Watercooler: The (Near) Future Of Events and Entertainment

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With news about the development and impending rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna, there’s a possibility for live events to commence once again in the potential near(ish) future. A major positive for those supporting festivals and concerts, trade shows, conferences, competitions, galas and Broadway shows—and for promotional products distributors serving clients in this space—Ticketmaster, a Beverly Hills-based ticket sales and distribution company, is busy planning a list of precautions to ensure that event attendees are safe. And one of these precautions calls for prospective attendees purchasing tickets from their site to disclose their COVID-19 status.

The precaution may be invasive but necessary. Ticketmaster, which operates together with Live Nation under Live Nation Entertainment, is the country’s largest ticket distributor, selling for most sporting events in the U.S., as well as all Live Nation venues. According to Live Nation Entertainment, Ticketmaster sold 98 million tickets worldwide in 2019, and the company is now focusing on preventing its live events from becoming coronavirus super-spreaders. Though the framework is still under development, Ticketmaster is proposing a system that would call for event attendees to verify whether they have been vaccinated for COVID-19 after purchasing a ticket—which, according to Billboard, is effective in protecting against the virus for one year—or tested negative for COVID-19 between 24 and 72 hours of the scheduled event. The company will also eliminate paper tickets to stop ticketholders from selling their tickets to people who have not been tested, tested positive or did not receive the vaccination.

If the tickeholder needs to take a COVID-19 test to ensure of their status, they can do so and subsequently ask their lab to deliver the results of the test to their health pass company, like IBM or CLEAR, to provide updates to Ticketmaster. If the test is negative or if the ticketholder was vaccinated, the health pass company would share their COVID-19 status with Ticketmaster, which would then send the person information pertaining to the event. If the ticketholder was not tested, tested positive or did not receive the vaccine, they would not be permitted to attend the event. Ticketmaster would not have access to attendees’ personal medical information and would only receive an alert if the the individual was vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19.

This effort on behalf of Ticketmaster reflects a move to return to “normalcy” following the onslaught of the pandemic. With the second wave of COVID-19 impacting countries worldwide at press time, it would be near impossible to host large-scale events with hundreds to thousands of participants, without taking extreme measures. Asking participants to disclose their COVID-19 status prior to event attendance may not entirely rid the possibility of contracting the virus but presents a much safer means for audiences to attend sought-after events, including those that have been postponed due to the coronavirus. Ticketmaster’s example could serve as a foundation by which to consider for the future planning of all events in the aftermath of the 2020 worldwide pandemic.  

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Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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