Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Failed Ticket Broker

For some strange reason, I thought I would give buying and reselling event tickets on StubHub a shot. I did some investigation into the legality of such activity here in Massachusetts, and learned that as long as I'm not selling tickets for other events in Mass, I should be in the clear.

So, I checked online for some forthcoming concert tours that might lend to quick sellouts and high demand for secondary-market tickets. I zeroed in on one artist.

Kelly Clarkson.

I figured she was still pretty hot, and was playing venues that weren't enormous.

My strategy was picking some large markets or unique venues, and going for it. On the list were Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC, Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, The Joint at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, and - in a why not decision - Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine.

I searched for presale codes, and managed to score many of the ticket in presale or right when they went on sale. Before I knew it, I had 5 pairs of tickets, and was in the hole about $900.

I registered with StubHub and posted all of the tickets for sale, pricing them accordingly as to how the market appeared to be setting itself. My calculations projected about $1,400 in revenue after StubHub fees, posting a tidy 55% profit in just a month or two.

Or so I thought.

Weeks went buy, and the tickets languished there on StubHub. I lowered the price once.

Then again.

And again.

We're quickly approaching the event dates, and I'm still holding all 5 of these pairs. Grrr.

Mentally, at this point, I have already written the cash off. The tickets were bought and paid for, and I had paid my credit card bill. Anything I could recoup would simply be found money, I figured.

It was time to salvage something. Anything.

So I started slashing prices and turned to the murky waters of Craiglist to find buyers. Thankfully, I managed to unload the Portland tickets (first, actually), followed by the NYC ones. Each buyer essentially received a 2-for-1 deal.

The Mohegan Sun tickets - where I bought two pairs - went unsold. I doubled down and ended up with a measly 14 against the dealer's 20. Yuck. I sent the tickets to my friend Stacey and told her to have fun, which she did.

That left the Las Vegas tickets. One final pair for a show in early November. Somehow, I got lucky, and a buyer snatched them up on StubHub. Oddly enough, I think I even managed a small profit (10%) after fees and shipping charges. I FedEx'ed those tickets away yesterday, and am now thankfully without any remaining inventory.

So, my life as a ticket broker was a short, unprofitable one. I ended up in the hole about $500, or about half the cost of the new kitchen table I'm eyeing. But, I'll chalk it up as a lesson that I won't likely attempt again.

I'm now receiving a ton of emails from Ticketmaster. They must think I'm Kelly's biggest fan.


Anonymous said...

Reselling tickets in bad economy might be still risky ><, hope you have better luck in other things next time =D

Kathy said...

Ugh!! Really?

Ticket brokers are taking a huge hit on lots of big names and even the red sox (when they were still playing) in this downturn.

I bought tickets for both U2 shows at Wembley Stadium and Gillette for face value for some really great seats. I waited until the last minute to go to Chicago to see them and bought tickets BELOW face value for two shows from Ace Ticket in Boston!!!!!!!! Yay me! Kick in the arse to the brokers!

Oh and Kelly Clarkson? Was she selling out those dates at the small venues or was she playing there because that was all she could maybe fill up?

Sorry you did not have success, but brokers/scalpers/touts whatever you want to label them are dirtbags!

Josh said...

You're lucky she isn't using ticketmaster's new ticketing platform, where they don't send you tickets - instead, the person that purchased the tickets needs to swipe their credit card at the door to admit everyone at the same time. Miley Cyrus is doing a concert at the garden soon and she is using the new ticketmaster platform.