When it comes to purchasing tickets for concerts, sports events, and other live entertainment, Ticketmaster and Vivid Seats are two of the biggest and most well-known ticket retailers. But which one is more reliable for buyers? There are several factors to consider when evaluating the dependability of these two industry giants.
One of the most important aspects of a reliable ticket provider is having access to a large inventory of seats for high-demand events. In this area, Ticketmaster has a distinct advantage. As the primary ticket provider for many major concert venues, sports leagues, and theaters across North America, Ticketmaster has exclusive contracts giving them control over initial ticket inventory for the most popular events.
For example, if you want tickets to see an NHL game at Madison Square Garden or a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, Ticketmaster will have first access to a majority of the seats. This gives buyers the best chance at getting tickets during the initial on-sale date before the event sells out.
Vivid Seats operates as a ticket resale marketplace, meaning they acquire inventory from season ticket holders, brokers, and individual sellers after the public on-sale. They may not have the same level of ticket availability for brand new events compared to Ticketmaster. However, Vivid Seats has a large resale inventory for high-demand events once the initial tickets sell out.
When buying tickets from a secondary source like Vivid Seats instead of directly from the venue’s box office, there is always a risk that the tickets could be fraudulent or invalid. This makes the guarantee that comes with each ticket purchase extremely important.
Ticketmaster provides a Verified Tickets guarantee on all ticket purchases. This means that if a Ticketmaster ticket turns out to be invalid for any reason, they will find replacement tickets for the buyer or provide a full refund.
Vivid Seats also has a 100% buyer guarantee on all ticket orders. They promise that in the unlikely event a customer receives invalid tickets from a seller, Vivid Seats will find replacement tickets comparable to the original purchase. If replacements can’t be found, the buyer will get a full refund.
The bottom line is that both Ticketmaster and Vivid Seats offer full protection against ticket fraud and invalid tickets. In this area, buyers can feel confident they are covered either way.
From the buyer’s perspective, the most important consideration after getting a valid ticket is the price paid. In general, Ticketmaster will offer the best prices on newly released event tickets during the initial public on-sale dates. These are often below or at face-value pricing directly from the venue or promoter.
Once an event is sold-out or high-demand on the secondary market, Vivid Seats will usually have cheaper ticket options than Ticketmaster. Vivid Seats aggregates ticket inventory from thousands of sellers and brokers, so buyers can shop around for the lowest price on a specific section or seat.
The table below compares sample ticket prices for the same events on Ticketmaster versus Vivid Seats:
|Vivid Seats Price
|New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox
|Main Level Section 123
|Harry Styles Concert at Madison Square Garden
|Lower Level Side Section 110
|The Book of Mormon on Broadway
|Front Mezzanine Row F
Based on this sample, Vivid Seats consistently offers savings between 15-40% less than Ticketmaster on the secondary market. Buyers may pay more convenience fees purchasing through Vivid Seats, but still often save money overall.
The advertised ticket price is usually not the final amount you’ll pay when completing a purchase. Both Ticketmaster and Vivid Seats add on varying service fees and order processing charges.
Ticketmaster’s fees include an unavoidable “Ticketmaster Service Fee” on each ticket which ranges from 10-25% of the base price. There are additional facility fees, order processing fees, and sometimes delivery fees added as well. Overall, a Ticketmaster buyer can expect to pay 15-30% more than the list price per ticket in additional fees.
Vivid Seats also tacks on service and delivery charges to every order. Their fee structure is more transparent, with a consistent 10-15% “Service Fee” on every ticket purchase. Shipping and handling fees apply for ticket delivery, generally $20-$25 per order.
Though all the extra fees can be frustrating for buyers, they are comparable between the two ticket sellers. Neither has an obvious price advantage when it comes to added service charges.
Ease of Use
To evaluate the customer experience between Ticketmaster and Vivid Seats, it’s helpful to break it down into three stages: search and selection, checkout process, and delivery.
Search and Selection
The Ticketmaster website and mobile app make it easy to search upcoming events by city or venue and see an interactive seat map with prices. Fans of specific sports teams or music artists can browse their upcoming events in one place. On high-traffic on-sales, Ticketmaster’s site can sometimes slow down or crash due to overload demand.
Vivid Seats’ search is not as intuitive initially, though they offer helpful browsing options by category or city. Their seat maps and displays for individual listings could use improvement. However, filters and search tools make it simple to compare ticket prices and find the best deals on Vivid Seats.
Ticketmaster checkout involves selecting your tickets then logging into or creating a Ticketmaster account before entering payment information. The steps are straightforward though Ticketmaster’s lengthy list of service fees isn’t displayed until the final checkout screen.
Vivid Seats has guests input payment details first before selecting tickets. The all-in costs including fees are clearly shown from the beginning. Both sites offer safe and secure checkout with encryption protection.
Ticketmaster tickets can be electronically transferred to your account and accessed via their app. Physical tickets are also shipped for free. Delivery times can vary from 2 weeks to just days before the event.
Vivid Seats provides electronic delivery in most cases with the option for UPS shipping for an added fee. E-tickets are usually available within a week of purchase. Overnight shipping is offered for last-minute purchases.
For convenience, electronic delivery is the best option with either seller. Ticketmaster’s mobile tickets provide easy venue entry. Both sites have digital ticket capability so you can access everything from your smartphone.
Having knowledgeable and responsive customer service team readily available is key when problems or questions arise with a ticket order. Unfortunately, customer service and support is not a strength for either Ticketmaster or Vivid Seats.
Ticketmaster offers customer support by phone and online chat. Average wait times can be 30 minutes or longer to speak to an agent by phone which is not ideal when dealing with an urgent issue. Their online fan forums have numerous complaints about poor service.
Vivid Seats does provide phone, chat, and email support. But they too receive negative reviews related to long response times, reps giving incorrect information, and difficulties getting issues resolved. For both companies, patience is required when contacting their customer service departments.
For brand new ticket releases and hot events with limited availability, Ticketmaster remains the most reliable primary source. Their exclusive ticket partnerships with major venues and leagues make them difficult to beat for the earliest access.
Once events are sold out or only resale tickets remain, Vivid Seats becomes an attractive alternative. Their large supply of tickets sold by individual holders will satisfy buyers who missed out during the initial on-sale. Vivid Seats’ open marketplace model drives competition and more affordable pricing.
While Ticketmaster and Vivid Seats take different approaches, they both offer ticket availability and buyer protection for millions of events. Comparing factors like current market prices, fees, and convenience can help buyers determine the best option for each specific ticket purchase.