Citi, which bills itself as the world's largest credit-card issuer, and Live Nation, which claims the title of world's largest concert promoter, today announced a strategic marketing alliance. With the deal, Citi replaces AmEx, whose relationship with Live Nation dates back to 1999 when a partnership was struck with the promoter's predecessor company, SFX Entertainment.
Access to 150 million Citi customers
This new deal grants Citi "official credit card partner" status at Live Nation, and will give Live Nation access to some 150 million Citi customers -- all of whom are potential concert-goers who will have access to Live Nation's pre-sales and preferred tickets, box seats at select venues, premium seats, exclusive merchandise and VIP access at Live Nation venues.
In addition, Citi receives other opportunities to participate in future initiatives, such as venue-naming rights and tie-ins with Live Nation's forthcoming ticketing operation. Citi's brand and logo are also expected to be integrated into online and offline initiatives as well as in signage, direct-mail campaigns and at LiveNation.com.
Live Nation has been undergoing sweeping changes since its CEO, Michael Rapino, seemed to reach the conclusion in 2006 that live events alone would not be sufficient to power its growth.
Nationwide ticket sales unit
In December of last year, word came that Live Nation had declined to renew a seven-year deal with Ticketmaster, electing to instead license software from CTS Eventim, a German ticketing service. Live Nation is in the midst of constructing its own nationwide ticket sales unit, which will activate by the end of this year, when the Ticketmaster deal runs out.
Last October, the company moved aggressively into the recording business, making a $120 million landmark record and touring deal with Madonna that the Associated Press valued at some $55 million in advances tied to three new albums. Expanding its reach via Citi's large (and younger) customer base could be essential to boosting Live Nation's profits from ticket sales.