The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas is hosting two superstar residencies this year. Adele is performing 68 show series “Weekends with Adele” from November 2022 through November 2023. Garth Brooks’ 27 shows, “Garth Brooks/Plus One”, will begin May 18th and extend into 2024, though the extended schedule hasn’t yet been released.
One performer has multiple websites providing opportunities for hard-to-get tickets, while the other will have Ticketmaster as their primary ticketing agent without many other options. Can you guess who is using Ticketmaster with limited choices?
If you guessed Brooks, you would win the prize. If you have been paying attention, you would know that Brooks has publicly stated that he is all in with Ticketmaster. Unfortunately for fans, evidence exists that shows Ticketmaster’s ticketing policies consistently result in higher prices for consumers.
But that does not seem to mean much for some artists. Brooks, the country star who has been selling out venues and making millions of dollars for a generation, and who gave the proverbial finger to the ticket consumer in written testimony to the senate, stated that “when it comes to smaller venues, residencies, etc., the price of a ticket is going to be high. That’s just because of the lesser number of seats pushed by the price the artist is demanding from the venue.” He went further to say that it is up to entertainers like himself “to find other ways for people who can’t afford the cost of that ticket to sing along for a lesser price or even free.” Many fans are still waiting for those sing-alongs.
You might ask, what difference does it make who sells the tickets? When it comes to ticket prices, accessibility, and transferability it makes a big difference.
As we have reported in previous articles, Ticketmaster and Live Nations’ control of ticketing almost always harms consumers. Since the mega merger of those companies fourteen years ago, the resulting cartel’s domination of the live entertainment market has led to higher ticket prices, mainly through excessive fees, as well as making it more difficult to get the tickets into the hands of fans. After the US government approved the merger, and after many years of seeing ticketing disasters after disasters in the industry, they decided to take another look at their decision.
For the Brooks concerts, we went online to compare the prices between the Ticketmaster monopoly system of selling tickets and the secondary free market. As in the past, we discovered that with a little bit of effort fans could find savings, sometimes significant, by searching around.
As you can see from the sample below, tickets for the May 18th show in the same section, when purchased at the official box office Ticketmaster cost over $585 more than the tickets on the website MEGASeats.
Why are the tickets cheaper at MEGASeats.com The answer is simple, no added fees.
At the official website Ticketmaster, additional servicing and processing fees are added. When you start the process for purchasing, the price for the tickets is not the price you end with. The total ticket price mystery is not clear until you have entered your credit card information near the end of the checkout process, where tickets can increase by thirty to fifty percent.
Additionally, Ticketmaster states on the selling site for the Garth tickets that “all sales are final.” So, if a fan buys a ticket and then discovers that they cannot attend, they cannot exchange or sell their ticket. They are out of luck.
With MEGASeats.com, the mystery is taken out of the process. The ticketing website advertises itself as a no fees ticket seller, and they live up to that claim. Though at first glance the tickets available at Ticketmaster and MEGASeats in the same area of the arena may seem similar in price, by the end of the checkout process you see a huge difference in prices.
Because of the anti-consumer strategies employed by Ticketmaster such as floor pricing, dynamic pricing, and massive fees, MEGASeats ticket prices consistently come in lower than the competition, and oftentimes below face value. As this example shows, the free market does work for the consumers by fostering competition and lower prices.
The ticketing for Adele has gone a different route. The concert series sold out during presales and led to the cancellation of the general on-sale. But there are still plenty of tickets to be had through reseller sites like MEGASeats, StubHub, and Vivid Seats. Again, by spending a little time on the web you will find competition and savings between resellers.
Ticketing methods for concerts are usually determined by the artists, venues, promoters, or a combination of those. How and why the stark differences between ticketing availability for these two megastars is a mystery. We reached out for comment from Caesars Palace and received the following response; “Ticketmaster is the only authorized ticket seller of any event at The Colosseum.”
The government response has been varied. In January, the US Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the ticket market, providing a bipartisan slamming of Ticketmaster and Live Nation for decreasing competition in the market by controlling venues, tickets and artists.
The next month Senators Amy Klobuchar (Democrat) and Mike Lee (Republican) – Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights – sent a letter to Live Nation following up on their testimony and pressing them further on the lack of competition in the ticketing industry. The senators then forwarded a request to the Department of Justice requesting an investigation be launched.
From the reaction of several live entertainment mega personalities, the hearing clearly sent a message that the senate might seriously consider providing additional protections for consumers. Whether or not the US Senate takes real action is a question still left unanswered.
In the meantime, don’t wait for the government to get their act together to lower prices for your favorite shows, if you want to get a good ticket at good prices, shop around with other sellers like MEGASeats.
Last Updated on April 13, 2023 by Dave Clark