Ticketmaster announced today that it acquired UPGRADED, a blockchain technology company servicing the live events industry. UPGRADED converts traditional tickets into secure interactive digital assets protected by blockchain, providing event creators with more control and visibility over ticket distribution, and protecting fans against fraudulent tickets.
The acquisition advances Ticketmaster’s portfolio of identity-based venue access solutions aimed at creating a safer and more personalized experience for fans while providing valuable data and insights to event owners around where their tickets are distributed and who event attendees are. UPGRADED’s approach leverages blockchain technology combined with dynamic, encrypted barcodes to prevent fraud often associated with paper or pdf-based tickets. The solution can be implemented without requiring a venue to replace existing access control hardware.
The UPGRADED team and technology fits into a suite of live event products that include Ticketmaster Presence®, Verified Fan®, and Blink Identity, a facial recognition tool. Presence, a next generation venue access control and fan engagement platform has been implemented in more than 175 venues across North America and is now driving league-wide digital ticketing at scale with the NFL. Verified Fan, a product developed to help event creators better identify and sell directly to fans through a unique and simple pre-registration process, has supported more than 100 top music tours to date.
“Ticketmaster is the unquestioned leader in live event ticketing and is the perfect platform for us to bring the unique promise of blockchain to millions of fans,” said Sandy Khaund, Founder and CEO of UPGRADED. “UPGRADED leverages Blockchain to maximize trust for ticket holders, give control and flexibility to content owners, and data to teams and performers. We’re proud of what we’ve built and are looking forward to working with the incredible team at Ticketmaster to help us scale.”
“Ticketmaster is constantly exploring emerging technologies, and there aren’t many that have the unique possibilities of blockchain,” said Justin Burleigh, Chief Product Officer at Ticketmaster, North America. “We’re excited to have UPGRADED join the team as we continue to focus on providing the world’s leading identity-based ticketing platform to fans, artists, and our clients. We think blockchain and UPGRADED will continue our progress to improve ticketing and create a safer and more seamless experience.”