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CTS: ‘We’re No 1 in Europe’

World News
June 25, 2018
Peter Schulenberg

After a flurry of promoter acquisitions, pan-Europe ticketing and promoting giant CTS Eventim has its eye on further expansion in the sector.

In its latest move, the company took a 63.5 per cent stake in Spanish promoter Doctor Music, including subsidiaries Big Tours and festival division In Cow We Trust, which is relaunching the Doctor Music Festival (cap. 40,000) in Catalonia, in July next year.

This followed the recent acquisition of Italian promoters Vivo Concerti, Vertigo, Friends & Partners and D’Alessandro e Galli.

“We have been Europe’s No 1 live entertainment provider for quite some time now,” CTS CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg tells Audience. “So, expanding our promoters network not only strengthens our leading market position, but also helps us offer pan-European touring opportunities.

“This is what international artistes from all over the world are increasingly looking for.”

CTS, which recorded a group revenue of €274.5 million ($320.5m) for the first three months of the year (Q1), up 32.5 per cent from €207.2m ($241.9) over the same period in 2017, is not ruling out further investment.

“We feel very comfortable with our portfolio in Italy for the time being,” says Schulenberg. “Having said that, we will continue to be an active player in Europe’s live entertainment sector and constantly evaluate the market.”

In all of its deals, Schulenberg says CTS keeps its ticketing and live activities “independent”.

“I will continue to run the operation with total freedom, and this was one of the key reasons why I decided to make the deal,” says Neo Sala, who founded Doctor Music in 1982 and has worked with artistes such as Adele, the Rolling Stones, Eminem and Michael Jackson.

Through its live division Medusa, CTS also owns the MLK brand and majority stakes in pan-Europe festival organiser and promoter FKP Scorpio Konzertproduktionen and leading promoter Peter Rieger Konzertagentur in Germany.

It organises twin festivals Rock im Park (70,000) through Argo Konzerte and Rock am Ring (70,000), which featured Foo Fighters, Gorillaz and Thirty Seconds to Mars, in partnership with MLK founder Marek Lieberberg and son Andre, who now run Live Nation Germany.

“If I had my way, the ones who are first at the box office should always get the best tickets”

Klaus-Peter Schulenberg

During the first quarter (Q1), CTS sold 12.1 million tickets across 23 countries, with revenue rising nearly 10 per cent from €92.6m ($108.1m) last year to €101.8m ($118.8m), with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) up to €40.4m ($47.1m), from €36.5m ($42.6m).

It operates secondary site fanSALE, which allows fan-to-fan transactions of CTS tickets and checks for authenticity.

“If blocks of tickets are landing on the so-called secondary market before fans even get a chance to buy them, that is not in the interest of either the artistes or the promoter,” says Schulenberg, who started in the business as a local promoter in Bremen. “So, it is not in our interest either.

“If I had my way, the ones who are first at the box office should always get the best tickets, be it online or over the counter. And I would be very much in favour of legislators intervening and taking action by banning reselling above a certain margin.”

Live segment Medusa saw revenue grow more than 50 per cent to €175m ($204.3m), with profits of €14.9m ($17.4m) in Q1.

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