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33 comments

Comment from: BradyBunch [Visitor] Email
I stopped reading this blog after the first sentence since it is factually incorrect. Reselling tickets at any price on an interstate basis and in the vast majority of states is perfectly legal. In fact four additional states have deregulated ticket reselling the last two years - Illinois, S Caroliina, Louisiana, and Florida. Look it up.
01/29/07 @ 19:37
Comment from: Tom B. [Visitor]
what an idiot.
01/29/07 @ 21:36
Comment from: SeatSmart.com [Visitor] Email
We would like to provide a clarification. Selling tickets over face value is not illegal in many parts of America as your article claims. In fact, law-makers in many states, including New York, Illinois, Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana, have actually rolled back anti-resale laws. They did this because they realized that opening the market increased competition meaning lower prices for consumers in the end. They also found that making resale legal was a good way to bring the market above ground where it could be more easily monitored and regulated.

Stubhub has helped revolutionize the industry because they have safeguards in place that prevent buyers and sellers from ripping each other off. Many other above-ground on-line resale companies hold themselves to the same high standards as Stubhub has in place. That means consumers get better prices and safer transactions than they did seven years ago.

It is easy to target secondary ticketing market sites because the tickets go over face value. However, on-line sites of today offer a better and safer alternative than what has existed in the past and clears the way for an overall more transparent experience for the consumer. The future of the secondary market appears to favor the consumer which is why we support the continued roll-back of anti-resale restrictions.
01/30/07 @ 00:22
Comment from: Billy [Visitor]
Stick to golf because you flunked law. Apparently also business. Doesn't it strike you as ironic that your blog makes money from running Google ads for Stub Hub and other resellers?
01/30/07 @ 00:29
Comment from: Brandon Tucker [Visitor] Email
SeatSmart:

I appreciate your feedback. I would agree that online sites make it easier to find tickets. I don't share your sentiment on value, however. $10 tickets are going for double and triple the cost for games that might not even sell out if it weren't for mass brokerage buying. In the end, the market dictates the price of course, but I think this ultimately takes away some power from the average sports fan who isn't savvy enough to find a way to make a few bucks off tickets. Professional games have become priced out of many family's budgets and in my opinion from what I've seen shopping on the site, StubHub doesn't help. It's much like file-sharing on the internet in a way. It can provide an alternative to the market in a positive way, but is ultimately abused by many users.

Billy, I don't find it ironic at all that StubHub advertises with us through Google, because any company that agrees to advertise with an editorial publication that has columnists and bloggers should know anything is fair game. Those ads next to my blog are also generated via keywords much like if you have a free email account that scans your emails that are open and gives you ads based on the topic of the email.
01/30/07 @ 09:41
Comment from: John [Visitor]
1.) BradyBunch: First of all, who came up with your name? Are you using your girlfriend's account again? Second, Brandon's statement IS factually correct. While yours is not INCORRECT, he is correct in saying that many (not all; he didn't even say "most") states have laws against re-selling tickets for over face value.
2.) SeatSmart: Nice cut-and-paste. I'd like to hear your (not your company's) reasoning as to why driving ticket prices up "favors the consumer".
3.) Billy: Brandon's not a lawyer, nor did he earn a degree in business, I'd guess. He's a journalist. Last time I checked, business and law classes weren't required for a journalism degree. Shouldn't you be doing something more productive with your JD/MBA than trolling blogs to defend companies that exploit consumers? Brandon's company is making money off of the advertisements, not his blog. Sure, his company pays his salary, but his salary doesn't increase or decrease as a direct result of the number of hits that StubHub gets from worldgolf
01/30/07 @ 10:16
Comment from: Jason [Visitor] Email
I find it very hard to believe events are selling out because of "mass brokerage buying". A little further research would serve you as most of these people are licensed by their state to sell tickets at whatever price they choose.
01/30/07 @ 14:23
Comment from: NONYABIZNES [Visitor] Email
You shouldn't waste your time writing about stubhub. They were just bought out by Ebay so if you think your about to shut a company like ebay down you are so very wrong. Please Brandon stick to golf.
01/30/07 @ 15:16
Comment from: Brandon Tucker [Visitor] Email
Nonyabzines,

Thanks for the info about Stubhub and eBay. Do you always comment on blogs before reading past the 3rd sentence?

