StubHub is leaving Utah — and taking hundreds of jobs

A “select few” employees of the online ticket broker will relocate to a new out-of-state office. Most will lose their jobs.

The online ticket broker StubHub is packing up its customer service center in Draper, and laying off most of its employees, according to emails obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune.

The center — which the ticket resale site opened in Draper with great fanfare in 2017, promising some 400 jobs that would help “connect people to life-inspiring experiences” — will be “relocating” to Atlanta, the emails said. A “select few” employees will relocate to Georgia; others will stay on “for an extended period to support the transition.” Most will lose their jobs Oct. 1.

A StubHub spokesperson confirmed the move Wednesday in an email to The Tribune, but declined to say how many people would relocate or help with the transition after Oct. 1.

The company also would not say how many people work in the Draper center. Roughly 300 people claim to work for StubHub in Utah on LinkedIn. Several Utah employees have taken to the professional social media platform to find new work.

StubHub has two active job listings in Atlanta, both for recruiters.

“While we’re excited by the opportunities presented by this strategic business decision, delivering this news to the Draper team members was challenging, to whom many of us will be saying goodbye,” StubHub President Nayaab Islam wrote in an email sent to employees June 27.

Time zones are one factor in the decision to move, according to the emails. (The Tribune obtained three separate emails sent to employees on June 27: one from Islam, one from the company’s human resources department and one from Felix Descamps, vice president of operations.) Being on Eastern time will make communication easier, both internally and with customers, emails claimed. (StubHub has major offices in New York, Los Angeles, Switzerland and Ireland.)

StubHub’s office lease expires at the end of the month, according to the emails. Employees transitioned to remote work on Monday.

The company has not filed a WARN notice, which requires companies with more than 100 employees to give 60 days notice of closures or mass layoffs. It would have to file with the Utah Department of Workforce Services by Aug. 1. The company confirmed it will file with the state and “will be fully compliant.”

The emailed notifications were a far cry from StubHub’s arrival in Draper in 2017. The opening events for what the company introduced as its “Center of Excellence” included motivational speeches, a food truck and a DJ.

Earlier this month, a former Utah employee sued StubHub for civil rights violations. The plaintiff, a Black woman, claims her supervisor humiliated her on a day she was trying to shadow for a higher position. Then, she claims, StubHub unfairly fired her in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for asking to extend her work-from-home accommodations “while undergoing treatment for a serious medical condition.”

StubHub has not yet filed a response in that case.

The ticket marketplace also has been accused several times of deceptive or fraudulent practices. A class action suit filed in 2020 claimed StubHub backpedaled on its promise to refund customers for events that were canceled due to the pandemic. StubHub has asked the court to issue a judgment in its favor, arguing some of the plaintiffs have since received refunds and that it honored the company’s “FanProtect Guarantee” as written. A summary judgment hearing is scheduled for Aug. 15.

StubHub also was sued in January in California for misrepresenting the price of tickets and fees. Plaintiffs in the class action suit claim that the website intentionally withholds the cost of fees — and therefore the total cost — until the final checkout screen in order to deceive customers. StubHub has filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim or provide evidence.

Shannon Sollitt is a Report for America corps member covering business accountability and sustainability for The Salt Lake Tribune. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by clicking here.