Ticketmaster Adds Cultural Event Tickets In 1,500 Cities

City information and ticket vendor Ticketmaster Online-City Search (Nasdaq: TXCS) announced today that it has expanded its access to cultural offerings in about 1,500 cities across the United States by signing a marketing and distribution agreement with CultureFinder.com.

The agreement will make the New York-based cultural events listing and ticketing site one of the premier providers on the citysearch.com network of sites.

“By partnering with CultureFinder.com, we will allow consumers to gain access to a broad array of cultural information and ticketing services for small and large venues,” said Ticketmaster Online-City Search CEO Charles Conn. “This relationship further extends our strategy to help consumers get things done locally online, whether it’s buying tickets to a Broadway show, finding directions to a venue or setting up a date.”

High Demand For Arts

CultureFinder.com offers information and ticketing for over 350,000 theater, music, dance, opera and museum events in 1,500 cities. According to the company, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) reported in 1997 that 50 percent of the U.S. population attends at least one arts event yearly.

A former executive director of the American Symphony Orchestra launched the company in November 1998.

Acquisition Plan on Target

TicketMaster Online-City Search obtained $40 million (US$) from majority shareholder USA Networks last month to help fund a strategic investment and acquisition drive. The company said then that it had $93 million in cash bankrolled for the effort. USA Network’s stake in the company increased one percent to 52 percent.

Later in the month, Ticketmaster Online-City Search paid $15.5 million in cash, stock and services for a 19 percent stake in ActiveUSA, a participatory sports site.

That acquisition capped a year in which the company silenced one of its main competitors — Microsoft’s Sidewalk City — by acquiring it. The company also bought online personal ad sites Match.com and One and Only, as well as local auction site CityAuction.

In addition, Ticketmaster Online-City Search made equity investments in Foodline.com and online auction network Fairmarket.com.

TicketMaster Online-City Search booked third quarter revenue of $27.4 million and a net loss of $13 million. The company — which had 4.9 million registered users prior to its acquisition of Sidewalk City — sold 2.5 million tickets in the quarter, at an average of $6.45 in fees for each ticket.

CultureFinder.com charges $4.50 in fees for every ticket.

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