John,

As far as my blog and StubHub advertisements go, I believe what's up there is Google Adsense, which pays by the click, or something. Not 100% sure.
01/30/07 @ 15:40
Comment from: Willy [Visitor] Email
As far as what is legal, who gives a shit. There are different levels of law, different levels of morality, all which are debatable. Fans just want to go see their team in a great atmosphere and not get ripped off. If the internet sites are making it harder to do that then somebody should speak out about it.
01/30/07 @ 17:00
Comment from: not important [Visitor] Email
My question to you Brandon is if you disagree with the way StubHub or other online ticket brokers operate, why won't you and the other people who dislike the mark up on prices just buy your tickets directly from the venue and pay face value? Who held a gun to anyone's head and said "you MUST buy tickets from StubHub?" I understand that shows sell out due to people buying 20 tickets at a time but they are smart for getting them as soon as they go on sell. You have that option too. I just wonder why people complain when THEY make the choice to buy the tickets. Also, not ALL of the tickets listed on StubHub are marked up. Some people just want to get rid of their tickets so they list them at face value. Of course they won't be there long because people will buy them quicker due to the lower price, but listings like this do exist. I definately see your point and I don't necessarily agree with mark ups but that is why I simply would not buy tickets for site like that. There are people who love StubHub so why not let them use the site. Otherwise, you are helping StubHub by giving them your money. Right??
01/30/07 @ 17:42
Comment from: Shanks [Visitor] Email
Rub-n-tugs are illegal ... really?
01/31/07 @ 08:54
Comment from: NONYABIZNES [Visitor] Email
My question to you Brandon. Why waste your energy typing a blog like this when you en you know damn well nothing will be done about it?
01/31/07 @ 10:03
Comment from: Brandon Tucker [Visitor] Email
Not Important,

My Answer is that it's increasingly difficult to buy from TicketMaster and the venues itself at the last minute because other brokerage firms buy up masses of tickets. Try buying tickets to a decent NBA or MLB game that week and it's slim pickin's. Sure, I could have the foresight to buy the tickets in August, but what if I just found out I'm going to be in a certain town next week where the Pistons are playing? Then I'm screwed. My best bet is to buy from a scalper after tip-off on the street. - which is also illegal in a lot of states.

Ticketmaster, pretty much a monopoly in its own right, is becoming a middleman as a result of these brokerages. If I had to take a guess, for every person that is selling their tickets just to get rid of them, there's about 20 tickets for double the face value coming from brokerages. I'd love to find an actual statistic on this. I'll look around. These sites are a great theory in concept, but horribly abused. Fans lose more than they win.

01/31/07 @ 10:07
Comment from: Brandon Tucker [Visitor] Email
Nonyabiznes,

Good point. I'll concede that I'm wasting my time. If a company is big enough, we really shouldn't question them or call them out about anything because they obviously have the resources to trump a tiny little blog like mine. From now on, I'll stick to rewriting press releases from Nike, Apple Acushnet, etc.
01/31/07 @ 10:28
Comment from: Bernice [Visitor]
Brandon,
You look hot. I bet you're even hotter in person. Can we meet up sometime?
-Bernice
01/31/07 @ 10:33
Comment from: SayWhat? [Visitor]
All the bile in these comments! Where is the logic, people? I am trying to reconcile your conclusion that fans lose more than they win against the obvious mega-growth of StubHub, eBay, etc. StubHub was the eighth fastest growing business in the INC500. All those loser fans must really be masochists at the rate they are buying and selling. I don't personally subscribe to the stupid customer theory. Also since when can you ever buy 20 tickets to anything from Ticketmaster? They have the worst web site in the world for regular fans since their obvious goal is to stop speculators from buying lots of tickets. Ticket limits, type in the squiggly words, time limits. With the internet and their huge phone centers hot games sell out in minutes anyway. Why are you making brokers the boogeyman, as you note without any data to back it up? ps. I am disappointed the BradyBunch name was already taken.
02/01/07 @ 02:03
Comment from: Mike Kline [Visitor] Email
There are several myths purported in this article.

MYTH #1) It assumes that the brokers are responsible for buying up most of the tickets.

