Why do tickets cost so much more than the list price?


Tribune News Service

Show tickets often cost much more than the listed price on the ticket, especially when purchased from a ticket broker.

Paige Shapiro, Staff Writer

Ticketmaster has a long controversy regarding the cost of their tickets. When the usual price of a ticket is advertised to be $60, by the end of the transaction it ends up being $100. So why is that?
Well, Ticketmaster and many other primary and secondary ticket sellers have service fees that are applied at the end of each ticket transaction on their website.
“In most cases, a significant portion or a majority of those service fees get paid to the venue or the promoter of the event you’re buying the ticket for,” said David Goldberg, a ticket executive and investor, in an interview done by Money.com. Some of the surcharges go to equipment, software, services and administrative support. The rest of the money is what they make for profit.
According to a report from the Government Accountability Act in 2018, an average of 27% of ticket prices are in fees. The average cost of tickets in the United States has spiked 17% higher compared from 2019 to 2022, according to Poll Star—they examined the top 100 anticipated concerts for each year. Ticketmaster also uses “dynamic pricing,” where they can charge you more based on demand of tickets.
Another reason for the hike up in ticket prices is because of “bots.” Bots are automated computer programs that are used for assisting ticket scalpers online, to fraudulently buy tickets, to then sell them on third-party sale websites for higher prices, according to an article by the Los Angeles Times. The bots snatch up to thousands of tickets within seconds of the original release on Ticketmaster, causing people who want to buy the original tickets frustration, because they’re no longer available or more expensive.
The Taylor Swift tickets for example, show the reality of what computer bots are capable of. Ticketmaster had announced the cancellation for the presale of Swift’s tickets due to “the staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have invite codes.” Ticketmaster stated that the bots “drove unprecedented traffic on our site, resulting in 3.5 billion total system requests — four times our previous peak.”
This incident isn’t the only case for bots buying out all the concert tickets. For a Blake Shelton concert, presale tickets where 22,000 people registered to buy his tickets, found out only a few hundred people got to receive them.
So, there is high service and convenience charges and programed computer software, also known as bots, that are programed to take thousands of concert tickets from online vendors, to then overcharge them and sell them. How exactly do we combat this issue? How can we buy affordable tickets on Ticketmaster?
How to avoid paying too much for concert tickets? I wish I could say there are a multitude of ways of getting cheaper tickets.
No matter how much you want to avoid service charges, they are usually inevitable when trying to buy concert tickets. There are not many cheap ways to avoid overcharges, but there are still some helpful tips out there to help you get a well spent concert ticket.
One of the easiest and best ways to get cheaper concert tickets is by going to the venue’s physical box office. They don’t charge fees, they are the original price, and you don’t have to worry about bots swiping out most of the tickets.
Some ticket selling sites have reward programs, like Vivid Seats where you can earn points or cashback. Or you can use other ticket sites like Ticket Monster or Tick Pick that are dedicated to not having fees during transactions.
Bots are having more luck of being held accountable. Fighting bots is important for reducing consumer costs for the online ticket industry.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Congress signed a law in 2016 called the BOTs act, Better Online Ticket Sales Act, that allows the government to crack down on the misuse of computer bots on ticket selling sites.
The law enacts that the person or persons that are caught in the act of using the bots for the illegal resale of tickets, are fined up to $16,000.
Now, Congress is asking the Federal Trade Commission if it plans on invoking the law in situations like Taylor Swift’s tour. But the FTC hasn’t done much to enforce control over the misuse of bots.