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