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The Power Framework Proves SeatGeek Was Right With Their Bruce Springsteen Policies

3. BRUCE! 

Big Ideas:

  • Strategy is about power and whether or not you are gaining power in the market. 
  • Brokers are in a tough spot because the landscape is changing rapidly. 
  • SeatGeek comes out of this situation having improved their position. 

I could almost write my entire newsletter this week on the different angles on this story. 

Eric Fuller writes about the idea that SeatGeek is hammering one of their key constituencies by kicking brokers orders back to them at the request of the theatre and the Boss. 

Tony Knopp looks at the issue through the lens of money

Guess what? 

They are both right in a lot of ways. 

I’ve been thinking about this all week and how to really think through what all of this means to the ticket sales ecosystem in the States, to the brand of Bruce, and SeatGeek. 

Again, I could write a whole newsletter on all the different aspects of this situation and once the new and improved DaveWakeman.com is finished, I’ll go back to the blog there with some more ideas…I’m sure. 

I’ll take a few minutes this morning to look at this situation through the lens of “The Power Framework”, a framework created by Dr. Kamal Munir at Cambridge. 

The idea behind Dr. Munir’s work is that all modern strategy comes down to power. And, you should view any strategy through the lens of how it increases or decreases your power over your customers, competition, and suppliers. 

In thinking about this situation, SeatGeek wins against their competition because they’ve managed to add some pretty powerful names to their portfolio like sports teams, Broadway, international partners, and more. So doing exactly what Bruce Springsteen and Jujamcyn want is operating to strengthen their position against their competition. 

In taking action on brokers’ purchases, they are also winning against their customers. Because the marketing story they can tell is that we stand up for the customer and we do what is right for the customer when they purchase from SeatGeek, even if it is the primary or secondary market purchase. No matter what, we have the customer in mind. 

Now, I know that this isn’t something most fans think of when they are buying tickets, but a good marketer can make it matter to customers. 

Finally, when you look at the deal through power over suppliers, it gets a little dicey because SeatGeek is sitting in the middle of a platform that operates on both sides of the market. 

Again, from the standpoint of their primary market business…this is great. Primary market suppliers are going to be looking at this and thinking to themselves that SeatGeek can fulfill their promises when they say they will shut down secondary purchases on hot shows or games and won’t just mouth platitudes. 

On the flipside, this does lessen the relationship with the secondary market. 

But the thing I’m about to say that will likely fill my inbox with hate mail is that I’m not sure that this matters because the truth is that about 80% of the secondary market business is going through Vivid Seats right now if I’m to believe what brokers tell me. So the costs of pissing off brokers is small compared to the potential benefit of improving their position with customers and the primary market where if you look at the global nature of SeatGeek’s business is where they are playing most of the time. 

And, the alternative reality is that if a broker thinks SeatGeek is going to be the best place to move some tickets…that’s where they are going to go because SeatGeek has all the power because they own the customer. 

If I’m a broker coming into this new environment, I look around at where the power is and recognize that what was working before is likely shifting, maybe not quickly, but if I don’t have customers, strong relationships with my suppliers, and the competition is increasing…my business model can get very uncomfortable and unstable very quickly. Because the power dynamics are playing against everyone, either improving or slipping. 

Again, as I’ve thought about this…my thoughts on this have changed. 

But right now, I think SeatGeek actually pulled off a pretty strong move under the circumstances. 

Bruce, on the other hand, call me!