New York News

Brokers and why it's hard to buy concert tickets

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

If you've tried to get tickets to a big event, especially a concert, you know somehow, some way, the tickets are gobbled up.

The only way to buy them is to go through a broker and pay a lot more than the face value.

So what's really up with that? Shouldn't it be illegal? How can you get your ticket for a fair price?

The 12/12/12 Benefit Concert for Sandy victims was one of the hottest tickets in music history and it sold out in seconds. And then it started.

"The gig sells out and then the real selling begins. The end user cannot get a good ticket at a fair price," said Bob Lefsetz, a music writer.

Tickets for that Sandy benefit were offered on the resale market for nearly $60,000.

When Courtney Tomaino got her sister tickets to a Beyonce concert for her birthday last year, the sister was almost overwhelmed.

They had so much fun. Courtney wanted to get Beyonce tickets this year too.

She waited for the exact moment tickets went on sale.

"I sign on the computer at 9:58 and as soon as 10:00 hit the web page crashed," Tomaino said.

And just like that, all the tickets were gone. But where?

"Brokers go out and buy large volumes of tickets and in fact, that has kept tickets out of the regular fan's hands," said Mike Ozanian, Forbes Magazine.

That Beyonce concert Courtney wanted to go to in Brooklyn?

The StubHub website is part of the resale ticket market, some call it legal scalping.

There are many Beyonce tickets available there, if you're willing to pay up to $5,000 a seat.

So people like Courtney never had a chance.

"In many cases these tickets were never on the public on sale," Lefsetz said.

Bob Lefsetz writes a respected newsletter on the music industry. He says only a few tickets are ever sold for their original face value.

"In many arenas, let's call an arena 20,000 seats, there's plenty of cases where fewer than 1,000 seats are on the public on sale," Lefsetz said.

So who is selling those tickets on sites like StubHub? Eyewitness News asked.

In a statement, StubHub acknowledged that sellers include, among others, professional brokers, reselling tickets to make a profit is their only business, but there's more.

The companies that promote the concert also obtain tickets to sell at whatever price they can get, so the agents and managers of the performers sell tickets on StubHub, and even the performers themselves.

Many performers, it's not clear if Beyonce does, but many sell their own tickets on StubHub at enormous profit.

"It's very disappointing because it ruins it for the rest of us that are on a strict budget and you know can't afford to be paying the upcharge," Tomaino said.

And because many performers, or acts are profiting, Courtney and her sister are out of luck.

"Until the acts are shamed into compliance, there will be no change," Lefsetz said.

To get the best prices:

Join a fan club

Have three major credit cards

Try again - many credit cards from other customers get rejected and tickets become available again

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new york city, concert, new york news, jim dolan
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