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Stubhub furloughs employees, other ticket sites face challenges in wake of pandemic



The ticketing giant Stubhub has begun furloughing employees, making it the first major ticketing company to publicly admit to significant cost-cutting moves in the wake of financial damage created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Following the postponement or cancellation of hundreds of sporting events — including 448 NBA and NHL games, along with the entirety of the MLB season and March Madness — the ticketing industry has been grappling with the massive financial implications of empty arenas and other live-event venues, including all spectator sports in the United States.

In a statement to ESPN, StubHub said, “Given the impact of the coronavirus on the live-events industry, we have made the difficult but responsible decision to furlough a portion of our employee base.” The company emphasized it will “continue to support our customers and partners.”

ESPN reported last week that Stubhub, along with other major ticketing sites, would provide fans who purchased tickets to canceled events a full refund or “a coupon worth 120% of their original order to use on a future order.”

While StubHub would not provide specifics on the number of people furloughed, the entertainment industry site Celebrity Access, citing an internal email seen by a source, reported StubHub, “furloughed as much as 67% of their workforce,” leaving less than 150 out of roughly 450 staffers until “at least June.” Stubhub did not dispute these numbers when contacted by ESPN.

TicketNetwork is another big player in the ticketing resale business, working mostly with brokers but also directly with fans. In an emailed response to ESPN’s specific questions about whether it has furloughed or laid off any employees, a company spokesman said, “As an organization, once we saw how the pandemic would affect our industry, TicketNetwork started making adjustments and cost cutting measures to ensure the stability of our organization. We continue to support our employees, customers and partners with full capabilities.” He continued, “We are doing everything we can to ensure the organization is ready to thrive when these unprecedented times are over.”

Ticketmaster and SeatGeek told ESPN they have not furloughed or laid off any employees.

Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, is now facing a credit downgrade after taking on about $3.3 billion in long-term debt last year, according to S&P Global, a financial credit rating agency. “While the extent and duration of the impact on the live events industry are uncertain, we believe Live Nation Entertainment Inc.’s operating performance could be hurt by the growing number of postponed events, lower-than-expected attendance, or any future cancellations,” S&P Global announced last week.

In an email to ESPN, a SeatGeek spokesman said, “Working in such a dynamic space, our team is used to scaling costs up and down based on demand” but pointed out that, “on the sports side we have seen some of the biggest teams and leagues in the world already make paycuts to avoid layoffs, and on the entertainment side we have seen some major promoters go as far as to layoff or furlough more than 75% of their staff. It’s certainly something every business in the industry has to think about right now.”

SeatGeek said not enough focus has been put on the impact to the live entertainment industry. “Not just the ticket providers but also the small local venues, or the hundreds of thousands of people who work in the concessions stands, or on the tour bus, or in the box office. Without government help, we suspect that many of the smaller venues and entities in the live events space are going to struggle to make it through COVID-19,” the spokesman said.

TicketNetwork agreed. “The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our industry particularly hard. With the mandate to cancel large gatherings of people, forcing live events such as sporting events, theaters, and concerts to be cancelled or postponed, our business has taken a significant hit in revenue generation. We hope Congress recognizes their opportunity to help impacted industries like ours by swiftly approving and implementing the stimulus package currently in front of them that will help our employees through these difficult times,” the spokesman said.

Vivid Seats and the international ticketing giant viagogo did not immediately respond to ESPN’s emails on Wednesaday. Viagogo dominates the resale marketplace outside the United States and just completed its $4.05 billion purchase of Stubhub from Ebay last month.

StubHub had long been the leading player in the online ticket resale business until Vivid Seats began eating away at StubHub’s market share in recent years, according to multiple sources working in the ticket industry. Vivid Seats is an advertiser with ESPN.

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Check out the Tampa house Bucs QB Tom Brady is renting from former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter



The Captain.

The G.O.A.T.

World Series wins? There are five.

Super Bowls? Six.

Two legends, seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, 21,796 square feet.

With quarterback Tom Brady moving to Tampa after signing with the Buccaneers, he needed a place to lay his head. Former New York Yankees shortstop, current Miami Marlins chief executive officer and part owner, and Tampa resident Derek Jeter was there to help.

Like a sports royalty version of MTV Cribs, with gift baskets galore, here’s what happening at 58 Bahama Circle in Tampa.

It’s the largest house in Hillsborough County with 30,000 square feet, seven bathrooms and nine bathrooms. According to the New York Times, it’s the size of an average Best Buy store.

