Third party ticket sales have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way for fans to buy tickets to concerts, sports events, and other live entertainment. Third party ticket sellers obtain tickets from various sources and resell them to fans, often at prices above the original face value. This has created a massive secondary ticket market worth billions of dollars. However, third party sales also raise concerns about unfair pricing practices and counterfeit tickets.
What are the main third party ticket sellers?
Some of the biggest players in the secondary ticket market include sites like StubHub, Vivid Seats, SeatGeek, and Ticketmaster’s resale site TicketsNow. These sites provide a platform for individuals and professional ticket brokers to resell event tickets. Fans can browse tickets being resold for thousands of events and purchase them online. Some of these sites include buyer guarantees in case the tickets turn out to be fraudulent. They generally make money by charging service fees on each ticket sale.
Where do third party sellers get their ticket inventory?
Third party sellers obtain tickets in a few key ways:
- Ticket brokers use special software and techniques to buy up tickets the moment they go on sale for popular events. The brokers then immediately post the tickets for resale at higher prices.
- Season ticket holders for sports teams or concert venues will often sell some of their tickets to make extra money.
- Sponsors of events are typically allocated blocks of tickets to give to clients, employees, etc. They will sell unwanted tickets to brokers.
- Traditional fans buy tickets with the intention of reselling if they can make a profit.
- Scammers try to sell fake or duplicate tickets.
With high demands for hot event tickets, resellers can often make big profits in the secondary market by charging much higher prices.
Is ticket resale legal?
In most cases, it is perfectly legal to resell event tickets as a third party. The first sale doctrine in the U.S. gives individuals the right to resell lawful possessions like tickets. However, some states impose restrictions such as price caps on resale values. The practice is illegal if the tickets were obtained fraudulently or if the seller tries to reproduce and sell fake tickets.
What are the pros of using third party sellers?
There are some potential advantages to buying tickets from resellers:
- Gain access to sold-out events – Third party sites give fans a way to buy tickets even if an event initially sold out.
- Better seats – Resellers sometimes get access to prime seats that can get resold at high prices.
- Buy now, choose later – Sites like StubHub allow fans to buy tickets before exact seats are assigned.
- Last minute purchases – Tickets can often be found the day of an event when the box office is sold out.
- Ease of transfer – Some sites provide convenient electronic transfer of tickets from seller to buyer.
So for fans that really want to see an in-demand show or game, third party sellers offer the chance to get tickets when they cannot be found elsewhere.
What are the cons of third party ticket sales?
There are also some potential disadvantages to be aware of:
- Higher prices – Resale tickets can cost two, three, or even 10 times more than face value.
- Counterfeits – Some third party ticket sellers hawk fake or duplicated tickets, leaving fans out of luck.
- Extra fees – Reseller sites add on services fees, meaning the final price is higher than listed.
- Uncertain quality – The seat locations may not be ideal or as advertised.
- Non-transferable – Some tickets include the original purchaser’s name and cannot be legally resold.
Fans run the risk of paying inflated prices for disappointing seats or completely invalid tickets. Scams are also a problem in the third party market.
Are prices capped on resale tickets?
Some states have enacted laws capping the resale value for tickets at a reasonable percentage above face value. This helps cut down on extreme price gouging. For example, in New York the limit is 45% above face value and in Connecticut it is 20% above face value. However, enforcement is challenging when sellers are located out of state. Some ticket resellers get around caps by selling “ticket packages” with added perks that justify the higher overall price.
How can you avoid scams?
To avoid getting ripped off when buying resale tickets, follow these tips:
- Only buy from reputable, established sellers with good reviews and solid buyer guarantees. Watch out for individuals selling on Craigslist or social media.
- Check for a money-back guarantee in case the tickets turn out to be fraudulent or unusable.
- Verify the tickets by contacting the official box office to confirm if they are valid.
- Use payment methods like credit cards that offer fraud protection and ability to dispute charges.
- Do not buy tickets that the seller claims will be “electronically transferred” later, as these often do not exist.
- Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true, like tickets far below face value.
Protect yourself by only using trusted third party platforms and examining tickets carefully before purchasing. If a deal seems suspicious, move on.
Are there any alternatives to third party sellers?
Some other options for obtaining tickets include:
- Buy directly from the official source as soon as sales begin. This avoids marked-up resale prices.
- Join fan clubs or mailing lists for presale ticket opportunities.
- Ask friends if they have an extra ticket to buy at face value.
- Try your luck right before an event by heading to the venue box office to check for any last minute ticket releases or cancellations.
Cutting out the middleman third party sellers can help fans avoid inflated rates. But it does require effort and luck to find tickets through official channels as demand continues to surge for top events.
The third party ticket market has exploded in recent years to become a multi-billion dollar industry. Sites like StubHub and Vivid Seats provide a platform for brokers, season ticket holders, and everyday fans to resell event tickets, often at significant markups. While this gives buyers access to high demand, sold out events, it also frequently results in gouging, counterfeits, and sketchy behavior. Smart consumers should use caution, shop at reputable resellers, and protect themselves to avoid getting scammed. With massive profits to be made, the secondary ticket market is likely here to stay, but buyers need to be informed on how to navigate it safely.