By Brad Schy There are many changes taking place in the ticket business. You, the consumer, have more choices than ever in how you...

By Brad Schy

There are many changes taking place in the ticket business. You, the consumer, have more choices than ever in how you acquire and dispose of your tickets. We want to let you know that we are always here to help you. We give free advice. Use it. It could save you a good deal of money.

Before you buy tickets through American Express’s Centurion or Platinum VIP program please call us and let us issue you an opinion. Most of what they offer are not the deals they seem to be. Below are two examples.

The first is their Barbra Streisand VIP experience. American Express charged $1800 per ticket for two tickets, 15th row center floor. The VIP experience includes a laminate you wear around your neck which is good for nothing. It is a proverbial “badge of honor.” It also includes a parking pass and a program.

Arguably, about $50 worth of amenities. The same seats, sold through Ticketmaster, without being “VIP” sell at $750+$30 in service charges. Musical Chairs bought these seats for $900/ea (the seller could not go) and sold them for $1300/ea. American Express really wins, we win, but the seller is THE BIG LOSER. If he had called us first we would have issued an opinion not to buy those and why.

The second example is the Rolling Stones at Dodger Stadium. American Express charged $750 per ticket for tickets in F7 row 14 with the same type of “VIP” package. A client decided not to go and called us to sell them. We saw that we could buy them for a non-speculative price of $450 per ticket (face) and offered him $250 each (a larger than normal spread which reflects the falling market in Rolling Stone tickets for that show). We just saved him $1000 by telling him to send them back to Amex. The date was changed and he bought them before the change took place. Thus, for your own good, you are best off to stick with Amex for their credit card services and not their “VIP” ticketing service.

The above leads to the next topic, something Musical Chairs has become an expert in, selling tickets below face value. I guess you might say we have become the “Anti-Scalper” Scalpers. I feel like Irwin in the commercials for Sit & Sleep. Marilyn, our accountant, says “You’re killing me, Brad.” Selling tickets below face value!!! That is not how ticket brokering works.

We can sell below face for two reasons:

First, contrary to most brokers, we work on the economic theory that the market is determined by what consumers will pay. The market is not determined by what we have paid. Thus, if we bought Who tickets for $300/ea (we did), we are only interested in getting the most back regardless of what we paid. If the market tells us we must charge $200/ea and if we hold on to the ticket we will only get $150, we would rather sell it for $200. Most brokers work on the idea that they must get what they paid, give them away, or send them to the street. This has never made economic sense to us.

Second, we find people who are stuck with seats willing to sell at fire sale prices under face value. Thus, we just bought some Barbra Streisand tickets for $33 per ticket which we have been marketing at $95. The face value including TM charges is $120 per ticket. Another example, we bought two $350 tickets for $200/ea and sold them for $300/ea. Again, everyone is a winner other than the seller. The moral: Tickets often sell for less on the secondary market.

This is happening more frequently. It happened with the Who, Roger Waters, Lakers games, Barbra Streisand, and the Rolling Stones.

Something to think about before you buy your next tickets.