Published on November 17th, 2015 | by Alan Cross3
Why Is It So Hard to Buy Concert Tickets at Face Value?
It’s possible to get tickets for a big show at face value, but it’s been getting harder and harder. Why? Which.Co, a UK website, takes a look at the problem.
Which? spent eight weeks monitoring four of the biggest secondary ticketing websites and found evidence that the market is failing fans.
Tickets for most events are sold through the venue or through primary ticket websites such as Ticketmaster and See Tickets. But once tickets from these sources sell out, fans either miss out or pay over the odds on the secondary market – sites where tickets are sold at a mark-up.
The secondary market was originally labelled as a fan-to-fan exchange where anyone can resell tickets, but these sites have attracted touts operating on an industrial scale. There are even signs that certain ticket sites may be acting like touts themselves.
From August to October 2015, Which? monitored the four big secondary ticketing sites – Seatwave, Viagogo StubHub! and Get Me In! – and found:
- Tickets appearing on re-sale sites before they were even officially released: StubHub! had 364 tickets on sale for Rod Stewart’s UK tour the day before the presale began.
- Tickets appearing simultaneously on primary and re-sale sites: For the same Rod Stewart tour, 450 tickets were available on Get Me In! the moment the presale began on the primary site and two days later this had risen to 2,305 tickets.
- Suspicious ticket release patterns: For each of the 28 Riverdance tour dates, eight tickets were on sale on Get Me In! within a minute of an O2 Priority presale (where O2 customers get early access to tickets), each listing had exactly the same price structure.
- Re-sale restrictions being ignored: Viagogo listed tickets for Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet at the Barbican, despite the venue imposing strict resale restrictions and asking for photo ID on the door. Tickets cost up to £1,500 (compared to an original face value of £62.50).