Scalping--What Used to Be against the Law Is Now Just Good Business
Is the Ticket Biz Out of Line?
Consumers Find Many Events Hard to Come By, And Afford, in a Market Changed by Technology
By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, November 9, 2007; Page A01
After attending Bruce Springsteen concerts for more than 20 years, Ron Collins is facing the music: He can no longer afford to see the Boss.
When several weeks ago Collins went looking for tickets for Springsteen's sold-out shows this Sunday and Monday at Verizon Center, online resellers were asking anywhere from $400 to more than $2,000 per seat. "We were prepared to suck it up and just pay the scalpers, but I can't justify these prices," says Collins, 58, a legal writer and scholar in the District.
. . . Fans who strike out on the initial sale of seats to popular shows have found themselves confronting heart-stopping prices on hundreds of reseller sites -- often only minutes after promoters have posted "sold out" signs. Markups of as much as 10 times the face value are not uncommon for popular concerts, sporting events and Broadway shows.
Tried to take your kid to something as uncomplicated as a Cubs baseball game lately?
Laughably, there were times not all that long ago when a guy walking around outside the ball park, waving two tickets belonging to friends who couldn't get a sitter, stood the risk of arrest. Now it's all online, buttoned up, beyond the reach of the law and like trying to shop on Christmas Eve.
The answer? The market, I guess. People pay or don't pay and that, rather than another layer of laws will show us the way. But HDTV is how we're going to participate from here on in and ALL these venues are going to migrate to Pay TV.
Gonna be lonely at the old ball park.