Reality: If you look at ANY listing on stubhub.com, ticketsnow.com or any of the popular broker sites you will find that they hold only about 5-10% of the total tickets sold for the event, meaning that 90->95% of the tickets are going to the fans. (Keep in mind when you see multiple listings on multiple sites, that are using a shared inventory system, so all tickets are listed on one site are the same ones you see on another. Ticket brokers don't stop the average fan from getting a seat... but cater to the less obsessive fan who decides at a time later than the onsale time to buy their tickets.

MYTH #2: Attending events is a right that needs to be protected.

Reality: Events, Tickets, much like a playstation 3 is a LUXURY and not a necessity of life or even a need. In our society, luxuries are set by the fair market. Playstations sold for $2000 and up for people who wanted them by Christmas, but you didn't hear anyone complaining that gamers needed to be protected. Stubhub.com (for example) actually offers protection to the fans, guaranteeing the tickets and offering significant compensation if something goes wrong with the tickets (they will give gift certificates for nearly double the price paid if the tickets turn out to be fake and immediate replacements can't be found). THAT is protecting a consumer.

MYTH #3: Ticket brokering hurts the average fan.

Reality: Ticket brokering HELPS the average fan. The average fan now has access to tickets they wouldn't normally have. Obsessive fans still have plenty of opportunities to purchase either season tickets, mini-seasons or any vareity of ticket options made available to them. The average fan is someone who doesn't necessarily plan, and would probably be facing the inability to attend these events, but for their availability, which, as discussed above is now in a protected and safe environment, instead of cash being exchanged in a back alley.

Along this same line, ticket brokering actually helps keep average prices DOWN. Why? Because the tickets are SOLD, where, but for someone willing to take a risk on a team or event, they might not be. The team/venue would need to find a way to make this money and would be forced to raise ticket prices for everyone on a more consistent basis. The teams, venues and even the ticket companies, count on some speculation. Many teams even call their season tickets "investments"

Ticket brokering also provides many benefits to the venues, the local community and results in increased income tax revenue to both the federal government and the state.

MYTH #4: Ticket scalping is ILLEGAL.

Reality: Not exactly. Some states have anti-scalping laws, but they only refer to transactions taking place within the state. For example, if you live in New York and want to buy tickets for a New York event, if you drive into New Jersey, it is 100% legal to pay any price for tickets to a New York event. California, for example, only restricts ticket resales within a certain distance of the event location. So if someone from New York, wants to buy tickets to an event in Connecticut from someone in California, there is absolutely nothing illegal about that transaction.

The reason for many of these anti-scalping laws wasn't to "protect fans" per se, but instead to stop collusion. By restricting sales within a state, it becomes less profitable for someone working at a venue in New York to grab up tickets before they go on sale to the public and try to sell them out the back door. This does protect the fans, but more from the illegal collusion, than from "ticket brokers", since that same person can cross state lines and purchase them at any price.


MYTH #5: Ticket brokering is SHADY. (It's just one of many shady-yet-legal ways to make a few bucks on the internet. )

Reality: Since when is buying a product and then attempting to resell it for more money... shady?? Is this not the entire basis of a free market economy? Ticket brokering may have been shady at one time, since it was a back alley cash deal, but the internet has brought extreme transparency to it. Prices are now much lower, as local brokers are forced to compete with national brokers. Ticket limits ensure that no one broker buys up huge blocks of tickets. People, if they use a little common sense, aren't scammed by fraudulent tickets or falsely advertised ones.


Finally, if you haven't already figured out, the answer to your Buick Open question is that the transaction is perfectly legal, so long as the buyer and seller do not reside in Michigan.

Brandon, I hope in the future when you address an issue such as this, you do a little more research into what is really going on before making assumptions that turn out not to be true.

Mike
02/01/07 @ 22:01
Comment from: Brandon Tucker [Visitor] Email
Whatever lets you sleep at night Mike...

The main point is people out there are buying tickets with zero intention of going to a game, simply to resell. The more people you put between the fan and original ticket price, the more fluctuation it will see. Sure, a fan might benefit if someone scoops a bunch of tickets to a crap event, but any event worth while is inflated.

Even though in my article I state that the laws are "vague", I should also say that just because something, anything, has been made a law, it doesn't necessarily mean it serves the public in the best way. Laws are made for different reasons and with different interests.

