It appears that price floors are propping up the ticket market for yet another high profile event, this time the Dead & Company Dead Forever residency at The Sphere in Las Vegas. A review of upcoming shows indicates that shoppers on independent ticket resale marketplaces – which are not subject to price controls put in place by the venue or tour promoter – are finding far lower prices than through the “official” platform, Ticketmaster.

Looking at Friday’s performance by Dead & Company at the hot new venue in sin city, tickets through the box office are available for no less than $141.57 as of Tuesday afternoon. “Standard Admission” (non resale) tickets were available for prices starting at $182.35 on Ticketmaster.

With worldwide headlines about how outrageous ticket prices have gotten in the post-pandemic live events scene, those numbers don’t seem too bad. They’re far below what fans had to pay for the previous Sphere residency by Phish, though that was only for a four-day run which means far fewer tickets were available overall for their fan base than what Dead & Company fans can choose from. But check out the price difference outside of the “official” box office.

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For Friday’s concert, tickets to Dead & Company at The Sphere can be had for as little as $101 each at TicketClub.com – a ticket resale marketplace. Tickets for the most desirable 200-level can be had starting at $170 including all fees. Looking at the box office, the least expensive 200-level seats appear to be consistently priced at exactly $349.69. By our count, there are 10 pairs of tickets in Section 211 at exactly that price point, with another three groups of seats in Section 201 and two others in 202 at that mark. “Standard Tickets” in the 200 level are set at $368.

Dead & Company tickets at Ticket Club for Friday's performance.

Floor seats for that show don’t make any pretext about protecting remaining unsold box office ticket inventory from competition with resale listings. The “face value exchange ticket” system where fans are supposed to list tickets they’ve purchased and cannot use has tickets available for purchase through Ticketmaster at $395. Unsold “standard admission” tickets in the same general admission area are going for $368.31 – meaning fans trying to just recoup their purchase price are at a $27 disadvantage because they can’t choose what price they’re willing to take for their tickets and the venue wants to clear its unsold tickets.

Listings for the same GA floor seats on Ticket Club for Friday start at $224.

Dead & Company tickets for sale at Ticketmaster

“Price floors are an unfortunate reality that consumers often face when shopping for tickets,” says Ticket Club spokesperson Sean Burns. “On open and competitive marketplaces, sellers are free to price tickets to where people are willing to buy them. But that’s often not the case on platforms where the event operator can choose to turn on both dynamic surge pricing systems to inflate prices when demand is high, and then set a price floor for resale to keep prices inflated when demand is low.”

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Price floors have long been an issue for ticket-buying consumers in instances where the event operator, team, or venue has control over the marketplace. Such practices have drawn recent headlines, like when Bruce Springsteen’s tour used them for multiple shows last year. In one notable instance, tickets for a Tulsa performance were available for $73.70 through the Ticketmaster box office – 10 times more than the $7 one could get the same seats for through another resale marketplace – MEGASeats. A similar split was shown at Travis Scott dates later last year.

FURTHER READING | Tanking Tulsa Dates Shows Springsteen Using Ticket Price Floors

Ed Sheeran fans were burned by such a system in place for one tour that locked all ticket resale to the “twickets” system – which set both a maximum price and a minimum price that those who purchased tickets they couldn’t use could sell them for – only to see remaining box office seats sold for less than the resale minimum price, causing many fans to lose their entire price paid if they couldn’t attend because they couldn’t set a price that anyone would buy their tickets.

FURTHER READING | Ed Sheeran in Hot Water Over Resale Restrictions Harming Fans

Price floors also have faced legal scrutiny for their use in the past. The National Football League agreed to scrap a league-wide price floor that was put in place for resale tickets on their “official” marketplace (also powered by Ticketmaster’s system,) after multiple state Attorney Generals went after them for the practice more than five years ago.

“No sports fan should be forced to buy, or sell, a ticket at an artificially inflated price,” said then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “Under the NFL’s price floor scheme, fans were forced to pay inflated prices for even the least desirable NFL games. That is a slap to both sports fans and free markets. My office will continue to fight for the rights of sports fans and concertgoers by ensuring that secondary markets are free and competitive. In the meantime, I encourage every NFL team—and every team in professional sports—to heed the call of all sports fans and remove price floors from every team-authorized secondary ticket market.”

Dead & Company tickets for the Dead Forever residency appear to be widely available for all of the remaining dates on both the “official” box office site and all resale platforms. The residency – which saw six shows added after its initial sales period due to allegedly high demand for tickets – runs through mid-July.

Dead & Company Tickets

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Dead & Company at The Sphere Upcoming Shows

Friday, May 24 | Sphere Las Vegas
Saturday, May 25 | Sphere Las Vegas
Sunday, May 26 | Sphere Las Vegas
Thursday, May 30 | Sphere Las Vegas
Friday, May 31 | Sphere Las Vegas
Saturday, June 1 | Sphere Las Vegas
Thursday, June 6 | Sphere Las Vegas
Friday, June 7 | Sphere Las Vegas
Saturday, June 8 | Sphere Las Vegas
Thursday, June 13 | Sphere Las Vegas
Friday, June 14 | Sphere Las Vegas
Saturday, June 15 | Sphere Las Vegas
Thursday, June 20 | Sphere Las Vegas
Friday, June 21 | Sphere Las Vegas
Saturday, June 22 | Sphere Las Vegas
Thursday, July 4 | Sphere Las Vegas
Friday, July 5 | Sphere Las Vegas
Saturday, July 6 | Sphere Las Vegas
Thursday, July 11 | Sphere Las Vegas
Friday, July 12 | Sphere Las Vegas
Saturday, July 13 | Sphere Las Vegas