Many venues are sold out for Madonna’s 40th anniversary tour in 2023-2024, with tickets selling quickly. Fortunately, there’s still a way to ensure that you are “WELCOME TO THE party, bitches” as Madonna announced her invitation to fans to her tour. Produced by Live Nation, the 39-city global tour with 79 shows will kick off in North America on July 15 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC and ends on January 20 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ.
While the tour has sold out at many arenas, there are plenty of tickets on the resale market. Unfortunately for fans, many of those tickets are controlled by Ticketmaster on their resale platform. This control is both leading to higher ticket prices as well as making it more difficult to get the tickets into the hands of fans.
Now, available tickets for Madonna’s August 23rd Madison Square Garden show are dominated by Ticketmaster’s control of resale tickets. Joe Berchtold, President and Chief Financial Officer of Live Nation Entertainment, stated at a recent US Senate Judicial Committee hearing that “Ticketmaster has a modest market share” of the resale market. Yet, MSG/Ticketmaster, do not list any primary tickets for sale. What we do see is a ton of tickets for resale, shown by all the red dots on the map below. Nearly the entirety of the primary tickets listed by Ticketmaster made their way to their own secondary platform.
Ticketmaster tickets are listed as higher than face value, and in many cases more expensive than other resale websites. While Ticketmaster lists two tickets in Section 221 for a total of $394.09, the upstart website MEGASeats is selling similar tickets in the same Section for $331.50, over $62 in savings. MEGASeats is a ticketing website that bills itself as a “no fees” marketplace. This discrepancy in prices is direct evidence to refute their Live Nation’s claim that high prices are caused by “scalpers”.
Ticketmaster not only adds fees to the primary ticket sales, but they also add additional fees to the resales on their site. And when fans complain about the ticket prices, they conveniently cast blame on everyone else, including “ill-informed fans”, greedy scalpers and useless elected government officials.
At a recent Pollstar conference, after the senate hearing, Irving Azoff, the live entertainment industry guru and representative of mega acts such as Garth Brooks, as well as the former CEO of Ticketmaster and chairman of Live Nation, immediately convened a panel of “experts”. The panel included Brooks, Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan, and former attorney general for the United States Department of Justice’s antitrust division Makan Delrahim. They immediately launched a full frontal attack on the US Senate and ticket resellers. Brooks went so far as to suggest that ticket resellers should be put to death.
Dolan, when asked about Ticketmaster’s role participating in the secondary market while publicly attacking secondary ticket selling, stated that “you can’t expect Ticketmaster to abandon the secondary market…that’s not fair.”
Some might think that controlling all ticket sales on both the primary and secondary market might be unfair.
Every one of those red dots on the chart above are tickets that Ticketmaster has sold and are reselling at additional fees and profits, while at the same time damning resellers and suggesting the death sentence.
Ticketmaster/Live Nation’s control of tickets, venues and artists is not just about skyrocketing ticket prices. The cartel, as part of its strategy to control ticketing and ultimately giving the middle finger to fans, also enforce floor pricing. Essentially tickets cannot be sold for a price lower than dictated by their organization. This is not what is defined as a free market, and it cannot be good for the fans.
Berchtold admitted that they “strongly support secure ticket transfer and technologies allowing artists and sports teams to control the terms of resale for the shows and games.” The monopolistic control of live entertainment also has a detrimental effect on fans’ ability to manage, move and use their tickets.
They are now beginning to dominate the secondary market and dictate when and how tickets can be sold by private citizens, all the while collecting their personal information before allowing them to transfer tickets. Many ticket sellers, also called brokers, are having a difficult time delivering their tickets to the customers. When Ticketmaster policies slow or halt ticket transfers, the brokers are at the same time selling their tickets, but then cannot transfer or deliver the seats to fans.
The problem becomes even more acute when they are trying to sell on other exchanges. Ticketmaster has regularly turned the transfer feature off so the brokers cannot deliver the tickets. One broker, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from Ticketmaster/Live Nation, sold tickets to a mother who wanted to transfer the tickets to her daughter for her birthday and was unable to do so. This is a common story in the industry.
Berchtold, at the same senate hearing stated that ticket reselling “is fueled by practices that run counter to the interests of artists and fans.” Yet, for the Madonna tour, and others, they are dominating the secondary market.
While Ticketmaster/Live Nation sell their tickets two or more times and get paid, the brokers and the fans pay higher fees and get their tickets late or not at all. It is clear who the winners and losers are in this scenario.
But Berchtold’s doublespeak does not end there. He suggested that the senate should “mandate ‘all-in pricing,’” meaning that fans should know the full cost of their tickets from the start. “The all-in price is the real price of admission, and that ought to be the first thing a fan sees.” Ticketmaster could do that today without legislation. In fact, several other websites already do so, such as the above-mentioned MEGASeats. When asked by a senator why they are not already following this practice, he changed the subject.
