Some of the wonderful things rattling around in this full brain 'o mine. UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY (or at least twice a week)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Corporate Ticket Scalping?

I’m sorry, did I miss something? When did scalping turn legal? I’m assuming as a direct result of the success of websites such as StubHub, Ticketmaster has signed an exclusive deal with the NBA to be the official re-seller of tickets according to USAToday. Now...this is intended to be mostly for season ticket holders who, for one reason or another, can’t attend a game. I’m sorry. I’m not buying that. Not at all. This is just scalping gone to the corporate level.

I’ve never been to the StubHub website until just now. I looked briefly at The Police tickets for their upcoming tour. The first date that comes up is 5/28 at General Motors Place, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Hopefully this’ll still be up once this blarticle goes live…but notice the ticket prices: 115 – 125500. $125,500 for a ticket to a concert. You can’t tell me that that’s not inflated just a bit. I just don’t see it. Based on the USA Today article, Ticketmaster says it won’t make any deals with reselling that would be illegal. What’s legal though? Based on the Cato Journal article: The Folly of Anti-Scalping Laws, not too many states have legislature in place to combat ticket-scalping in general, let alone online ticket-scalping. Until such legislature is in place, StubHub and Ticketmaster will not be much more than a breeding ground for scalpers. This just allows them to scalp from home instead of scalping in front of the venue, or in the parking lot, or across the street.

Also, I could easily see this turning into a potential monopoly for Ticketmaster. They’re the biggest ticket seller in the world (to my knowledge). Why would any of the other major sports (NFL, NHL, MLB, WWE…ok, maybe not that last one, when was the last time they sold anything out besides Wrestlemania?) go with anyone but Ticketmaster if they were going to go exclusive. For that matter, if I was Ticketmaster, I’d be knocking on the doors of every major sporting and entertainment event and signing them up for exclusive deals. Ticketmaster already rapes you financially for buying regular tickets, if they can get money from the original purchase, and then get money again from a secondary purchase when the original consumer can’t attend the event, it’s a better deal for them.

Of course…there are potential benefits. Scalping is always going to happen no matter what. With sites like Ebay, StubHub, and soon Ticketmaster, it just allows the consumer to compare prices from different scalpers. The consumer can compare, and then get the deal they’re looking for, whether it be paying a little more, or paying face value (since I’m sure there will always be someone who can’t go at the last minute just trying to recoup some portion of their costs). Also, if I was a season ticket holder for some sports team, I would want a re-selling option if I wasn’t able to attend a game. They pay a lot for those tickets, I’m sure they want to get some money back out of them. Unfortunately, I still think the temptation to re-sell at much higher prices will be too great for most people to resist. At heart people are greedy. If they think they can make a couple of dollars, or a couple hundred dollars, or a couple thousand dollars, they’ll try. I see more bad coming out of these sites in the short term than good. What do y’all think? Let me know in the comments!

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