Access All Areas December 2021 - Page 32

“ With Mathematics we were the first big stadium tour that went on sale after the reopening , so all eyes were on us .”


The promoters began working handin-hand with ticketing partners AXS , Eventim , Gigantic , See Tickets and Ticketmaster back in June to devise a scheme that would work across all the vendor ’ s systems and shut out touts .
“ We found it refreshing that promoters were consulting us because quite often we are just dictated to ,” says AXS UK director of ticketing Paul Newman . “ It ’ s also been refreshing that all the ticket agents have been talking to each other because all our systems are different and we had to find different solutions to some of the things the promoters were looking for .”
See Tickets CEO Rob Wilmshurst says Sheeran ’ s team have been insistent , exacting and demanding and they should be : The artist wants tickets fairly priced and distributed and we are always willing and happy to lock-step and innovate where needed .
He says the new digital-only ticketing procedure requires buyers to download an app , with a PIN being sent closer to the date of the show to allow customers to access their tickets and gain access .
“ We are using text messaging to maintain the link between the device and the tickets on the basis that it is less likely customers will sell a device ,” says Wilmshurst .
“ With Mathematics we were the first big stadium tour that went on sale after the reopening , so all eyes were on us .”
Ealam says that with the pandemic having accelerated the industry-wide move to digital ticketing , Sheeran ’ s team “ needed to be on top of that as early as possible .”
As another layer of protection , Reg Walker ’ s team at The Iridium Consultancy is closely examining ticket sales ledgers and any tickets found to be in breach of the terms and conditions are cancelled .
“ This is about being as disruptive to the touts and as fair to fans as possible . I think we have achieved that ,” says Newman .
Shape of view Once safely inside the venues , without having been ripped off , Sheeran ’ s fans can expect to see what his team promise will be a “ spectacular ” production . Ollier and the promoters are remaining tightlipped about the finer details of what it will involve but said the show will be presented in the round .
The production is being managed by Chris Marsh at Major Tom , while overseeing the design is production and lighting designer Mark Cunniffe – who has been working with the Ed Sheeran team and Marsh since 2010 .
“ We went down to Mark ’ s studio , in Dorset , and put on a VR headset and watched the show – it was absolutely mind blowing ,” says Ealam . “ I ’ ve not seen anything like it before , it ’ s definitely next level production . The great thing was that we could watch the show from any seat – it has been designed in such a way that literally there was not a seat in the stadium without an incredible view .”
Additional support Responsible for site management at five of the UK stadiums on the tour will be Cardiff-based SC Productions , which will
- Daniel Ealam
work to the promoter ’ s rider to ensure all requirements are taken care .
SC director Sarah Hemsley-Cole says , “ We book all the local infrastructure , so the plant , cranes , cherry pickers , the furniture , extra catering resources , flooring – all of the component parts so that when the tour arrives at the venue everything they could wish for is prepped and good to go .”
Despite there being a shortage of crew , security personnel , and equipment across the industry , Hemsley-Cole is confident it won ’ t impact the tour : “ Next summer is not going to be easy , there is a finite amount of equipment and staff available but we are well ahead of the game – we have got in early to get things organised .”
Calculated risk Despite shifting levels of concern over new Covid-19 variants such as Omicron , and the Government ’ s Live Events Reinsurance Scheme widely considered unsuitable for huge outdoor live show projects such as the Mathematics Tour , Ed Sheeran ’ s team remain resolutely optimistic the tour will go ahead as planned .
“ I believe that by the time we get to next summer any reticence or customer nervousness will have disappeared and we ’ ll see 90 % -plus attendance at all shows ,” says Galbraith .
Ollier says that while the tour is a very positive thing for the industry , it is uninsured : “ There ’ s an element of risk attached but then promoting shows has always been a financial gamble .
“ The tour is an incredibly high-profile thing that suggests , perhaps , that recovery is happening , and things are moving forward . We hope that it is going to be a really positive part of building back the business we love .”