Selling a ticket, and then forcing a buyer to resell the ticket through your website at jacked-up prices is just plain Un-American, and almost mirrors the tactics used by street gangsters and criminal cartels. When the senate allowed the creation of the Live Nation/Ticketmaster cartel, they created this problem of off-the-chart ticket prices. The question now becomes will they become part of the solution.
In the meantime, if you want to get good ticket at good prices, shop around with other sellers like MEGASeats.
Madonna The Celebration Tour Dates
North American Leg
Sat Jul 15 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
Tue Jul 18 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena
Wed Jul 19 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena
Sat Jul 22 – Phoenix, AZ – Footprint Center
Tue Jul 25 – Denver, CO – Ball Arena
Thu Jul 27 – Tulsa, OK – BOK Center
Sun Jul 30 – St. Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center
Wed Aug 02 – Cleveland, OH – Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
Sat Aug 05 – Detroit, MI – Little Caesars Arena
Mon. Aug 07 – Pittsburgh, PA – PPG Paints Arena
Wed Aug 09 – Chicago, IL – United Center
Thu Aug 10 – Chicago, IL – United Center
Sun Aug 13 – Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena
Mon Aug 14 – Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena
Sat Aug 19 – Montreal, QC – Centre Bell
Sun Aug 20 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
Wed Aug 23 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Thu Aug 24 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Sat Aug 26 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Sun Aug 27 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Wed Aug 30 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
Thu Aug 31 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
Sat Sep 02 – Washington, DC – Capital One Arena
Tue Sep 05 – Atlanta, GA – State Farm Arena
Thu Sep 07 – Tampa, FL – Amalie Arena
Sat Sep 09 – Miami, FL – Miami-Dade Arena
Sun Sep 10 – Miami, FL – Miami-Dade Arena
Wed Sep 13 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
Thu Sep 14 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
Mon Sep 18 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
Tue Sep 19 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
Thu Sep 21 – Austin, TX – Moody Center
Fri Sep 22 – Austin, TX – Moody Center
Wed Sep 27 – Los Angeles, CA – Crypto.com Arena
Thu Sep 28 – Los Angeles, CA – Crypto.com Arena
Sat Sep 30 – Los Angeles, CA – Crypto.com Arena
Wed Oct 04 – San Francisco, CA – Chase Center
Thu Oct 05 – San Francisco, CA – Chase Center
Sat Oct 07 – Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena
Sun Oct 08 – Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena
Sat Oct 14 – London, UK – The O2
Sun Oct 15 – London, UK – The O2
Tue Oct 17 – London, UK – The O2
Wed Oct 18 – London, UK – The O2
Sat Oct 21 – Antwerp, BE – Sportpaleis
Sun Oct 22 – Antwerp, BE – Sportpaleis
Wed. Oct. 25 – Copenhagen, DK – Royal Arena
Thu Oct 26 – Copenhagen, DK – Royal Arena
Sat Oct 28 – Stockholm, SE – Tele2
Wed Nov 01 – Barcelona, ES – Palau Sant Jordi
Thu Nov 2 – Barcelona, ES – Palau Sant Jordi
Mon Nov 06 – Lisbon, PT – Altice Arena
Tue Nov 7 – Lisbon, PT – Altice Arena
Sun Nov 12 – Paris, FR – Accor Arena
Mon Nov 13 – Paris, FR – Accor Arena
Wed Nov 15 – Cologne, DE – Lanxess Arena
Thu Nov 16 – Cologne, DE – Lanxess Arena
Sun, Nov 19 – Paris, FR – Accor Arena
Mon Nov 20 – Paris, FR – Accor Arena
Thu Nov 23 – Milan, IT – Mediolanum Forum
Sat Nov 25 – Milan, IT – Mediolanum Forum
Tue Nov 28 – Berlin, DE – Mercedes-Benz Arena
Wed Nov 29 – Berlin, DE – Mercedes-Benz Arena
Fri Dec 1 – Amsterdam, NL – Ziggo Dome
Sat Dec 2 – Amsterdam, NL – Ziggo Dome
Tue Dec 5 – London, UK – The O2
Wed Dec 6 – London, UK – The O2
North American Second Leg
Wed Dec 13 – Brooklyn, NY | Barclays Center
Thu Dec 14 – Brooklyn, NY | Barclays Center
Mon Dec 18 – Washington D.C. | Capital One Arena
Wed Dec 20 – Philadelphia, PA | Wells Fargo Center
Fri Dec 22 – Nashville, TN | Bridgestone Arena
Sun Jan 7 – Los Angeles, CA | Kia Forum
Mon Jan 8 – Los Angeles, CA | Kia Forum
Thu Jan 11 – Palm Springs, CA | Acrisure Arena
Sat Jan 13 – Sacramento, CA | Golden 1 Center
Mon Jan 15 – San Francisco, CA | Chase Center
Thu Jan 18 – Las Vegas, NV | MGM Grand Garden Arena
Sat Jan 20 – Phoenix, AZ | Footprint Center