Author: Dave Brooks
Date: May 16,2007

Can global warming bring two ticketing foes together?Live Earth has
announced partnerships with both Ticketmaster and eBay for its
upcoming July 7 concert, scheduled to take place simultaneously in
nine countries around the world to raise awareness about global
climate change. Organized by former Vice President Al Gore and Live
8 promoter Kevin Wall, the giant concert features acts like Bon
Jovi, Madonna, the Police, Melissa Etheridge, Roger Waters, Sheryl
Crow and the Smashing Pumpkins and is hoping to attract millions of
viewers through its web simulcast.For its U.S. show at the
Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., Live Earth has contracted
with Ticketmaster to provide primary ticketing, while eBay will be
the official secondary ticketing provider. Live Earth spokesperson
Yusef Robb said the concert opted to go with eBay because
it’s “the major player in online auction sites,”
he said, adding “partnering with eBay will allow us to
benefit from as many resellers as possible because eBay is the
place where we believe the most reselling of tickets will take
place.”Under the deal, ticket-holders will be allowed to
resell their tickets using eBay’s Giving Works program and be
required to donate a minimum of 20 percent of the final sale price
to Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection. Last year eBay
donated over $20 million to charities. Anyone selling tickets for
the U.S. or London concerts on eBay will be required to donate a
portion of their sale, said eBay spokesperson Nichola Sharpe,
adding that eBay officials will be monitoring all Live Earth
transactions to make sure sellers follow the rules.“Any
listing that isn’t within our guidelines will be
removed,” Sharpe said. “When dealing with online
auctions, we have a lot of rules and regulations and this is one
more guideline people will have to follow.”The deal snubs
Ticketmaster’s own secondary site TicketExchange, and sets up
a strange relationship between Ticketmaster and eBay, who are
currently locked in a lawsuit over ticket sales for the upcoming
Rowdy Frynds tour featuring Hank Williams Jr. and Lynyrd Skynyrd
(Venues Today April issue). Ticketmaster is suing eBay and its
subsidiary StubHub! after promoter John Ruffino of Red Mountain
Entertainment began purchasing artist hold tickets for the front
row seats along the 20-city tour and reselling them on StubHub!
Ticketmaster is alleging that StubHub! is violating
Ticketmaster’s exclusive primary ticketing contracts with 18
of the participating venues.With each company conducting ticket
sales independently of the other, it’s unlikely the two will
have to interact for this sponsorship to take place. eBay officials
said this is the first time that their company has been the
official secondary sponsor of a festival and that it was a
no-brainer to require a portion of the ticket sales be donated to
charity.“Although the charity will have benefited from the
original sale of the ticket, we think it makes sense to use our
charity fundraising program to ensure that good causes benefit from
the resale of any spare tickets on the site,” said Gary
Biggs, eBay’s senior vice president of marketing who helped
orchestrate the deal.As of press time, eBay had about 20 sets of
Live Earth tickets for sale on its website, ranging from $75 to
$1,200 a piece. That amount is expected to climb much higher as the
July 7 concert approaches.“We knew there was no way to stop
the reselling of tickets, so we thought this would be a good way to
help raise some additional money for charity,” Robb said.Only
tickets for the U.S. show will be sold through Ticketmaster, with
both the London concert at Wembley Stadium and the U.S. concert
selling secondary tickets on eBay. Both concerts are being promoted
by Live Nation. The London concert, which includes headliners the
Beastie Boys, will move its 60,000 available tickets through a
lottery system.Sharpe said eBay wouldn’t require ticket
sellers in other countries like Australia or Japan to donate a
portion of their sales to charity because those country’s
eBay sites didn’t have charity components. Other concerts
scheduled to be part of this year’s Live Earth festival
include:Australia — Held at Aussie Stadium, Sydney, with
headlining support from Jack Johnson and Wolfmother. Producing the
event will be Australian concert promoter Michael Chugg of Chugg
Entertainment; Mark Pope, event producer of the ARIA Awards and Joe
Segreto of IMC and founder and promoter of Sydney’s annual
Homebake Festival. Ticketing services will be contracted to
TicketekBrazil — The Copacobana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, event
will be the only free concert during Live Earth. Organizers are
expecting over 1 million people to attend with performers by
Gilberto Gil, Lenny Kravitz and Jennifer Lopez.China— The
concert will be held in Shanghai at a yet to be determined
location.Germany — The AOL Arena, Hamburg, show will feature
Shakira, Pink, Paul McCartney and Katie Melua. Japan — To be
held at the Tokyo Dome.South Africa — Held at the Cradle of
Humankind, Johannesburg.Turkey — The concert will be held in
Istanbul in a yet-to-be-determined venue and promoted by regional
promoter Purple Concerts. — Dave BrooksInterviewed for this
story: Yusef Robb, (310) 550-3888; Nicola Sharpe, (408) 376-8717;
Gary Biggs, (408) 376-7458