Couple buying tickets online

How to Buy and Sell Tickets Online

Concert tickets sell unbelievably fast. All too often, you hear stories of fans trying to grab tickets to an immediately sold-out event. There are tens of thousands of seats in that venue, so why is the concert sold out within sixty seconds?

It’s all due to presales. We’ll use a Justin Bieber concert as our real life example:  there are 14,000 tickets available for his concert. Only 1,000 tickets are available to the public. What the heck happened to the remaining 13,000 tickets? There are multiple explanations, and here are three of the most common ones:

  1. Fan club members have access to tickets before you do.
    Members have access to exclusive ticket presales. Good for them, bad for anyone who’s out of the loop. Although these offers are intended for the fans, they aren’t always so fortunate either. Some fan clubs gradually distribute presale offers based on seniority in order to prevent ticket hunters from taking advantage of the opportunity. 
  2. …so do credit card holders.
    American Express, Citi Bank, and Mastercard are just a few of companies that include presale opportunities in their benefits.
  3. Not to mention radio stations and VIP lists get dibs on the tickets too.
    Those call-in radio contests don’t randomly find two tickets to the upcoming Bruno Mars concert. Tickets are also set aside for special guests such as celebrities or music moguls who could draw attention to the event. But just because someone is on the VIP list doesn’t mean they’re a big deal in the industry; sometimes the manager will give tickets to a buddy or family members.

In short, the 14,000 tickets “sold out” in less than five minutes because there were never 14,000 (available to the public) to begin with.?

How do I find these elusive tickets?

 If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Sign up for your favorite artist’s fan club; the subscription fee is worth it for the early access to tickets. And should you apply for credit cards just for the presale perks? Only if you aren’t struggling with debt or a poor credit score.

Of course, you can always venture into the resale market.

Remember those ticket hunters I mentioned? They swoop in early and buy tickets with the sole purpose of selling them at a ridiculously higher price. Some use automated bots to increase their haul. There have been incidents where people bought tickets from shady third-party ticket brokers—tickets that ended up having no seat. When browsing ticket brokers’ websites, always read customer reviews and be on the lookout for accreditation. The seller may not be licensed by the Better Business Bureau, but you can still see their BBB rating and reviews. There are also plenty of safe brokers accredited by the National Association of Ticket Brokers, with locations across the country.

Big online ticket brokers like StubHub and TicketNetwork tend to apply additional service fees to your purchase. A ten dollar ticket is a steal…but then you have a five dollar download fee. And another five dollar service fee. If you’re looking for the best deal, private sellers might be your best bet.

You’ve probably seen individuals try to sell their tickets on Craigslist, Facebook, or other websites. Unlike third-party sales, private sellers usually won’t have unreasonably priced tickets. Usually, they just aren’t able to attend the event and want to recover what they’d spent on the ticket. If you’re lucky, they may be selling below the face value. Unfortunately, tour companies are trying to put an end to private ticket resales; more events are switching over to electronic tickets that are registered to a particular credit card number and driver’s license.?

How should I sell tickets online?

 No need to worry about being stuck with tickets you can’t use. Take your tickets to eBay if the auction option is enticing; you can make the most out of poor circumstances. Maybe you can’t make it to the NBA Playoffs game, but the bid-fight over your coveted sports tickets can make up for the financial loss. eBay is a great option for tickets to popular events that a lot of people are willing to fight over.

You can also sell your tickets on third-party brokers such as StubHub. StubHub makes selling your tickets easy. Buyers can simply download your tickets and print them out, saving you the trouble of mailing the tickets. This also means you get paid faster—however, these sites often charge some type of commission fee (StubHub’s is 15% of the sale).

Craigslist and other local online groups are a good option if you need to sell tickets at the last minute. You’ll often see folks trying to get rid of concert tickets days before an event, and boy, do they sell fast. Although you’re avoiding extra sales fees, if you need to sell your tickets quickly, you may end up without a profit. 

Last Updated: May 18, 2015