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 ticketing 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

Comments

       

Comments

  • By Kathy - on

    This happened to me on a Christian concert because I was in a hurry. I was afraid they would sell out and I wanted good seats. I didn’t realize it till I paid over $300 for 2 seats. This needs to be advertised more.

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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:

Historic St. Charles
Streets of St. Charles

Upcoming Events

 
GRAMMY® winner Mandisa is inviting her longtime friends Blanca, Jasmine Murray and Candace Payne (author, speaker, viral sensation “Chewbacca Mom”) for “Girls Night Live,” an extraordinary evening aimed at strengthening female community. Envisioned to be a night of women encouraging women about matters that affect women, “Girls Night Live Tour” will include music, humor, worship and prayer.
The Dire Straits Legacy was born from the love and passion for the music of Dire Straits, and its mission is to bring that music to fans who have been starved of hearing it played live, for far too long. Since the band played its last gig on the On Every Street tour in 1992, the musical genius that is Mark Knopfler prefers to leave the Dire Straits songs behind him and play his more recent songs from his solo career.
Back by popular demand, Rock Of The '70s returns with an all-new line-up! It promises to be an evening of St. Louis classics as April Wine, The Babys, Savoy Brown, and the Pat Travers Band share the stage. Don't miss what promises to be an amazing night of rock-n-roll - Friday, October 5. Tickets on sale Friday, April 27 at noon.

Contact & Location

 

Address: 2002 Arena Parkway
Saint Charles, MO 63303
Directions

Phone: 636-896-4200
Fax: 636-896-4205

Other Important Phone Numbers:
Event Hotline: 636-896-4242
Group Sales: 636-896-4237
ADA Hotline: 636-896-4234
Lost & Found: 636-896-4200

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:

Historic St. Charles
Streets of St. Charles
St. Charles County Parks & Recreation Department
St. Charles County Park Activity Guide

Upcoming Events

 
  1. Mandisa – Girls Night LIVE

    September 28 @ 7:00 PM - 10:30 PM
  2. CANCELLED – Dire Straits Legacy

    September 29 @ 7:30 PM - 10:30 PM
  3. Rock of the ’70s – April Wine, The Babys, Savoy Brown & Pat Travers

    October 5 @ 7:00 PM - 10:45 PM
  4. Smokey Robinson

    October 6 @ 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Contact & Location

 

Address: 2002 Arena Parkway
Saint Charles, MO 63303
Directions

Phone: 636-896-4200
Fax: 636-896-4205

Other Important Phone Numbers:
Event Hotline: 636-896-4242
Group Sales: 636-896-4237
ADA Hotline: 636-896-4234
Lost & Found: 636-896-4200