The short answer is no, Ticketmaster is not a free service. There are fees associated with purchasing tickets through Ticketmaster for events, concerts, theaters, and more. However, there are some aspects of using Ticketmaster that do not cost money.
Ticket fees when purchasing through Ticketmaster
When you purchase tickets on Ticketmaster, there are a variety of fees that get added to your order at checkout. These fees go to Ticketmaster and other parties involved in getting you the tickets. Here are some of the common fees you can expect to pay when using Ticketmaster:
- Service fees – This fee goes to Ticketmaster for providing the platform and services to search for, select, and purchase event tickets. Service fees are typically around 10-20% of the base ticket price.
- Facility charge – This fee goes to the venue hosting the event to cover their costs. The amount varies by venue.
- Order processing fee – This fee covers the cost of processing the ticket order. It’s usually around $5-10 per ticket order.
- Delivery fee – If you have your tickets shipped to you, there is a delivery fee of around $5-15 per order.
In addition to the fees above, there may be other handling fees for mobile ticket delivery, print-at-home ticket delivery, will call pickup, etc. The exact fees charged will depend on the event, venue, and how you choose to get the tickets.
Are there any free ways to use Ticketmaster?
While Ticketmaster does charge fees when actually purchasing tickets, there are some free aspects of using their platform, including:
- Browsing events – Searching through upcoming events on Ticketmaster.com or in the mobile app is free. You can see what concerts, games, theater shows, and other events are coming up without any fees.
- Price range info – Ticketmaster shows price ranges for different seating sections at events. Viewing this pricing info is free.
- Seat maps – Using Ticketmaster’s interactive seat maps to pick out potential seats is free and does not require an account.
- Creating an account – Making a Ticketmaster account to save your payment info and preferences is free.
So in summary, there are no fees just for looking around at Ticketmaster’s event listings, seat maps, and ticket price ranges. You can take advantage of these free tools to research events before deciding on tickets. But once you go to actually purchase tickets, that is when Ticketmaster’s fees kick in.
Ways to avoid fees on Ticketmaster
If you want to avoid paying all the extra fees that Ticketmaster charges, here are some tips:
- Purchase directly from the venue – Some venues sell tickets directly through their own box office, either online or in-person. Purchasing this way can sometimes let you avoid fees.
- Buy from the event’s official website – For major concerts, festivals, and tours, you may be able to buy straight from the artist or event’s official website.
- Use a Ticketmaster discount code – Check for any valid promo codes that waive processing fees or give a percentage off your Ticketmaster order.
- Buy season ticket packages – If you plan to attend multiple events at a single venue, look into season ticket packages which sometimes include fee waivers.
- Opt for e-tickets – Having tickets emailed or accessing them via mobile often skips the delivery fee compared to physical tickets being mailed.
Some events will unfortunately be exclusively sold through Ticketmaster, so the fees are unavoidable. But for many events, a little research ahead of time into alternate purchase options can potentially help you avoid some of the most annoying Ticketmaster charges.
Ticketmaster fees compared to other ticket sites
Ticketmaster is far from the only online ticketing option out there these days. If you are fed up with Ticketmaster’s fees, you may be able to find cheaper fees by using other large ticket marketplaces like:
However, keep in mind that most secondary market resellers like StubHub add on their own fees too. So you’ll want to factor those in when comparing costs. Some ticket resellers tout “no fees” claims, but hide costs in other ways like inflated ticket prices.
Ticketmaster does have some exclusive ticket deals with certain venues, artists, theaters, and leagues. So if you want guaranteed access to the most popular events, Ticketmaster may be your only option. For more niche events or last-minute purchases, secondary marketplaces may have better pricing and fees in some cases.
Tips for minimizing Ticketmaster fees
If you do need to purchase tickets through Ticketmaster, here are some tips to help minimize the amount and pain of fees as much as possible:
- Buy early – Fees are usually lower when tickets first go on sale compared to closer to the event date.
- Buy general admission – These types of tickets tend to have lower associated fees compared to reserved seating.
- Purchase together – Buying all your tickets in a single order avoids getting hit with multiple small per order fees.
- Go electronic – Opting for e-tickets you can access on your phone or print at home avoids delivery charges.
- Buy group packages – Some events offer discounted group tickets with reduced fees if you buy a certain minimum number.
- Use pre-sales – Special pre-sale events sometimes have lower or no fees if you have an eligible fan club membership or promo code.
While Ticketmaster fees can be frustrating, being strategic with your ticket purchases can help reduce costs. With a little planning and research into discounts and alternatives, you can minimize the bite of Ticketmaster fees.
Is Ticketmaster worth the fees?
With all the complaints about Ticketmaster’s fees, you may wonder if paying them is actually worth it. Here are some of the key benefits you get when using Ticketmaster that help justify the fees:
- Access to the largest inventory – Ticketmaster has exclusive deals with many major venues, artists, theaters, and promoters to sell their tickets.
- Purchase confidence – Ticketmaster offers guarantees against fraud and counterfeit tickets.
- Secure checkout and storage – Your account, payment info and tickets are protected.
- Convenient delivery – Get mobile tickets instantly or have them shipped to you quickly.
- Support if issues arise – Ticketmaster has customer service channels to help if you encounter problems.
- Refunds and exchanges – Eligible tickets can be refunded or exchanged under stated policies.
- Rewards program – Ticketmaster’s program gives you access to presales, special offers and other perks.
While you can likely find tickets to most events on secondary marketplaces too, Ticketmaster provides security, convenience and reliability that some feel makes the fees worthwhile. For high-demand shows that sell out quickly, Ticketmaster may provide the best way to ensure you get tickets.
Future possibilities for Ticketmaster fees
Ticketmaster has received ongoing criticism over the years regarding its fees. Here are some ways we could potentially see Ticketmaster change how its fees work in the future:
- Simplified fee structure – Having fewer line item fees could make costs more transparent.
- All-in pricing – Fees included directly in the ticket price like an airline model would avoid sticker shock.
- Dynamic pricing – Basing fees on demand could lower costs for lower-demand events.
- Fee caps – Limiting how high fees can go, like capping the % of the ticket price, could prevent extreme fees.
- Expanded free ticket options – Having more tickets available through Ticketmaster Rewards redemptions or other givebacks.
- Fee-free sections – Certain sections could be designated as “fee-free” similar to how airlines do basic economy.
- Fee transparency – Clearer explanations and breakdowns provided on why fees are charged.
Ticketmaster is constantly evolving with new technology and competitors in the ticketing space. This could eventually force Ticketmaster to rethink its fee structure to provide greater value and transparency to ticket buyers. Time will tell if any major fee changes come in the future.
Ticketmaster service and processing fees are simply part of the reality of using their platform, given their dominant position in event ticketing. While the fees can seem excessive at times, Ticketmaster does provide confidence, reliability and access in return. Fortunately, consumers do have some options to minimize the fees or use alternative ticket providers depending on the event. Over time, competitive and consumer pressure could lead to Ticketmaster simplifying its fees or making them more equitable. But for now, fees are just part of the process of using Ticketmaster for your event ticket needs.