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AEG to start rolling out Axs ticketing service

August 22, 2011 |  7:35 pm

Ticketmaster 
Making good on a promise to compete with Ticketmaster, AEG said it will begin rolling out its Axs ticketing service Saturday, beginning with two venues in Denver.

AEG, which owns or operates more than 130 venues worldwide, said it has a two-year plan to  convert all of its facilities to the service. Until now, AEG primarily has used Ticketmaster.

In order to obtain federal antitrust approval for its 2010 merger with Live Nation Entertainment Inc., Ticketmaster promised to license its ticketing service to AEG.

But instead of using Ticketmaster's software, AEG decided to partner with Cirque du Soleil and former Ticketmaster Chief Executive Fred Rosen to create a rival system called Outbox. Technically, AEG is both a joint owner of Outbox and its largest client.

AEG is currently Ticketmaster's largest third-party client, generating thousands of events and millions of tickets a year. Within two years, however, all of those tickets will be serviced by AEG's ticketing service, dubbed Axs and pronounced "access."

The transition will be gradual, said Tim Leiweke, president of AEG, which is based in Los Angeles.

"It’s going to take us a couple of years," Leiweke said. AEG expects to roll out the service to Staples Center by mid-2012, he said.

Beginning with the Bluebird Theater and the Ogden Theatre in Denver, AEG will test its new service, working out the kinks before it adds more venues, said Bryan Perez, the company's newly hired president of digital.

Among the differences customers will notice, Perez said, is the absence of fees for printing tickets at home. (Ticketmaster charges such fees.) Perhaps more important is something users won't see, namely prominent branding of the ticketing service. Instead, the venues will have top billing in the ticket purchase, Perez said.

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-- Alex Pham

Photo: Associated Press

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