There are a few reasons why you might see a message on Ticketmaster saying your tickets are “not eligible for resale.” This generally happens when tickets have restrictions placed on them by the artist, team, or venue. Let’s break down the most common reasons:
Artist or team restrictions
Many big name artists and sports teams have deals with Ticketmaster that allow them to put restrictions on ticket resales. They may not want tickets being resold above face value, or want to limit where and how fans can resell tickets. Some common artist/team restrictions include:
- No resale allowed – Tickets can only be used by the original purchaser
- “Credit card entry” – Purchaser must show credit card used to buy tickets
- Non-transferable tickets – Cannot be given or sold to someone else
- Paperless tickets – Must be accessed on mobile device by original purchaser
These restrictions are meant to cut down on scalping and ensure fairness for fans trying to get tickets. However, it also limits options if you can no longer attend an event.
Many theaters, concert halls, stadiums, etc. have implemented policies to limit ticket resales on Ticketmaster. Some common venue policies include:
- No resale above face value – Prevents sellers from profiting excessively
- Resale only allowed on authorized platform – Forces all resales to go through approved vendor
- Limits on percentage over face value – Caps maximum resale price
Venues take these measures to give more control over the secondary ticket market. They want to provide a fair buying experience and prevent sky-high markups. However, it also means fewer options for reselling tickets.
High demand events
For extremely high demand events like playoffs, concerts, or festivals, tickets often cannot be resold on Ticketmaster. The event organizers want to discourage scalping and protect fans. Some common restrictions for in-demand events include:
- No resale at all – Tickets can only be used by original purchaser
- Restricted resale window – Reselling is only allowed up to 72 hours before event
- No resale above face value – Prevents profiting from demand
Promoters implement these rules to give average fans a fair shot at tickets before resellers grab them up. But it also leaves anyone unable to go without many resale options.
Why Ticketmaster Enforces Resale Restrictions
As the primary ticket provider for many teams, artists, and venues, Ticketmaster is obligated to enforce any resale restrictions requested. There are a few key reasons why:
Contracts with clients
In its contracts with major clients, Ticketmaster agrees to implement requested ticket policies like banning resales. Ticketmaster wants to keep the business of these big clients who generate millions in ticket sales.
In some states, anti-scalping laws prohibit reselling tickets over face value without permission from the issuer. Ticketmaster must comply with these laws.
Ticketmaster wants to be seen as cooperating with teams, artists, and venues to make tickets accessible to fans. Enforcing resale bans helps sustain its business partnerships and public image.
By limiting resales, Ticketmaster reduces illicit activity like scalping bots that unfairly sweep up tickets. It helps keep the primary marketplace secure.
Teams and musicians want control over how their tickets are sold and resent outside brokers profiting. Ticketmaster keeps goodwill by enforcing their policies.
Impact on Fans Trying to Resell
While Ticketmaster is just enacting policies requested by its clients, resale restrictions can negatively impact fans. Some common pain points include:
Lack of recourse for canceled plans
If you can no longer attend an event, restrictions severely limit your options for recouping costs. You may end up eating the ticket cost.
Below market resale value
Limits on resale prices mean you may only be able to resell tickets below what the open market would bear.
Fewer resale platforms
If resales are restricted to certain vendors or face value, your options for reselling become limited.
Profits go to unauthorized brokers
Fans turn to unauthorized brokers when faced with resale limits, which can drive up prices.
Lack of ticket ownership
With paperless and non-transferable tickets, you don’t truly own the tickets you buy and have limited recourse.
While restrictions are intended to keep tickets affordable and accessible, they can backfire on fans whose plans change. It leads many to sidestep restrictions through unauthorized brokers.
Tips for Reselling Restricted Tickets
If your Ticketmaster tickets carry resale restrictions, all hope is not lost. Here are some tips that may help:
Act quickly if allowed
If there is a window for resale allowed closer to the event, sell early before it closes.
Sell at or below face value
Check rules on maximum resale prices. Pricing at or below face value may be your only option.
Find an authorized resale platform
If resale is limited to certain vendors, list tickets there even if options are few.
Consider ticketing trade/swap groups
Facebook groups and Reddit threads dedicated to ticket trades may offer options outside Ticketmaster.
Donate extra tickets
Donating extra tickets to charity may provide a tax deduction if you can’t resell them.
Check if ticket transfers are allowed
Gifting or transferring tickets directly may still be permitted even if resale is banned.
Though restrictive, following the rules will give you the best shot at recovering some costs. And you can avoid issues with invalidated tickets down the line.
The Future of Ticket Resale Restrictions
The rising backlash against restrictive ticketing practices may progressively change policies over time. There are a few possible trends:
Relaxed limits from artists/teams
Big stars like Bruce Springsteen have recently eased restrictions after fan complaints. More artists bowing to pressure could relax limits.
Secondary markets gain leverage
As resale sites like StubHub grow, they may gain the leverage to push back on major restrictions.
Regulation of ticketing industry
If issues remain pervasive, the government may step in with consumer protection laws affecting restrictions.
New distribution models
Innovations like blockchain ticketing could distribute power and ownership away from issuers, reducing limits.
Though concrete change has been modest so far, fan frustration indicates that the status quo of restrictions cannot remain permanent. As consumer power grows, the ticketing industry will likely have to cede some control.
Ticketmaster restricting ticket resales is an unavoidable reality of the current ticketing landscape. Artists, teams, and venues want control over their inventory and push Ticketmaster to enforce stringent policies. This leads to great frustration for fans unable to resell tickets when plans fall through. While the motivations are understandable, increasingly restrictive practices have often backfired.
As consumer ticketing rights become a greater public concern, the industry will be pushed towards more flexible policies. But for now, fans must work within existing confines. Understanding why Ticketmaster blocks resales can at least help strategize options and workarounds. Though restrictions look stubborn presently, public opinion indicates the status quo cannot hold forever.