Harry Potter casts a spell on Secondary Sellers.

I swear I didn’t have any insider information.

Last week, I blogged about a potential secondary-market killer and speculated that one of the shows that might be the first to take a hard line with the broker market might be that Wizard in the West End, Harry Potter.

And bam.

The Producers of Potter (also known as the heir to the Hamilton throne) have announced that they will not accept re-sold tickets.  Period.  That’s right, buy a ticket from someone other than the primary seller, and Ticketus-Disappearus-Expeltion!  You’re out!

While they haven’t taken the hard line that I suggested last week (and I’m not sure anyone will or anyone should), they have discovered a way to find out who is a primary market buyer and who isn’t, and as a result, they’ve been turning people away at the door.  It feels to me like this is a (smart) scare tactic to all potential buyers.  “Buy from the secondary market, and you could lose your money and be turned away from the show.”  Who’s going to take that risk?

It takes a mega-hit to take this kind of hard-line.  But it could change the way the markets operate for sure.

And here in this country, our own little mega-hit is fighting back at the secondary market as well.  Earlier this week, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Chuck Schumer announced their collaboration on the BOTS Act, which would fine brokers for using technology to purchase tickets.  I don’t see any reason why this won’t pass, although just like the Potter edict, this will also be hard to regulate.  But with hefty $16,000 fees, it could be just enough to scare brokers from botting up all the tickets.

There’s a change in the air.  And what I’m hoping is that it doesn’t destroy any market.  Secondary sellers have gotten very good at a lot of things that Primary Sellers struggle with.  Perhaps this war will end with a great truce that betters us both.

 

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Comments
  • Carvanpool says:

    As long as Producers dishonestly participate in the secondary market, (see Ticketmaster resale market) let’s drop all the mendacity about killing it off.

    News reports say that each performance at Potter has one or so turnaways (not a heck of a lot, no?). More details needed on that situation, obviously. Maybe they are “unauthorized touts” that are being targeted.

    Even the bot wars are ridiculous. With reports of a third or more Hamilton tickets per performance being on sale via the secondary market, can you imagine what the advance would be if there were magically no secondary market? You might be seeing Hamilton at TKTS on weeknights!

    How might the Hamilton producers like that?

  • Frank says:

    I read this article early this morning, and it leaves out a lot of information as mentioned by Caravanpool. Turning away 1 or 2 per show is not going to stop anything. This is definitely a double edged sword though. The secondary market often creates a demand for tickets that would not exist without that market, thus benefiting the show overall.

    Good luck solving this riddle anytime soon.

  • Bill says:

    What Hamilton did by selling tickets for the obnoxious price of $800 only made people like me furious and get the producers tons of money. I don’t want to pay secondary prices of $800 to brokers but I think it is more wrong for the producers to sell large blocks of tickets with face value of $800. I think turning back people who have a valid ticket for a seat in the theater regardless of what they paid and whether they are the original purchaser or not will just invite lawsuits being filed. I’m sure there must be someway ticketmaster can determine if the buyer is an individual or broker at the time of sale. But as savvy as technology can be, I’m sure brokers will find a way to beat the system. I just hope the answer is not repeating what Hamilton did and charge $800 for tickets because I will have attended my last Broadway show.

  • Cliff Thompson says:

    How will this decision affect companies, like yours Ken, that handle group sales?

  • James says:

    Go Sonia! US Live Entertainment Producers should take notice and follow suit.

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