Demand for a four-show run at SoFi Stadium in California by BTS was so high, it’s causing some superfans of the KPop outfit to consider trying to retaliate against LA Chargers and Rams fans.
That’s the kind of week it has been in ticketing, as the wildly popular group’s fans wrestled with buggy systems, enormous queues, and rapidly dwindling chances to catch the band’s first in-person shows in two years. And not a single ticket was even offered to the general public, as the entire quantity of nearly 400,000 tickets was sold out before that day came.
“Due to overwhelming past purchaser & verified fan presale demand for BTS PERMISSION TO DANCE ON STAGE – LA, all shows are sold out & tickets are not available for the public onsale,” read a tweet from Ticketmaster Fan Support sent out at 11:06 AM Friday, just hours before the general public was scheduled to get their shot at tickets to the residency this fall.
Due to overwhelming past purchaser & Verified Fan presale demand for BTS PERMISSION TO DANCE ON STAGE – LA, all shows are sold out & tickets are not available for the public onsale.
— Ticketmaster Fan Support (@TMFanSupport) October 9, 2021
The availability for the residency had apparently been picked clean already, with at least four specific groups given the full allotment of somewhere around 100,000 available tickets per show (the maximum capacity of SoFi Stadium is estimated at around that figure, though it’s general capacity for football games is closer to 70,000. Tuesday saw VIP ticket purchasers of the cancelled Map of the Soul tour get first crack at the tickets, followed by other MOTS ticket purchasers on Wednesday. Thursday saw tickets held back for the BTS Global Official FanClub (who were subsequently vetted for priority by Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan system) followed by Friday’s general Verified Fan offering. Plus, there were almost certainly tickets made available to corporate clients, businesses, promotional partners, and Personal Seat License holders at the stadium.
Needless to say, those who were left empty-handed when Ticketmaster announced the event was sold out entirely were very unhappy with how it went – and you didn’t have to look any further than replies to the @TMFanSupport thread to see it.
“Honestly this is ridiculous,” wrote @azlg7. “I tried on two separate presale days to get tickets and we couldn’t get them. I haven’t seen BTS in concert since 2019 and we had 8 tickets to the map of the soul concert. We were going for both nights. And now we can’t.”
Honestly this is ridiculous. I tried on two separate presale days to get tickets and we couldn’t get them. I haven’t seen BTS in concert since 2019 and we had 8 tickets to the map of the soul concert. We were going for both nights. And now we can’t.
— Lyla :)🧈 (@azlg7) October 10, 2021
“Man we should just sell out their football games and resell them for scalper prices,” wrote @m0chilatte. “MUCH NEEDED KARMA.”
Man we should just sell out their football games and resell them for scalper prices. 🤣MUCH NEEDED KARMA
— ♡NOTICED BY JIMIN ON VLIVE ⁷♡ (@m0chilattae) October 9, 2021
Even here at TicketNews, we caught some fan anger for reporting on the initial response to the frenzy of the ticket sale – with one series of tweets implying that we were mocking BTS fans for being upset with the process. (For the record, any BTS fans who read this, we are not at all mocking you for being crushed by missing out on tickets, we are definitely familiar with that emotional gutpunch). We were also called out for enabling the “scalpers” and fueling the demand-driven pricing of the tickets available on resale websites because we shared a link to a resale site that is a partner of TicketNews.
But the real question that will not be answered is – what percentage of the tickets were ever even actually offered to “real” fans in the first place. We already know that event organizers didn’t bother going through the motions of having a ‘general public’ sale at all. But without transparency on what ticket allocations go to each tranche of availability, nobody can say what cut of tickets was actually gobbled up by “scalpers” or football fan PSL rights-holders who are now flipping them for major markups. Or, inversely, what cut of tickets was never put to any of the presales, and was instead directly moved to the secondary market by insiders.
There are numerous examples of this sort of behavior happening with high-profile events. A report by then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman found that on some events, as much as 90 percent of tickets were held back. Live Nation has admitted that some artists and tour operators hold back tickets that are directly diverted to the secondary market to sell at markup – a long practiced but often denied marketing tactic. Even Ed Sheeran’s management – arguably the most vehemently anti-resale group in the music business today – has admitted to shifting tickets directly to resale
Whenever transparency regarding ticket availability has been proposed in a legislative arena, it has been immediately targeted by an aggressive lobby from venue and promoter interests. When Ontario authorities had holdback transparency provisions in an early version of legislation designed to reform ticketing in the province, Ticketmaster and Music Canada Live said that many acts would simply avoid touring in the province (which includes the largest city in Canada and approximately 40 percent of the entire country’s population within its borders) if such transparency were required.
For BTS fans, please note that none of this implies that the band is behind any nefarious undertakings here. But the fact is that there are an enormous number of people involved in an undertaking of this nature, and the actual numbers of what tickets for what show are being moved at what time to what group are a tightly held secret.
Whether it’s season ticket members taking advantage of a known hot market, “scalpers” sneaking in and tricking the vaunted “verified fan” algorithm into believing they are true BTS stans, or industry insiders holding 1/4 of the building in their back pocket to sell at a higher price because the event is already “sold out” – it’s the fans who are stuck holding the bag at the end of the day, and that’s why they’re so angry right now with entities like Ticketmaster, who exist to both move tickets, but also to take the brunt of the anger as the public face telling folks the show is sold out and their only remaining option is 4-5x more expensive than “face value.”
It has been more than two years since the BOSS Act – championed by New Jersey Rep Bill Pascrell – was reintroduced to Congress in hopes of a federal level remedy to the patchwork of ticketing legislation that makes situations such as the one BTS fans were faced with over the past week so common. It would require transparency in holdbacks, and in fees being charged to consumers as two of its bedrock principles. Thus far, it has not been able to gain traction in Washington D.C., but perhaps yet another situation like this will get fresh momentum for the reform of the ticketing world in a way that would benefit consumers across the U.S.
For those who don’t get BTS tickets through the box office, TicketNews partner TicketClub.com is a good place to check for tickets with all-in pricing for members (AKA no service fees tacked on that make the price go up by 20-30% from what you first saw on the website). Grab a complimentary one year membership courtesy of TicketClub.com here and visit the BTS page to see what tickets are available for the shows if they are sold out.