In closing, let me also point out that I do mention positives in my article about these sites. But like with many capitalistic endeavors, many people get screwed too.

As far as the Buick Open, yes I did receive a response. Here it is:

Thank you for contacting StubHub.

We request that sellers list tickets in accordance with all applicable local, state, federal, and international laws, statutes, and regulations. However, because laws differ from place to place, we cannot offer information or legal advice regarding how the law applies to you. Please check your local laws regarding the legalities of selling and pricing tickets before listing tickets on StubHub. You can find information on these laws through your Attorney General's office.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions or check out our Seller Learning Center if you'd like to learn more about selling tickets at StubHub.

Have a wonderful day Brandon.


This answer is exactly what they told me over the phone. Do you see what is ridiculous though? If I live in Michigan, I can't sell a ticket to my neighbor. But if I sell it to someone in Toledo, it's legal. Huh? Why? Let's try not to use legal terminology for this one. Instead, common sense.




02/02/07 @ 01:23
Comment from: Mike Kline [Visitor] Email
"The main point is people out there are buying tickets with zero intention of going to a game, simply to resell. The more people you put between the fan and original ticket price, the more fluctuation it will see. Sure, a fan might benefit if someone scoops a bunch of tickets to a crap event, but any event worth while is inflated. "

People buy hundreds of thousands of things every day with no intention of using them, but simply to resell. What makes tickets special? Why does a sporting event or concert deserve special protections beyond all the other LUXURY items?

"But like with many capitalistic endeavors, many people get screwed too. "

Who is getting 'screwed'? You don't HAVE TO go to a sporting event, it is a choice. There are many options available for people who don't wish to pay over face, such as season tickets, mini-plans, etc. When you can prove to me that someone LITERALLY died because they didn't get to sit at the 50 yard line at a bears game, you may have a point, but until that day, attending events isn't a necessity of life. In fact, someone did LITERALLY die because they drank 2 gallons of water in an attempt to get their hands on a Nintendo WII, yet there isn't an outcry to try and regulate the video game industry.

The only way people get "screwed" is when they are FORCED to partake in the activity. One could say the gas companies are SCREWING consumers because gas is considered a necessity of our society. Drug companies are accused of screwing consumers because they charge high prices for life saving drugs. In these areas we can have a debate about who is getting screwed, but event tickets? You've got to be kidding me.

"This answer is exactly what they told me over the phone. Do you see what is ridiculous though? If I live in Michigan, I can't sell a ticket to my neighbor. But if I sell it to someone in Toledo, it's legal. Huh? Why? Let's try not to use legal terminology for this one. Instead, common sense. "

Okay, I will make this very simple for you. There are two types of laws... federal laws and state laws. Federal laws apply to the whole country. State laws only apply to the state in which they are enacted.

If two states have different speed limits (say California is 65 and Arizona is 75). You cannot get a ticket from California for driving 72 in Arizona. Simple, right? A state cannot make a law that reaches across its borders.

Anti-scalping laws are STATE LAWS. There are no FEDERAL anti-scalping laws. They are state laws, because, as I mentioned earlier, they were enacted to prevent collusion, not to protect consumers from the high cost of events. Since there is no FEDERAL anti-scalping laws, once you leave the jurisdiction, you are free to charge whatever you want for the property you lawfully purchashed, just like any 99% of the products in America.

This is why state anti-scalping laws should be ABOLISHED, since they serve no real purpose in the modern world. There are many ways for States to draw more benefits from the resale market, not limited to taxes, licenses, while enacting real protections for consumers such as fraud reporting, etc.

The facts are actually quite simple. The vast VAST majority of tickets go to the fans. The small % (5-->10) that the brokers wind up buying help in numerous ways, keeping average ticket costs down, giving access were none was before, etc.

A couple of examples to illustrate.

The Lakers take on the hottest team in the NBA, Dallas on Sunday March 11th. A total of 658 Tickets available... That is a whopping 3.2% of the tickets

Or later in the season, they take on Phoenix. A total of 938 Tickets for sale... A monsterous 4.6% of the total tickets. Those brokers really bought out the venue, didn't they?

The MOST tickets I could find available in my quick search was for the Sacramento game A total of 1410 tickets available, or 7% of the total tickets sold.

