Ticketmaster is an American ticket sales and distribution company based in Beverly Hills, California with operations in many countries around the world. In 2010 it merged with Live Nation under the name Live Nation Entertainment. The company's ticket sales are fulfilled digitally or at its two main fulfillment centers located in Charleston, West Virginia, and Pharr, Texas for both primary and secondary markets. Ticketmaster's clients include venues, artists and promoters. Clients control their events and set ticket prices, and Ticketmaster sells tickets that the clients make available to them.
Ticketmaster was founded in Phoenix, Arizona in 1976 by Peter Gadwa, a computer programmer, Albert Leffler, a box office specialist, as well as Gordon Gunn III, Thomas Hart Jr., Dan Reeter and Jerry Nelson. The company originally licensed computer programs and sold hardware for ticketing systems. In 1982, Fred Rosen convinced Jay Pritzker, the co-founder of the Hyatt hotel chain, and his family, to invest millions to expand the company, including switching to computerized ticketing. Its first ticketed concert was Electric Light Orchestra, held at the University of New Mexico. By 1985 the company had moved to Los Angeles and was operating in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Under Rosen, the company moved into publishing and set up a travel agency and acquired rival Ticketron in 1991, making it the market leader.
In November 1993, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen acquired an 80% stake for more than $325 million.