The Davis Islands area of Tampa is man-made, built in the 1920s. Much of the original architecture is Mediterranean, but Jeter’s house clashes. It’s an English manor style home. According to Zillow’s estimate, it’s price is almost $6 million more than the average price in the neighborhood.

Brady and his wife Gisele Bundchen have two children together. There are enough bedrooms for them to have three apiece, leaving one for mom and dad. Though Jeter, who has two children of his own, might have some rules for his renters like no finger-painting or stuff stuck to the refrigerator.

One benefit, for the notoriously private Brady, is the fence. Photographers, nosy neighbors and passing boaters trying to get a glimpse at Jeter, drove him to build the 8-foot fence. However, one Davis Island resident, according to the Tampa Bay Times, challenged it. The city agreed with Jeter, so good luck catch a glimpse of Brady at the grill.

While Jeter, and now Brady, are certainly the most famous, and winningest athletes on the block, hockey might be the dominant sport of Davis Islands. Former Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lacavalier and current Lightning players Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman also live there.

It’s got a boat launch, room for eight cars, a pool, a fireplace and even an elevator. So, what will it cost Brady, who just signed a two-year, $50 million deal with Bucs, be paying? According to Zillow, the rent estimate would be more than $44,000 a month. But, maybe Mr. November will give TB12 a discount.

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Report — Tom Brady rents Derek Jeter’s waterfront mansion



TAMPA, Fla. — The eagle has landed. For fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that would be new quarterback Tom Brady, who will be leasing Derek Jeter’s waterfront mansion on Davis Islands, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The stone home, which belongs to the former New York Yankees star and current Miami Marlins CEO, is next door to former Buccaneers defensive tackle-turned personal injury attorney Brad Culpepper, who, along with wife Monica, were contestants on CBS’ Survivor and whose son Rex is quarterback at Syracuse University.

The 30,000-square-foot home, located right outside downtown Tampa and a short drive to the team facility, sits on three lots on Bahama Circle and features seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms and entertainment and billiards rooms. It has an 8-foot security gate — 2 feet higher than the city permits, but Jeter received an exemption for privacy.

The best part of the home is its spectacular waterfront view, which you can see as soon as you open the front door, even from the street.

“Last night, a friend of ours texted us that they heard that Tom was moving into Jeter’s house, but we just thought it was a rumor,” said Tim Davis, who lives across the street. “Today when I saw the security and the police out, I was like, ‘Oh! Maybe that’s true.'”

Throughout the day, a handful of neighbors and even a few fans trickled in to stop for a quick photo and hoping for a glimpse of the six-time Super Bowl champion, who signed with the Buccaneers two weeks ago after 20 seasons with the New England Patriots.

“Absolutely we are excited to have him here,” said Arto Hirvela, a Bucs fan who gathered to see for himself. “Especially excited having his brain and arm here. He’s a great mind.”

His wife, Irmali Hirvela, could hardly contain her excitement.

“I’m a huge fan of Brady,” she squealed. “I want to see him!”

For days, the neighborhood had been buzzing with rumors as more as more activity picked up at the home, which had been unoccupied for the last six or seven months, neighbors said.

“The house has been empty … not much activity,” Davis said. “And then last week, more and more cars were here, and workers, mostly air-conditioning or movers. I think three or four days ago, a van came and started moving some little items.”

Davis Islands — a man-made island — is considered one of the area’s most exclusive neighborhoods and was built during the area’s land boom in the 1920s.

“This is a great neighborhood. I love it,” Davis said. “This part of Davis Islands — West Davis — is really nice. Everyone is really friendly — the Culpeppers, and everybody else. Everybody is just really friendly. We have block parties. It’s just really nice.”

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Former White Sox All-Star, broadcaster Ed Farmer dies



CHICAGO — Ed Farmer, an All-Star reliever who spent nearly three decades as a radio broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox, has died. He was 70.

The White Sox said he died Wednesday night in Los Angeles following complications from an illness.

A native of Evergreen Park, Illinois, and a graduate of St. Rita High on Chicago’s South Side, Farmer was 30-43 with a 4.30 ERA and 75 saves while pitching for eight teams over 11 seasons. He was an All-Star for the White Sox in 1980, when he saved 30 games — then a club record.

Farmer joined Chicago’s radio booth on a part-time basis in 1991 and completed his 29th season last year.

Farmer became an advocate for organ donation after undergoing a kidney transplant in 1991. He is survived by wife Barbara and daughter Shanda.

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