Eliza, I don't have a dollar to my name
January 28, 2016 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Who is making money off resale Hamilton tickets? I'm looking for a more elaborate answer than "scalpers."

To see Hamilton this year (pretty much) you have to buy resale tickets. Who is selling them? I'm not asking about Craigslist scams, I'm talking about the real tickets I see resold via Ticketmaster. Are there season ticket holders for ... Broadway (?) who aren't using their tickets? Are they people who saw the opportunity to make a few hundred dollars and seized it? (Although even if you make $1,000 or whatever, it won't happen for months, so you have to be able to lay out cash in advance.) Have there been any news stories or other accounts of people in this business?

Is it a big enough business that real companies get in on it?
posted by purpleclover to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Real companies" in the sense of people who are doing more than just going to a ticket window and buying a pair of tickets and then reselling them: "The bots. I met a guy who told me he had 600 modems in his piece of crap strip mall store that generated so much heat the neighbor couldn't get their temperature right."
posted by Etrigan at 11:53 AM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Maybe you have already seen this article, but apparently these are huge operations that buy 1000 seats at once using bots, to resell at marked-up prices.
posted by Atrahasis at 11:54 AM on January 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

Also, and I am not saying that anyone involved in Hamilton is doing this, but the artists themselves often scalp tickets:
Artists from Van Halen to Neil Diamond have been blocking off tickets for resale over the years in order to make additional money through the multibillion-dollar secondary market. They've almost always done this quietly, so fans don't associate their favorite rock stars with the traditionally shady ticket-scalping market.
posted by Etrigan at 12:00 PM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

To combine the two answers given so far ("professional scalpers" and "the artists themselves") in a recent story about this on WNYC (i think- cant dig up the link) it said that part of the difficulty in finding original tickets is that there is a faulty assumption that because a venue holds, say 1300 people in the case of Hamilton/the Richard Rodgers Theater, there will be 1300 available seats every night. Many, many, many of those seats are never released to the public to begin with and are handed out to corporate sponsors and other folks in non-free market transactions.

who knows, maybe this applies more for concerts and things where an arena might hold 40k people but only half are actually available for purchase.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:24 PM on January 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

but the artists themselves often scalp tickets

And up and down the entire supply chain, really. The person who controls the venue's house seats, the publicists, anyone with access to tickets is a potential leak. There are some situations where there is a built-in scarcity before tickets ever go on sale. Staples Center seats 16,000 but it is famously impossible to get Lakers tickets "naturally" no matter how many pre-sales, pre-pre-sales, and VIP pre-sales you have access to. That's because after season ticket holders, the players, the house, etc are accounted for, only 1000 or so tickets to individual games are actually released. 7 or 8 years ago you had a sporting chance of snagging tickets to at game if you weren't too picky, and sometimes even if you were. Now it's bots.

This is how it was and will probably always be: The Ticketmaster sales controversy
posted by Room 641-A at 12:52 PM on January 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

Dammit, didn't preview.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:52 PM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

"Who is selling them? I'm not asking about Craigslist scams, I'm talking about the real tickets I see resold via Ticketmaster."

My husband bought me a ticket as a gift, and we found out three day later -- just hours outside the Ticketmaster return window -- that I was pregnant and would be too pregnant to fly when the show date came around, so we resold the ticket. At cost, though, not at a profit. So at least some of those resales are people like me with TERRIBLE TIMING who bought tickets but couldn't use them.

Just today stories have been breaking about abuses in the ticket industry and a coming crackdown.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:57 PM on January 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: This is all great. Thanks!
posted by purpleclover at 2:23 PM on January 28, 2016

The New York Attorney General just issued a report Obstructed View: What's preventing New Yorkers from Getting Tickets that has a lot of insight into this problem.
posted by Lame_username at 3:29 PM on January 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

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