LOS ANGELES -- AEG, the sports and entertainment giant that is up for sale, is making it easier to book concert and sports tickets for friends without having to pay for them all at once.
The owner of Staples Center and the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings is rolling out the feature, called AXS Invite, at some of its owned and operated venues starting this month.
The service allows ticket buyers to pay for their own seats and then reserve several adjacent ones online.
The purchaser then invites friends through Facebook or email, and the friends have 48 hours to accept or decline the invitation. They in turn register on the site and pay for the tickets themselves. Unsold tickets will go back up for sale.
"For us and for the artist and the venue, it's really about finding a way to sell more tickets," said Tom Andrus, general manager of AXS.com. "For the customer it's a way of making it more convenient."
AXS Invite won't be available immediately when tickets are first put on sale, which means it probably won't be useful for quickly sold-out shows. Andrus said the feature could be available within hours or the next day, but certainly within 48 hours of a given sale time.
AEG is rolling out the service for a number of upcoming shows, including a run of "Cirque du Soleil: Dralion" at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif., from Oct. 24-28.
AEG launched its ticketing arm, AXS, about a year ago and has so far changed 18 of its approximately 100 owned and operated venues over to AXS from ticketing competitor Ticketmaster.
It plans to roll AXS out at most of its major venues including Los Angeles' Staples Center by the first half of next year.
AEG won the right to use Ticketmaster's platform as a condition for getting government clearance of the combination of Ticketmaster and Live Nation Entertainment Inc. in 2010. But it still has to pay fees to use it. Changing venues to its own AXS platform saves on these fees, and also gives AEG a closer relationship with its customers.
Last month, Denver-based Anschutz Co. said it was putting AEG up for sale even as it moved ahead with plans to build a stadium in Los Angeles in the hopes of attracting a National Football League team.