Ticket scalpers target of blockchain firm backed by soccer boss

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A London stock market minnow is teaming up with a heavyweight soccer executive to use blockchain to tackle ticket scalpers.

TechFinancials Inc. has signed binding terms for the new venture with Footies Tech Ltd. -- founded by Ian Ayre, former chief executive of Premier League team Liverpool Football Club -- according to a statement Thursday.

The new company will help sports organizations “take full control” over ticketing, including secondary market trading configuration and enforcement, Cyprus-based TechFinancials said. It first announced a potential deal in October.

TechFinancials will invest up to $500,000 for a 75 percent stake in the venture, with Ayre’s Footies holding the remaining 25 percent.

The global soccer ticketing market is worth about $35 billion a year, according to TechFinancials. “Notably, these figures are only the official estimates and do not account for lost revenue on the secondary ticket market,” the company said.

Better transparency and security in the sector will benefit both venues and customers, 55-year-old Ayre said in the statement. Ayre is also CEO of a new major league soccer franchise in Nashville, Tennessee.

“For years, both of these parties have suffered at the hands of ticket touting, and we aim to solve this by making it a more secure and stable market,” he added.

Last year the U.K. competition regulator took enforcement action against a number of secondary ticketing websites suspected of breaking consumer protection laws. Three major sites later formally committed to improving information about tickets being resold.

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