You need to be honest with your readers and yourself. The reason people can't get tickets as easily as they used to has very little to do with the less than 10% of tickets that brokers buy, but instead the speed at which transactions can be processed and that you simple can't fit 100,000 people into a 20,000 person arena.

In the end, this isn't a matter of whether I personally sleep well at night or not, but instead the facts vs the myths, such as you presented them.
02/02/07 @ 12:43
Comment from: TicketTiger [Visitor]
You all are totally missing the point. All the good tickets are gone before Ticketmaster ever gets a chance to sell them. Season ticketholders and business partner/sponsors get all the good tickets first in sports. Ticketmaster just sells the remnant inventory. They are the outlet mall of the ticketing world. How many tickets do you think Buick got for their multimillion dollar sponsorship that went to their executives and their dealers and suppliers and big customers? Where do you think the money comes from to fund Tiger's appearance fees? Look at all the signs around the course, in football stadiums and baseball parks, and in concert arenas. Don't you think those advertisers and sponsors get great tickets in return? The TV networks and media get some for sure. What, you never got a presale notice from AmEx, or an artist's fan club or team web site sign up list, or signed up for a radio contest? Read my lips, all the good tickets are already gone. This is exactly why the aftermarket is the regular fan's best friend. How else do I have a shot at the good tickets for most events, or any tickets at all to some? I am not a broker apologist - to me they exist somewhere near car salesman in the big karma chain in the sky. You all's righteous indignation is just plain uninformed and doesn't recognize the ticket industry's sleight of hand.
02/02/07 @ 16:26
Comment from: SeatSmart.com [Visitor] Email
RE: Your response, you are falling into the trap of finding expensive tickets and raving about them rather than looking for opportunities.

Do you like the Pistons? When I checked our ticket price comparison search engine just now, a family of six could have purchased tickets for $14.30 each against the LAKERS! This is a hot game as the Lakers are always a big road draw. See for yourself: http://www.seatsmart.com/apps/WebObjects/SeatSmart.woa/wa/league?id=4


How about the Red Wings? They have a rivalry game against the Blackhawks in about two weeks. You could have paid Ticketmaster $49.75 for the worst seats in the upper deck, or you can get them from a “scalper” for $40.70. This is good for fans.
http://www.seatsmart.com/apps/WebObjects/SeatSmart.woa/wa/league?id=3

Tigers? This will be a great year to be at Comerica Park to celebrate the success of last year and make another run at it this year. There are plenty of tickets on the secondary market for opening weekend for $10 and under. But don’t try getting that from the Tigers themselves – their cheapest seats are $10 plus Ticketmaster fees of somewhere between $2 and $5 each. (not announced yet.) This too is good for consumers.

It is easy to focus on a ridiculously over-priced ticket and rave about it, but the reality is, having a lot of sellers helps consumers. Stubhub and sites like it have given fans access to great tickets and have helped lower the prices overall of tickets on the secondary market.

And hot games are not necessarily excluded. A LOT of people got into Yankee-Red Sox games last season for way BELOW face value. This is arguably the most heated rivalry in American sports history and people were safely getting in for half of the normal cost. Before Stubhub and the dozens of other sites that guarantee your tickets, I never would have bought tickets for half cost because that was always a sure sign you were about to get ripped off. But now, it’s not!

If we, as fans, tell ourselves, we are not savvy enough to get good prices on good tickets, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. At SeatSmart, we try to empower consumers to understand their options and use their live entertainment budget wisely. One way to do that is for bloggers to help their readers find positive ways to use the secondary market. We hope you will get on board and we are happy to help if there is anything we can do.
02/06/07 @ 11:57
Comment from: SeatSmart.com [Visitor] Email
John: I am sorry, you may have misunderstood. I don't think we said that driving ticket prices up favors the consumer as clearly it doesn't. What we will say is that having more sellers drives prices down - that favors consumers.

