Primary ticket company Telecharge has begun exclusive offers of premium tickets to some popular Broadway shows, an admission of sorts that the company withholds certain tickets in an effort to keep them out of the hands of ticket brokers.
In an email to customers over the weekend under the subject line, “We’re saving the best seats for you! Telecharge.com Premium Seating,” the company spelled out details of the new program, which emphasizes that these premium tickets are often available at the last minute. Among other things, the company takes a direct shot at the secondary ticket market by stressing that its Premium Seating offerings are without “hidden brokers’ fees.”
The text of the email reads:
When you use Telecharge.com Premium Seating, you can get great, last-minute seats to top Broadway shows — even the ones you thought were sold-out! We give you the inside track on hard-to-get tickets, direct from the box office. No hidden brokers’ fees! It’s the most hassle-free, reliable, and trusted way to get exactly the seats you want.
Think of it as a special VIP box office, just for you. Just take a look at the phenomenal shows we’re offering right now and click on any logo for the best seats…
Secondary market sales of Broadway tickets is a lucrative business for many brokers and ticket exchanges, due partly to the steady stream of tourists who visit New York City from around the U.S. and the world.
At the same time, several shows are forced to discount tickets and move them through TKTS booths in order to fill otherwise near-empty theaters. The move by Telecharge can help the company preserve premium prices, or set its own price. Telecharge, the nation’s seventh-largest primary ticket seller, is owned by the Shubert Corporation, which is one of Broadway’s premiere producers and theater owners.
Under the program, for example, premium “Billy Elliot” tickets were selling for $199 each for Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday evening performances, and $256.50 per ticket for Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinee shows. All tickets include a $1.50 facilities fee.
On Ticketmaster-owned secondary ticket exchange Web site TicketsNow.com, Orchestra tickets for a Friday, March 25 performance of the musical, including some tickets labeled as Center Orchestra, were listed for $125 through $339 a piece.
“I applaud Telecharge’s transparency that the best tickets are now available on their premium seating section,” said Don Vaccaro, founder and CEO of third-party ticket exchange TicketNetwork. “When venue operators tell consumers the truth everyone wins.”
The Telecharge email goes on to say, “Get ‘the best seats in the house,’ even on the day of the performance! Plus, Telecharge.com gives you exact seat locations right when you order – a service that most other companies can’t provide. With Premium Seating, you can get the best possible seats for the most popular shows, and you can go when you want — no waiting months to see your show.”
TicketNetwork is the parent company of TicketNews.