Fans who bought tickets to see superstars Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band at New Jersey’s Izod Center tonight, May 21, and Saturday night should feel especially fortunate they obtained tickets because according to figures on the number of tickets available for the show the odds were against them.
In documents obtained by the The Star-Ledger newspaper, just over 14,000 tickets were available to the general public for each concert, even though the arena holds more than 19,000.
Springsteen and the members of his band received nearly 2,000 tickets, and more than 2,100 went to executives at Sony Records, disabled fans, arena sponsors, media and promotional efforts and the Creative Artist Agency, according to the newspaper. In addition, nearly 1,100 tickets went to the event’s technical staff and were taken up by sound and lighting equipment.
“It’s unfortunate that fans were misled that most of the best tickets were made available to the public, when in fact they were not,” said Don Vaccaro, founder and CEO of TicketNetwork, which owns TicketNews. “More surprising is that an artist who claims to be for the common man would be part of that scheme.”
The newspaper got the documents from the office of New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram. She’s the AG who enticed Ticketmaster into a settlement over the way the company mishandled the sale of tickets by also allegedly rerouting customers to its TicketsNow subsidiary. Ticketmaster did not admit to any wrongdoing as a part of the settlement.
In a response to the newspaper, John Samerjan, of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA) which oversees concerts at the facility, disputes the breakdown of tickets saying, for example, the band, the media and technicians received far fewer tickets and the NJSEA received nearly 600.
Samerjan told TicketNews that instead of a little over 14,000 tickets, closer to 16,500 tickets were ultimately made available to the public because the Milgram settlement placed more than 1,600 back into the public till.
He defended the band’s take of nearly 2,000 by stressing that the band is from New Jersey, so it has a lot of friends, family, business partners and others from the area who want to attend.
“The holds were what they are for other shows everywhere in the country,” Samerjan said. “The numbers can be misleading because the numbers given out from the AG’s office were from February. They were not the final numbers.”
For example, Samerjan said in February the technical holds were slated to be more than 1,100, but ended up being about 600, and many of those tickets ended up going back on sale to the general public. In addition, the many of the 600 tickets the NJSEA received were also sold at face value to sponsors and others.
Regardless of which numbers are correct, the blackhole that has plagued the concert industry as it relates to holdbacks remains alive and well. The breakdown of who got tickets and how many is an example of the inner workings of the business, which has prompted Milgram’s office to investigate investigate the matter of withheld tickets, as first reported by TicketNews.
Samerjan said that because the NJSEA is a public entity it discloses the ticket holdbacks, which the public can often obtain within days of the show, and he said he believes that there should be more disclosure of where tickets go. Besides Milgram’s investigation, other government officials are looking into disclosure laws.
“It would delight us. We’re a public agency so we have to disclose this, but I would love to know from the private venues where tickets go. It would put us on an even playing field with them,” he said.
(The image accompanying this story is from BruceSpringsteen.net)
Last Updated on May 22, 2009 by By Alfred Branch Jr.