By Stacey Willets
Hannah Montana. Van Halen. Bruce Springsteen. Someone in the ticket industry made three very good wishes.
It doesn’t take a veteran market analyst to know what to expect when tickets for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band go on sale tomorrow morning. The industry already caught a preview when Springsteen’s Belfast show sold out in a record eight minutes yesterday, great for sellers, but the cause of some consumers spinning conspiracy theories about Ticketmaster withholding seats and brokers snagging all the tickets before they could go on sale.
There are many ways that brokers acquire tickets, most of which are the same ways the rest of us get them. They phone in orders, they buy online through Ticketmaster or Live Nation, and they stand in line at the venues and local ticket outlets. They join fan clubs to participate in presales or take part in special offers exclusive to some major credit card holders. They even buy their tickets from other brokers on the secondary market. The difference between your established broker and the average consumer is that the broker is much more seasoned at obtaining tickets, most likely has multiple people involved in the buy, and overall has much better connections. . .
But with Springsteen tickets already appearing on secondary sites such as top-ranked StubHub.com, second-ranked TicketsNow.com, third-ranked TicketLiquidator.com, fourth-ranked ABCtickets.com, fifth-ranked RazorGator.com, seventh-ranked CoasttoCoastTickets.com, and tenth-ranked TicketsPlus.com, it isn’t hard to see why people are suspicious. How could so many tickets be available before the on-sale?
The reality is that buying Bruce Springsteen tickets before this weekend is somewhat similar to when you pre-ordered your final installment of the Harry Potter series. The brokers may not have all the tickets in hand just yet, but they do have the resources to get them. They take Springsteen orders confident in their ability to provide the tickets requested. It may seem like a gamble to some, but finding hard-to-get tickets is the broker’s specialty and most major secondary sites have a buyer guarantee that if sellers cannot get exactly what a customers orders, they must provide seats of equal or better value for the price paid.
So if brokers aren’t hoarding all the tickets, how do they sell out so quickly? Consider the number of ways tickets can be purchased at the on-sale. Buyers can call the primary agent, go to the venue box office, visit local ticket outlets, or visit the primary seller’s website. Just as there are only so many phone lines that can be answered at once, even Ticketmaster.com and LiveNation.com can handle only so many web users at a time. Buying online doesn’t eliminate the queue. A consumer may believe that a high speed Internet connection and constantly refreshing the web page until tickets go on sale will ensure that he or she is first in the virtual line, but in this Web savvy era, thousands of other fans are doing the exact same thing.
It’s this mad dash for tickets that keeps primary sites such as Ticketmaster.com and LiveNation.com at the top of the Primary Sellers chart. Third-ranked Tickets.com should also see increased traffic due to advertisements for one Springsteen show on its site. This week’s other Top Primary Sellers include TicketWeb.com at number four, Etix.com at five, Tix.com at six, Telecharge.com at seven, TicketsWest.com at eight, GrooveTickets.com at nine, and UNLVtickets.com at ten.
There is also the likelihood that tickets for Springsteen will sell out quickly because of consumers buying extra seats. Unlike Kelly Clarkson, for example, Bruce Springsteen is a sure thing, which means that not only are established brokers looking to secure seats, but with the ease and accessibility of auction sites like eBay, novice resellers may also crop up. A Springsteen fan may grab a couple extra tickets in an attempt to make a few easy bucks, or perhaps your average Joe will try to recoup his money after coming off a bad financial decision like buying the iPhone at the original price the week it came out.
Yes, there will undoubtedly be fewer primary tickets available tomorrow than consumers anxiously trying to purchase them, but empty-handed buyers needn’t despair that Springsteen’s devotees will miss out on the shows. The industry giants aren’t hiding the tickets. Whether tickets are bought on the primary market or secondary market, in the end the seats are filled with fans.
To see all the Top Tens rankings, check out the press release in the Daily Buzz section of TicketNews.com. Visit the Industry resources section of TicketNews.com for full lists of the Top Twenty Secondary Ticket Sellers and the Top Twenty Overall Ticket Sellers, to read an explanation of how we calculate the rankings, or to download the application for inclusion in our rankings.