Groupon Hooks Up With LiveNation and Beard Awards, Faces Backlash

The Chicago-based coupon giant makes two high-profile moves, partnering with music borg Live Nation and sponsoring the Oscars of the food world, as it wades through the coupon-site blowback.

Groupon LiveGroupon recently stepped into a couple new arenas this week—and stepped on some toes. First, they formed the GrouponLive partnership with the entertainment borg LiveNation, parent company of Ticketmaster. Given the former’s enormous growth and the latter’s dominance over the live music industry, fantods are expected. Miles Raymer writes:

Also worth considering is the worrying amount of control that Live Nation—which now owns Ticketmaster—has over the live-music industry. I just don’t trust them and I never will. GrouponLive’s deals might turn out to be great for the musicians involved, but even if they aren’t, touring acts might have to take them anyway in order to use Live Nation’s extensive national network of venues.

Ben Sisario of the NYT’s Media Decoder blog makes what seems like a reasonable guess: Groupon provides reach and social cachet for offering discounts, so it’s a sensible, organized approach to what it’s probably going to have to do anyway during the summer concert season, which is provide discounts like they did in 2010.

The A.V. Club’s Marah Eakin has a similar guess: “This is pure speculation, but this program will likely only really work with larger-scale performances, like arena and amphitheater shows, with tickets that might be selling poorly.” Chicagoist’s Chuck Sudo concurs: “We wonder if it will mainly serve as an outlet for LN to dump tickets to shows that aren’t selling because of their exorbitant ticket prices and the accompanying fees.”

Meanwhile, Groupon stepped up to sponsor the James Beard Foundation awards, the Oscars of the food world. Eater was immediately taken aback, and local restaurant PR star and Crain’s contributor Ellen Malloy put the Beards on blast for letting the enemy into camp:

When I learned that Chicago-based Groupon is presenting sponsor of the James Beard Foundation Awards tonight at the Lincoln Center in New York City, my stomach turned. How can such an admirable foundation, which has come to represent the pinnacle of culinary talent and fine dining in the U.S., get in bed with a company whose very business model is based on undercutting restaurant profits by 50% or more?

It’s just the latest salvo in the Groupon backlash, the subject of today’s RedEye cover story. But Malloy is coming at it from a distinctive angle:

But if there is one thing that Groupon is not, in my opinion, it that it is not good for many small businesses. Especially the small businesses I deal with — high-end, chef-driven restaurants. For these restaurants, Groupon is absolutely not good marketing.

CNN asks if the sites are “dealed out.” But I can’t help but wonder if it has more to do with the audience:

“I delete at least 100-150 emails a day, most from sale sites,” she said. “Too many sales start at noon and I can’t stop in the middle of my day to buy things I don’t need.”

100-150 emails a day? At a certain point, time being money, it’s actually cheaper to pay full price.

Share

comments
3 years ago
Posted by susziep

Groupon is for businesses that want to boost sales and expand their customer base. It's also for the customer who may want to try something out without breaking the bank. Those customers enjoy the experience and they come back. So how is that bad for anyone?
Malloy only needs to unsubscribe and she won't have to wade though all those sales emails and waste her time.
If I get to do something new or different because of Groupon or others,wading through the emails is worth my time

Submit your comment