Why some brokers get a bad name.

Whenever something is scarce and has value, there will always be a way for resellers to profit from it.  Diamonds, Elvis Presley Autographed Toilet Seats, and yes, theater tickets.

That preface is me admitting that ticket brokers, who traffic in tickets in the secondary market (e.g. tickets which have already been purchased through Ticketmaster or Telecharge and are now being resold), will always exist in our world.

And, frankly, there is a place for them.  They fill the need for a certain type of consumer who needs a certain thing (tickets to Hugh Jackman for tomorrow night, let’s say), needs it now (the show is tomorrow night), and will pay anything for them (how’s about $421.80/ticket).

So I’m not anti-broker.

I’m just anti Bad Broker.

A dear friend of mine suffered at the hands of a BB recently that had me wanting to call the BBB.  She had a hankering to take a client to see Book of Mormon real bad like, so she googled and found one of the many sites hawking BoM tickets in the secondary market.  She clicked away, and then next thing you know, she had purchased two crappy seats for $200+ each.

She made her way to the box office only to find that her tickets weren’t there.  And, tick-tock, there was only another 15 minutes to curtain.  In the fine print, she found out that her tickets were supposed to be picked up at some shady office in midtown.  She sprinted to the “drop” and found . . . her tickets weren’t there either.

“Oh, sorry.  We never got these tickets,” the BB said.

“But it says that I’m confirmed.”

“Yeah, sorry.”

“But . . . “

“We didn’t get the tickets. What can I say, lady?”

My friend, and her client, exhausted and frustrated by the experience altogether . . . skipped the theater and just went to dinner instead.

When I heard the story I knew that she had fallen prey to one of the many not-so-scrupulous brokers who have taken advantage of technology to speculate on tickets . . . and advertise something they try to get their hands on AFTER they sell it.

And often times, the bad BBs fail.

And the theater as a whole, suffers.

  • Dave Wakeman says:

    When I was a full time ticket broker, fighting the bad broker was one of my things.
    With technology its going to be tough to stop the speculators and the bad brokers from mistreating consumers.
    First and foremost, I think that the producers need to make peace with the fact that the brokers are around and they aren’t going to go anywhere. So the best thing to do is the manage those relationships better so that the consumer gets as close to a seamless experience as possible. Because I don’t think that most of the ticket purchasers that encounter the same or a similar situation to the one your friend encounter are going to really differentiate between a bad broker and a bad Broadway experience.
    That hurts the industry as a whole.
    But, I do think there are a number of issues that need to be addressed in regards to brokers, and this is just one of them.

  • Eric Grunin says:

    This might be more common than one would like to believe.
    It was reported on All That Chat that impossibly large numbers of tickets for “Blood and Gifts” were listed on StubHub. (“Impossibly”, because those seats are filled with subscribers.)

  • Doug Hicton says:

    I’m sorry, but anyone would have to have been diagnosed clinically insane to pay $421.80 (where’d they get THAT number from?) for one ticket for anything. At that price, I would expect oral servicing from Robert Fox and/or Mr Jackman himself for not less than 15 minutes.

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