing will change because the host of AEG assets had already been made available to them. 

“It’s still a joint venture between Cirque and AEG — that was important to all of the partners,” said Perez. “One of the most important aspects of this venture is that we’re backed by two of the largest content-producing companies in the world and nobody wanted to change that.”

Behind the scenes, AXS is now owned 50-50 by AEG and Cirque du Soleil.

“AXS was an entity that was 100-percent owned by AEG, but the ticketing initiative was powered by a joint venture with Cirque du Soleil. We basically took the ticketing asset and put it inside of the joint venture,” said Perez. 

AEG VP of Communications Michael Roth broke it down into layman’s terms.

“It’s having both companies pushing the same boulder uphill instead of pushing different boulders,” he said. “You can sit back and look at it as one big company because really all of the partners have no competing philosophies.”

AEG’s deep and long-term commitment to innovation led to the acquisition and development of assets that have now been merged into AXS Tickets. Last month, the company merged to include mobile solution company Bypass, web design firm Carbonhouse, the festival-oriented Front Gate Tickets, and Gimbal, which provides proximity services and iBeacon technology.

“All of those are thrown in as part of this joint venture, with some of those as minority investments,” added Roth.

Some provided services, such as Carbonhouse, are fully independent of AXS’ core ticketing offering, with AEG selling those services to venues all over the world regardless of what ticketing platform they use. Others, such as data-driven services like AXS Advantage, a big data segmentation and direct communication platform, are inextricably linked to ticketing operations.

“We wanted to unify those and be able to offer them as a seamless platform,” said Perez, who added that it doesn’t mean every client will take every service, but everything will be offered under one roof.

This evolution has been a long time coming, with Perez commenting that over 2014 the company started offering its other services naturally to clients because, well, it made sense. Now served as the right time to make things official because AXS has finished migrating all of the AEG buildings to the service and begun signing more third-party clients such as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

As the company was bringing AEG facilities under AXS Ticketing, Perez realized that the clients were interested in AEG’s other capabilities as well, both ticketingcentric and otherwise.

“We thought let’s go ahead and provide it to them, but it was technically separate entities providing a combined service,” he said. The simple takeaway is that now it will be easier for the entities to work together and for AXS to grow. The hard work is already done, with a number of entities folded into the existing partnership last month.

“People have always thought of AXS as mostly an AEG initiative and this really signifies that it’s not — we’re harnessing technologies and investments that AEG, as a multibillion-dollar corporation, has been able to incubate and accumulate over time and make them available through this partnership,” he added.

Within the past year, AXS Tickets has begun signing third-party clients and, if Perez has his way, this new rollout will only bring more facilities on board.

“This is all about an aggressive go-to-market strategy from here forward,” he said, adding that the 50-percent ownership by Cirque du Soleil can only be a boon for sales. “Cirque du Soleil sells tickets in almost every country on the planet. It’s going to help our business development efforts and long-term growth as much as AEG’s ownership has helped us already.”

Interviewed for this story: Michael Roth and Brian Perez, (213) 742-7155

  • by Jessica Boudevin
  • Published: November 19, 2014