MONTREAL — StubHub plans to beef up its operations north of the border this year with the launch of a Canadian website, French-language services and the ability to buy and sell tickets in Canadian currency.
The ticket reseller, a subsidiary of eBay headquartered in San Francisco, said it wants to address shortcomings in the Canadian market, its second-largest after the United States.
“There is an obvious opportunity for us to better serve consumers here in Canada with a localized product,” Jeff Poirier, general manager of StubHub Canada, said in an interview.
Canadians looking to buy or sell tickets on StubHub for games, concerts and other events have to do so in U.S. currency, a small but nonetheless nagging inconvenience for some users of its website.
Poirier said the Canadian currency option will be added with the launch of a Canadian website in the second half of the year for events in Canada, and eventually consumers will be able to purchase tickets to events around the world in Canadian dollars.
By June, StubHub will also feature French-language capabilities and French customer service will be available in an effort to better compete with other ticket resellers that are bilingual, such as billets.ca and Ticketmaster, he added.
“We believe that in Montreal and Quebec City — those key markets in Quebec — should be driving more sales and that what we’re lacking is the user experience that Quebecers would want and deserve to have,” Poirier said.
More than half of the company’s Canadian sales are in Ontario — primarily Toronto, he said. Montreal accounted for only about 10 per cent of Canadian sales, well below per capita sales in other large Canadian markets, he added.
StubHub sold more than one million tickets to 5,000-plus events in Canada last year.
We believe that in Montreal and Quebec City — those key markets in Quebec — should be driving more sales and that what we’re lacking is the user experience that Quebecers would want and deserve to have
The Canadian ticket market is estimated at more than $6 billion, with reselling pegged at around $1.5 billion, according to StubHub. That compares to a US$30-billion ticket market in the U.S., including about US$8 billion from resale.
The laws governing ticket reselling vary by province. The practice was illegal but largely unenforced in Ontario until the province changed the law as of July 1, 2015. In Quebec, brokers are unable to resell a ticket for more than face value without first obtaining permission from the ticket’s original vendor.
Founded in 2000, StubHub was acquired by eBay in 2007 and is one of the world’s largest resellers of tickets. Its global revenues grew 30 per cent to US$944 million from the sale of US$4.3-billion worth of event tickets.
StubHub operates in 47 countries. Last year, it acquired international ticketing company Ticketbis for US$165 million that expanded its reach.