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StubHub absorbs Spanish ticket marketplace Ticketbis in sweeping rebrand

StubHub, the booming online ticketing marketplace acquired by eBay in 2007, is now lending its name to its own acquisition, Spain-based Ticketbis, in a move that will consolidate international mobile ticketing experiences. 

EBay inked the acquisition of Ticketbis in August, and the company will surely figure in to StubHub?s plans to take on rival Ticketmaster with a cohesive primary and secondary ticket marketplace. The StubHub name is now the global ticket marketplace leader in transaction volume, now with presences in Latin America and Europe through the Ticketbis rebrand.

"Change is never an easy thing, especially for those that have become highly loyal to the original brand," said Michael Becker, managing partner at mCordis and The Connected Marketer Institute. "It is important for the marketing team to recognize this and have empathy for the existing customer base, to have a deep understanding of their needs, wants, desires, concerns and fears and to speak to all of these.

"The most important question for the marketing team to answer is 'what?s in it for me?'" he said. "The marketing team should help the existing customer bridge from the old brand to the new brand by answering this very important question, by helping the existing customer understand how they?ll benefit by aligning with the new brand and how the change affects them at an individual level. 

"By doing this well, the marketer can build trust and begin to up sell the individual to new services and align them with the new brand."

Monumental rebrand
On the consumer side, StubHub is touting an array of benefits, especially for Ticketbis? former customers. While the integration between the two entities is not complete yet, at this point consumers who use StubHub will benefit from websites in their local language and currency, as well as the safety and security offered by the StubHub FanProtect guarantee, which ensures that consumers can buy and sell confidently ? security features that will be new to Ticketbis customers. 

The deal was negotiated last year

In future phases, StubHub expects to fully integrate the Ticketbis platform and catalog of events onto the StubHub platform, and to launch a global app to surface live events around the world, wherever StubHub is available.

While the decision to rebrand Ticketbis may be an obvious move rooted in concerns about StubHub?s posterity, many companies choose to allow brands to retain their identities, especially in foreign markets. One notable example is Chinese firm Lenovo?s acquisition of IBM?s personal computing division in 2003.

Ticketing wars
Usually acquisitions like these, especially those involving young companies occur between social media platforms or other media outlets. But its perhaps exactly this kind of outlook that eBay and StubHub need to adopt to compete against Ticketmaster, both of which do most of their business in America.

In setting its sights on international markets, StubHub could be admitting that the duopoly that the two companies entertain in the domestic market may be irresolvable, and by diverting resources away from its deadlock with Ticketmaster, it could experience significant growth, especially in emerging markets where surging mobile uptake provides an opportunity for a brand to dictate best practices.

Ticketbis is now StubHub

Last year, StubHub rolled out its latest effort in collaboration with the National Basketball Association?s Philadelphia 76ers, integrating primary and secondary ticket sales into a mobile hub for all Sixers ticket transactions including personalization and bundled services unavailable in traditional grey market arenas (see story).

And Ticketmaster has also been making waves domestically, partnering with the NFL?s Dallas Cowboys to fight fraud through mobile ticketing platforms (see story).

"This acquisition is just one more piece of evidence that the world has gone mobile ? it's connected." Mr. Becker said. "Zenith estimates that 75 percent of all internet use in 2017 will be mobile.

"Mobile can enhance understanding. Mobile can enable & engage, mobile can reduce friction, mobile can be the primary means of being of service to the individual, at scale," he said. "Most importantly, mobile is influencing sales, across all industries. 

"According to a recent MEF study 78 percent of mobile individuals made a purchase in via mobile last year. Mobile has changed individual?s behavior, forever, and marketer must respond to this change in order to thrive in the era of the connected individual."