True Tickets’ relationship with Tessitura Network stems from their work together at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.

Deal built on technology that allows PACs to better know their ticket holders

True Tickets’ partnership with the Tessitura Network will expand the company’s reach into the performing arts center segment and is validation of the value of the secure contactless digital ticketing platform it has built, True Tickets founder and CEO Matt Zarracina says.

The partnership, announced in October, makes True Tickets services available to the more than 700 not-for-profit arts and cultural institutions, across 10 countries and three continents, that make up the Tessitura Network.

“Tessitura is the gold standard for ticketing, customer relationship management in the not-for profit arts space,” Zarracina said. “For us, it is an incredible opportunity we are happy to have and we feel validated that they wanted to partner with us given what we are building and given the competitive landscape, that they trust us to deliver that to their clients.”

The revenue-sharing deal stems from 3-year-old True Tickets’ successful two-year relationship with Tessitura Network member the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.

“When you look at Tessitura, the network alone, in a normal year, there are billions of dollars of ticketing topline that flow through their CRM and infrastructure,” Zarracina said.

Originally aimed at thwarting ticket brokers, True Tickets’ partnership with the Arsht Center has taken on new relevance in the age of COVID-19 as the blockchain-based platform, which allows venues to implement critical safety protocols by knowing who is in the facility and how to contact them.

“While our work with True Tickets began as an initiative to keep tickets in the hands of our community and out of the hands of brokers, their mobile ticketing solution is, now more than ever, a critical component of our safety protocols.” according to a statement from Nicole Keating, assistant vice president of business intelligence at the Arsht Center. “The True Tickets service will also support ticket forwarding, allowing us to communicate with all guests about event changes and other updates.”

Jack Rubin, CEO and co-founder of Tessitura Network, said in a statement that True Tickets can help network members deal with persistent challenges and new ones alike by improving on Tessitura’s existing mobile ticketing options.

“Prior to the pandemic, True Tickets’ value in improving how theaters can better connect with their patrons was clear,” he said. “Now the benefit is even greater as venues look for opportunities to safely reopen in the future and ensure that they know who is entering their venues.”

Zarracina said the partnership with Tessitura was the culmination of a two-year effort involving True Tickets and its pilot clients, of which the Arsht Center was the first, and keeping the network informed of the platform’s capabilities.

“What I have gotten back from the Arsht Center is (that) they are very pleased with how the service is working,” he said. “Much of what we as a team have had to focus on are operational improvements to the process of admitting people to the venue. So, there are really no issues with the technology itself. It was more, ‘How should we facilitate (distribution of) our health questionnaire? How should we educate or inform people that they are going to have to log in to access their tickets?’ One of the things we’ve learned is that many people don’t rekklty read emails so the Arsht Center and several of our other clients have taken to calling people. … So, we are finding ways of educating the patrons as to this new normal.”

In addition to the Arsht Center, True Tickets clients include the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, where it went live Nov. 20, and The Shubert Organization, with which the company has a pilot program.

“We’re doing select rollouts this quarter,” Zarracina said of when its services would be available to other Tessitura Network members. “I would anticipate that it’s going to be broadly available in Q1 of next year for just about any Tessitura client who would like to use it.”

The time it takes to get the service to be integrated with existing systems is a reflection of the seamless nature of the True Tickets platform, Zarracina said.

“Two installations that we did took less than three hours for each client,” he said. “We booked about two hours of training, but didn’t use all that time. … We’re able to get a client up and running, from zero to having a secure, contactless digital ticket, in a day. I think that speaks very well to how soundly we’ve built the technology. The venues get contactless ticketing, which in this environment is a requirement.”

By knowing who is in the venue, operators will have ways of contacting clients before, during or after an event should the need arise, Zarracina said.

Another benefit of the True Tickets service is that it uses far less bandwidth than what’s required for print at home ticketing.

“The bandwidth required to send one PDF print-at-home ticket, very recently or even today, for that same amount of bandwidth our service can deliver over 3,000 dynamic QR codes. So, we can basically fill a venue for the bandwidth that was required to send one PDF print-at-home ticket and that’s a huge advantage when you’re thinking about maybe of these venues operate in low-bandwidth environments, maybe they’re concerned about congestion and traffic. We’ve been able to deal with that concern in a very performant manner.”

For those intimidated by technology, or who might think they need to understand blockchain and cryptocurrency, Zarracina says everything is under the hood and intuitive in True Tickets architecture and doesn’t require a computer science degree to operate.

Zarracina says other partnerships organizations and systems could be on the horizon for True Tickets, which has been joined by Randi Zuckerberg as an advisor and investor through Broadway Beta Ventures (a subsidiary of Zuckerberg Media), though he is not at liberty to name names. Zuckerberg’s investment, given her place at the intersection of media and entertainment, is further validation that True Tickets is “a capable contender in the field.”

He also says that while the company has its eye on other classes of venues, including arenas, stadiums and college and university facilities, for now, its “wedge market” is the non-profit performing arts sector.

“It’s not that we initially targeted that sector,” he said. “Really that sector targeted us. So, we are going to start there and then expand into other live event spaces.”