Stubhub, TicketsNow And The Secondary Tickets Industry

I’ve found great success saving money by buying tickets to sports events from websites such as Stubhub, RazorGator and TicketCity. I even unsuccessfully tried to sell tickets on Stubhub once to a Washington Nationals game that got rained out and I could no longer attend.

But the secondary ticket websites are not without their annoyances. You never really know the final price until right before you hit the “confirm purchase” button. There’s the shipping fees and the convenience fees of about 10 percent. The primary ticket market, of course, isn’t much better.

On my radio show about the business of sports on KXSC, I chatted with Stubhub flack Joellen Ferrer and TicketsNow SVP and GM Julia Vander Ploeg.

Here’s some of the facts they offered:

  • More than 50 percent of tickets on Stubhub are purchased for below face value.
  • The San Francisco Giants have teamed up with Stubhub so a fan could buy tickets two minutes before a game starts, or even after it has started, get a barcode texted or emailed to them and enter the stadium by having the stadium workers scan the barcode on the phone. Stubhub can’t wait to expand this to a larger audience.
  • About 50 percent of tickets on secondary market are still sold outside of venues, mostly by scalpers.
  • Through Stubhub, you can buy tickets for about 90 percent of events right up to the last minute.
  • Eventually Ticketmaster, which owns TicketsNow, hopes to create an integrated marketplace that would combine primary- and secondary-market tickets onto one list. That way you don’t have to dig through both websites. Seatgeek tries to do that by combining tickets from all the secondary ticket websites into one list, but the data is always a few hours behind.
  • Vander Ploeg expects group buying will eventually come to the secondary market. Ticketmaster is now linked up with Facebook, so friends can see where other friends are sitting at events. I just want something that reserves a few seats and lets my friends and I to each pay by ourselves.
  • She also said that the secondary ticket market is not always a business that operates at the expense of fans.
  • Finally, there will be a dramatic rise in paperless ticketing.

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