Karl Roes, CEO and Founder of Maryland-based Stage Front Tickets, focused on building a suite of software tools, a pool of skilled employees, and relationships with players across the spectrum of Ticketing. This, along with the capital it has accumulated over the years, has allowed Stage Front to invest its own unique space in the industry. Stage Front’s partnerships with consignees and its relationships with rights holders are the foundation of Roes’ success.
Event ticketing is basically a business that has been around since the dawn of time, once someone realized they could trade talent for goods. Today, the case is only one standard deviation away: now, the job is talent for money. What is changing, and rapidly, is how technology facilitates and complicates this basic commerce.
At the beginning the job was simple: here is a chicken, tell me a story. Now, there are data rooms full of servers that follow the demand of a particular artist or team and move prices instantly in response to surges or lulls in demand. Event tickets, like airplane seats or Nasdaq stock prices, move continuously throughout the day based on both intrinsic demand and market perception of the scarcity of the event. bid or the speed of prices up or down. Many ticket companies are built like trading desks, reacting to market-based price movements by adjusting their own supply or moving prices when forecasting the next likely level of price support.
Stage Front builds tools that help them maintain a functioning marketplace. Their tools help to price tickets, balance supply, and better understand the fundamentals of an event ticket’s likely price trajectory. Roes leads his team to integrate innovative technology creating exclusive products that help deliver a better consumer experience in ticket resale using consignment and strategic partnerships with teams, leagues and events.
What’s so interesting about Stage Front and its CEO Karl Roes is that it started by accident. Karl’s journey began when he was too young to attend a show for which he had a ticket. After being refused entry due to his age when his friends managed to get into the event, Karl found himself outside with a ticket that had no use for him. It was there that he first paid attention to a guy selling tickets on the street, buying here, selling there, and making a margin on the sales. Karl sold his seat to someone who was old enough to see the show. What he didn’t realize back then was that by selling that ticket he started a journey that today has led to Stage Front, a company that does business around the world and whose name is even prominently displayed on a Nascar.
Running a business that distributes tickets to events around the world requires more than just an internet connection. To be successful, your team must be disciplined, organized, and your software must run almost flawlessly. Stage Front currently has 55 employees and is in the process of adding more as fans continue to return to live events as the pandemic subsides. Stage Front’s technology monitors prices in real time, delivers tickets electronically when purchased, provides tools that help with predictive pricing, and builds relationships with consumers and those in the industry who supply the tickets. , either through direct relationships or through third-party intermediaries who ship their tickets to the Stage Front platform. Recently, Stage Front entered into official partnerships with LaLiga North America, International Champions Cup, Women’s International Champions Cup, ECHL, etc.
The Stage Front model has multiple revenue lines. There is an exclusive ticket trading and service fee charged to senders who use the Stage Front platform. These shippers have the option for Stage Front to provide front office support or move to a broader platform of tools, including financing the purchase or using software to automatically move the ticket prices, in accordance with predefined limits dictated by the user. Since ticketing requires many touchpoints, from purchase to ultimate fan attendance, providing a service that handles the retail work related to inventory tracking, from purchase to final delivery and all intermediate steps, is essential for the proper functioning of a ticketing business. Although the market is still primarily a US market, tickets move in time zones around the world. For a small business, having staff to manage inventory in real time as it is purchased through sale and event entry requires a wide range of staff. It’s uneconomical for small businesses, which opens the door for specialists like Stage Front to shoulder that burden in return for a fee that’s likely a fraction of what it would cost a small or medium-sized business. to have all the staff in-house.
Stage Front also makes its own agreements with promoters and major ticket sellers around the world. Roes’ ability to expand beyond North America gives it a competitive advantage, as there is far less competition internationally than here, where there are many other players with substantial economic capacity.
Because he’s been in the industry for so long, Roes has a good sense of developing trends and stays involved with both his time and his money in supporting industry events, conferences and education. ‘industry. As the ticketing industry matures and consumers see less differentiation between “primary” and “secondary” markets, this once highly fragmented business is maturing. As this process unfolds, it falls to those who have been around long enough to establish the trust in the industry that helps build and maintain the bridges between organizations. Roes knows this space well and is always ready to share his perspective on any particular issue.
Below, in audio and video format, is my conversation with Karl Roes. You’ll notice his calm and clear manner when we discuss Stage Front’s role in event ticketing and Roes’ views on where the industry exists and is heading.
The ecosystem that has grown up around event ticketing is no different than any family of rowdy parents. There are the noisy embers, the careful planners, the agitators and the peacemakers all mingled at the same dining table. And, like any family, there are those who have the experience and the way to defuse tensions and smooth the way forward for everyone. Karl Roes is that guy, the lifer in this business who always finds ways to improve his business and in doing so empower those who work with him or his business to improve their own path to success. Stage Front has done its job when those who use its tools are successful. Any business model based on making money by making sure your customers earn is built on a solid foundation. The business truism used to be “slow and steady wins the race”, but as I observe what Roes has done with Stage Front, it may be that fast and steady can both win the race and really enjoy the afterparty .