My Week: viagogo's Eric Baker

Eric Baker, CEO of viagogo, talks Manchester United, Madonna and the New York Jets...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

This is always one of the busiest times of the year for viagogo with the football season starting in Europe, the NFL kicking off in the States and some of the biggest names in music embarking on sold-out world tours between now and Christmas. For all these live events, viagogo operates a transparent market place that enables fans to exchange tickets in a safe, secure and 100% guaranteed environment.

Since I launched the company two years ago, sporting partnerships have been at the heart of our operations and so there’s much work to be done in making sure everything is running smoothly with our teams. In the UK we have deals with Manchester United and Chelsea to run their ticket exchanges. This is now the third season we have operated this service for the clubs and they’ve proved to be a real hit with the fans. Essentially it enables season ticket holders to re-sell tickets to other fans for the games they cannot attend. This way they can recoup some money and give other supporters access to some of the best seats in the stadium. The tickets are all sold at face value, so it is a win / win situation for the fans and the club, as there is never an empty seat come match day.

Stamford Bridge is on the way to the viagogo offices in Hammersmith so I’ll stop there to have a meeting with Peter Kenyon and get the latest feedback on our product and how we can look to expand the concept and provide an even better service for the fans. Manchester United and Chelsea are hugely successful on the pitch and we like to think we’re doing our bit to ensure they remain the biggest players off the pitch. Another showdown in the Champions League final would be a perfect season for all of us!

I spend a fair amount of my time travelling for business. Often that’s to Germany to check in the management team and to visit another of our sporting partners, Bayern Munich. There is a real passion for sports and live events in Germany and in fact this seems to be true in every territory we launch. This is why I truly believe that viagogo has a global opportunity.

Other times I’ll fly to the States for meetings and to launch our latest NFL innovation: Victory Passes. By purchasing a Victory Pass for their team, US football fans can earn the right to buy a guaranteed face value ticket for the Super Bowl. We are the official Victory Pass partner for the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns so I’ll visit the teams to make sure everything is set for launch and to put the finishing touches to the deals. I probably catch a game or two while I am there!

Our strategy at viagogo has always been to work with the biggest names and brands and this is certainly true of a deal we struck with the world’s leading female performer: Madonna. We are the official premium and secondary ticketing partner for her current “Sticky and Sweet” tour so there’s been quite a buzz in the office throughout the summer as the shows approached. I’ll make sure that from a marketing and operational perspective everything is running smoothly. Since the tour was announced in May there has been a great demand for tickets and it’s a real thrill for us to be able to offer Madonna fans a safe, secure platform to buy VIP tickets and to trade tickets…

Eric Baker is CEO of viagogo, Europe’s leading ticket exchange.

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