YONKERS, N.Y., June 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Scoring seats for
summer's hottest events can be tough. The box offices often sell out
quickly forcing fans to buy through online ticket resellers where they can
pay hundreds, even thousands, above face value. Consumer Reports' August
issue tells how to score big in the must-have ticket game.
Ticket reselling sounds a lot like scalping, but changes in legislation
have allowed for big companies to get in the game. StubHub, TicketsNow,
RazorGator, TicketLiquidator and TicketExchange are among the better-known
sites in a growing, $2.6 billion online business that is projected to
nearly double by 2012, according to Forrester Research.
"If you know how the system works, buying through a reseller can get
you access to seats that are otherwise unavailable, but it can be a tricky
game. If you don't know what to expect it can leave you feeling ripped
off," said Tod Marks, senior editor at Consumer Reports.
Resellers don't set prices, and they don't buy or own tickets. Rather,
they provide a trading post for fans seeking to sell unneeded tickets and
professional brokers looking to make a killing on tickets bought on
speculation. The access to the tickets these sites can offer usually come
at high prices, but sometimes savvy shoppers can score a discount.
Like airlines and hotels, resellers typically follow a real-time price
model based on demand. For a Yankees-Indians game, Consumer Reports
shoppers found first-row seats in the upper-deck behind home plate for $22
less than face value, a week before the game -- possibly because the
Yankees were in a slump.
Waiting until the last minute can be risky, but may have its rewards.
Consumer Reports had two reporters shopping for tickets a month in advance
of two events on May 20: a Yankees-Orioles baseball game in New York, and a
Santana concert in San Francisco.
Prices varied for both events over the next four weeks, but an eager
fan could score a deal on the day of the show. For the Santana concert,
waiting inline at the box office up to a half-hour before the show netted a
few lucky fans a ticket for $92.00 -- a mere $2.50 more than original face
value. A similar ticket would have cost as much as $232 three weeks earlier
Hunting on your own
Buying through a reseller may seem unavoidable, but diehard fans do
have other options to score hard-to-get seats and avoid overpaying. Before
turning to resellers, CR recommends the following:
-- Watch for notice of event presales. Presales let some fans buy tickets
before they're offered to the general public. (Sometimes
there's a discount, too.) Presales typically require a password
that might be sent in an e-mail by the venue, artist, team, or promoter,
or by Ticketmaster if you've used it in the past. You can also get
in on presales by joining an artist's fan club, and get alerts and
passwords by paying a fee to PresalePassword.net or Presalenow.com.
-- Look for credit-card promotions. American Express, Visa Signature, and
MasterCard offer some of their cardholders first dibs, preferred seats,
and discounts to events such as "The Lion King" on Broadway
and the U.S. Open tennis tournament.
-- Start at the box office. It may sound obvious, but it's the one
place that lets you avoid fees and pay face value if you can get there
in person. If you're looking to deal online with a team or box
office, find the official site. For example, an Internet search for
"L.A. Lakers tickets" could lead you to unregulated sites that
may rip you off.
-- Keep checking for availability. If Ticketmaster.com is your best option,
keep checking for tickets even if the event seems sold out. Customers
have a few minutes to decide whether to buy the tickets they've
clicked on. During that time, those tickets are locked up, but if the
shoppers decide not to buy, the tickets become available again to other
Shopping Online Ticket Resellers
If you choose to use a reseller, or it appears to be the only way to
find that must have, hard-to-find ticket, CR found there still may be an
opportunity to find a deal, but remember the following:
-- Know the market. You're apt to get a slightly better deal on team
sporting events than on a Broadway show. There are bigger arenas and
more dates to choose from and season ticket holders who can't make
it to every game. It's easier to score tickets to a game involving
teams with losing records. And tickets to preseason NFL games are
-- Consider the venue. Ticket prices are generally a bit lower for shows in
large arenas and outside of major cities.
-- Pick the right time. Try weekdays and matinees. Avoid holidays. A good
time to buy concert tickets is just after a performer has added extra
-- Track prices. Check for tickets as soon as you decide to attend the
event, visit several reseller sites over time. CR's reporters found
that prices can fluctuate.
-- Be patient. Some tickets to Super Bowl XLII dropped to $1,000 on game
day. Tickets become worthless after the event begins, so sellers become
increasingly eager. Resellers might have so many tickets that you can
wait to buy until the day of the event, if e-ticketing or on-site pickup
For the complete report on online ticket resellers and more helpful
tips and advice to finding hard-to-find tickets, check out the August issue
of Consumer Reports on newsstands July 1, 2008 or visit
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SOURCE Consumer Reports