This is not merely the opinion of me or our company...it is a fact that is supported by economic theory and data that we have seen in tracking the industry over the past five years.
02/06/07 @ 12:06
Comment from: Iceberg Slim [Visitor] Email
StubHub drives prices down and guarantees the tickets. Does the guy on the corner do that?
02/07/07 @ 16:34
Comment from: Econ101Lives [Visitor]
Those few places left with anti-scalping laws are engaging in price control policy. Why are there so few left? Just Google "price controls" to see scores and scores of examples from China to Russia to gas prices in the 70's to see what happens when bureaucrats and well meaning consumer advocates attempt to ignore the econ law as predictable as gravity - supply and demand. Clearly lots of people want to get into sold out events or to get better seats than are left over. Laws don't change that. There is demand and people are willing to pay. However, price controls translate to less supply as fewer people who have the tickets are motivated or willing to sell. That lower supply means higher prices as the buyers must bid more to get the too few tickets available. That's bad for customers. It's not rocket science. In five years these laws will all be gone.
02/09/07 @ 03:17
Comment from: Gopherboy [Visitor]
And yet another state weighs in on how the benefits of an open market for tickets far outweigh the downside... This has been a spirited debate, but in the real world it's a landslide! "Senate passes bill to make scalping legal Two legislators in favor of lifting Minnesota's 44-year-old ban say the ticket resale market shouldn't be singled out. By Conrad Defiebre, Star Tribune Last update: February 19, 2007 – 10:52 PM Ticket scalping has been a crime in Minnesota since 1963, but a bill to legalize it sailed through the state Senate on Monday. The burgeoning cybermarket in sports and entertainment admissions has already eclipsed most scalping laws, said Sen. Chris Gerlach, R-Apple Valley. Gerlach said his bill, which passed without debate on a 48-15 vote, simply acknowledges "a legitimate secondary market. We don't regulate secondary markets for baseball cards or art or mortgages, but we push ticket resales into a black market." "
02/20/07 @ 13:31
Comment from: nikki [Visitor] Email
First, I went online to ticketmaster today to get Police tickets right when they
went onsale and they only had 50.00 tickets left. So, yes, now if I want to
see them I'm going to have to pay a lot of money to see them. Does this suck.
Hell yeah it does. I can't prove where all the tickets went (to just general
consumers or to brokers or re-sellers). But, it still sucks. How is charging
someone 3500 bucks for a seat that was 225 to begin with fair or benefiting
the general public? It's not. It benefits that person who finds someone stupid
enough to buy the ticket. But bottom line is I can't afford a field seat. If
people weren't allowed to jack up the prices I could. So, please someone
tell me again how paying more for a ticket is benefiting me because I don't see it.
02/25/07 @ 17:33
Comment from: Roxanne! [Visitor]
I don't get it. You were lucky there were $50 tickets left but you didn't buy them? Why are you whining?
02/26/07 @ 02:19
Comment from: Leaf [Visitor] Email
Nikki, why did you wait until Sunday? There were plenty of good tickets available at face value during the presales. Sounds like you really want to blame stubhub and resellers, but if you just pay attention to your favorite bands, it's not rocket science.
02/26/07 @ 14:55
RE: Leaf - Agreed, Presale Passwords are a BIG key to getting decent tickets without paying through the nose. I run a blog that always has presale passwords (for FREE) comon over and get em any time: http://ticketmaster-presale.blogspot.com/
08/25/07 @ 22:58
Comment from: wayne [Visitor] Email
I know this is last years news, but this is the first i've heard of it, and wow... that's not good...
01/10/08 @ 21:14
This has to be one of the stupidest articles I've ever read. Just searching around doing some research into black market event tickets, can't believe the guy is saying long as you can act discretely, you can act illegally. Idiot.
11/17/09 @ 04:25
Comment from: Legal ticket ripoffs [Visitor]
I know this article hasn't been replied to since 2009, but let's jump to now in 2013. The arguments he has made regarding stubhub affecting fans getting tickets to a game w/o getting totally ripped off is quite verified.

I am trying to get NFL tickets to watch the Lions play. The season hasn't even started, yet all the tickets are sold out. Check stubhub, anywhere between 10%-20% of the maximum capacity of the stadium is listed on the site with prices ranging from 2x as much to 20x as much. As mentioned, this includes tickets I was looking at trying to get over 3 months in advance. This is the same for every other game in the season. Most scalpers are season ticket holders and get first crack at getting season tickets the next year before the consumer does. See how it now becomes VERY hard to get a ticket by normal means?
08/28/13 @ 10:18

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