When tickets for Muse at The Arena at Gwinnett Center go on sale Friday, concertgoers will direct their dollars not to Ticketmaster, but to a new ticketing website.
Starting with the Muse show, the Gwinnett Center, which houses The Arena at Gwinnett Center, Convention Center and Performing Arts Center, will switch to AXS Ticketing (www.axs.com).
The ticket outlet is a product of concert promoter AEG, which debuted AXS (pronounced “axis”) in 2011 and now uses the platform in about 25 venues, including the Staples Center in Los Angeles and The O2 Arena in London.
In March, the Gwinnett Center entered into a partnership with AEG that will provide support services on both the facilities and ticketing sides of their business.
“We think the AXS platform is innovative and has a lot of neat tools that makes it better for the ticket buyer,” said Joseph Dennis, general manager of the Gwinnett Center.
Of course, the first thing any ticket-buying fan wants to know is: How about those irritating fees?
A comparison of Pink’s upcoming concert at the Target Center in Minneapolis – an AXS venue – and her return to Philips Arena with tickets sold via Ticketmaster, showed a minor difference in total cost.
For a 300-level ticket at Philips, the base ticket price is $69.50, plus a $10.90 convenience charge and a $5.75 order processing fee for a total of $86.15.
A ticket in the same level at the Target Center is $67.50, with a $15 convenience fee and $1.17 in tax for a total of $83.57. Keep in mind the base ticket price is $2 less in Minneapolis than Atlanta, so really, it’s $86.15 with Ticketmaster and $85.67 with AXS – a difference of 48 cents.
AXS does show the consumer all of its fees up front, so no surprises await you on the final checkout page.
“We wanted to keep the fees the same or lower,” Dennis said, adding a reminder that tickets purchased at the venue box offices never incur convenience charges.
So while AXS isn’t some magical fee-free program, it does offer some consumer-friendly options, such as a “waiting room,” which will usually be available about 30 minutes prior to an on-sale. Fans can enter the waiting room to view show details and pricing and input their billing information. Once the on-sale goes live, an electronic lottery system will send them into the system to view and purchase seats.
While an AXS app and mobile ticketing ability are expected to roll out this summer, the AXS Invite feature is functioning now.
With it, users can invite friends to an event without having to buy everyone’s tickets up front. The invite is typically opened about 24 hours after an initial on-sale (though the venue can change the start time depending upon the event) and those who have been “invited’ have 48 hours to decide whether or not to purchase the tickets. Tickets that aren’t purchased will be released to the public.
“It will be a key component for us, especially with our younger users,” Dennis said.
Shows that are currently on sale at the Gwinnett Center venues will remain on Ticketmaster, much like when the Fox Theatre switched from Ticketmaster to its own system in May.
In addition to the Muse show, tickets for the Gwinnett Center International Film Festival will also go on sale Friday through AXS. Dennis said at least seven new events will be announced at the venues in the next two months, with all ticketing on the AXS platform.
(If you need some help navigating the ticket-buying landscape, check out this story from our Bargain Hunter, Nedra Rhone.)