How Ticket Brokers are Scalping the “Cheap Seats”

It’s not exactly a secret that scalpers…excuse me, (ahem)…“ticket brokers” exist. But they’re not all lovable oafs like Mike Damone in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. In fact, now that technology has taken over the industry they’re more likely to be lovable “apps” than “oafs”.

Well, except for the “lovable” part.

And there are a whole host of websites out there to choose from. The two biggest are Stub Hub and TicketsNow (which is run by TicketMaster). These sites allow ticket holders (sometimes they’re brokers, sometimes it’s just a dude who had a change in plans) to sell their tickets directly to another consumer…with the site taking a cut of the proceeds, of course.

And please remember that we’re merely acknowledging their existence. We are in no way endorsing or encouraging you to utilize those sites. (That’s why we didn’t link to them.)

Most scalpers specialize in selling tickets to sold-out events or top-tier seating at a premium. But did you know that now people are scalping “cheap seats”? As crazy as it sounds this happens quite frequently. Here’s how.

These sites rely on someone using a search engine to find tickets instead of going to directly a venue’s official ticketing website. (For most local venues that would either be MetroTix.com or TicketMaster.com.) Instead people simply Google a phrase such as “Steve Miller Band Tickets St. Louis” or “Steve Miller Band Tickets Family Arena”.

To illustrate our point here’s what happens when you Google “Steve Miller Band Tickets Family Arena”.

Steve Miller Broker Cap 1
As you can see you the top three results are offering to sell you Steve Miller tickets. However none of them are the official online ticketing company for The Family Arena. So why do they get displayed so prominently? Because they are actually advertisements. They have paid Google (or Bing or Yahoo or, for our older readers, AskJeeves) for prominent placement. Therefore they get displayed above what are referred to as “organic search results”. It isn’t until the fourth result (and the first result which isn’t paid for) that anything “official” appears – the Steve Miller event page from FamilyArena.com.

So what happens when you click through? Let’s find out, shall we?

Steve Miller Broker Cap 2
They have two tickets available in Section 121 Row R. Cool.

For $223? Ummm…cool?

Each. Hold on a there just a second.

Plus a service charge of $54.54. Yikes.

Each. Double yikes!

Oh, and let’s not forget for the $14.95 for Fed Ex to ship them to you.

That brings your grand total to (drum roll, please)….$570.03. Drum roll? In retrospect, perhaps a sad trombone would have been more in order.

Now, what’s that gonna run you at The Family Arena Box Office? Well, seating in that section costs $58. That’s right. Their service charge is almost as much as the ticket itself. And that includes our service fees (a whopping $3 per ticket). There are no additional fees at our box office so your grand total would be $116. That’s a savings of $454.03.

“Well, that’s all well and good,” you might say. “But I don’t have time to drive to your box office. I’m buying my tickets online.”

Fair enough. Let’s see what it would cost you to purchase tickets through MetroTix.com, our official ticking company.

So we start with two $58 tickets. MetroTix has a service charge of $10.50 per ticket. That brings your total to $137. And all of the delivery methods (US Mail, Will Call, Print At Home) are free. That’s a savings of $433.03. Suddenly those MetroTix fees don’t look so bad, do they?

Now, let’s be clear, these sites aren’t stealing from you. To the best of our knowledge you will actually receive the tickets you purchased for the agreed upon price. However, they are certainly overcharging since you can usually purchase seats that are as good or better for significantly less. Almost 400% less for equivalent seating in our first example.

And here’s the craziest part – in many cases these sites don’t even have the tickets yet. That’s right. They know that tickets are available so they wait until you buy the tickets from them and then they buy the tickets from us. It’s a great deal for them but an awful deal for you.

That’s why we encourage you to only purchase tickets at The Family Arena Box Office or via MetroTix – online at MetroTix.com or by phone at 314-534-1111.

Coming Up: Ticketing Fees – What They Get You

Have a question about how all this works? Don’t be shy. Email your question to
tokeefe@familyarena.com

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Visiting St. Charles

 

It doesn’t matter if you’re in town for a day or a week, St. Charles is a great place to live or visit. If you are planning on visiting the Family Arena from out of town, and need a hotel, here are a few nearby hotels we suggest:

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Address: 2002 Arena Parkway
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Phone: 636-896-4200
Fax: 636-896-4205

Other Important Phone Numbers:
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Group Sales: 636-896-4237
ADA Hotline: 636-896-4234
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