When upcoming “hot ticket” events go on sale — Beyoncé, Wicked or the NBA Playoffs — they usually sell out in minutes. That leaves many disappointed fans no choice but to buy tickets on the secondary market.
But even when a performance is not sold out, many people buy from an unofficial ticket seller to get what they perceive to be “a great deal” or the only option available.
Sometimes that works out, but as the vice president of marketing with the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, I see instances where these deals are anything but great.
You’re not just out the money — you’re out a positive experience. Most people start really looking forward to a performance the minute they learn a show is coming to town, and even more so once they buy tickets. They call friends and family, they post on social media; the excitement builds until the day of the show, especially when they arrive at the performance with friends and family, tickets in hand.
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Venues like the Arsht Center set a price that presents an appropriate value proposition for the ticket buyer — but once you go with an unauthorized seller, the value proposition changes to one that is less desirable.
Too often, people show up at the venue believing the tickets they purchased from another vendor are legitimate. And others may come with a valid ticket — but soon learn they paid two to three times what everyone else paid — or they’re sitting two or three sections farther from the stage than they expected.
The Arsht Center is working to protect the public from the perils of the secondary ticket market. The aim of a new campaign (including a short animated video) is to raise awareness and educate the public that anyone can fall victim to deceptive ticket selling practices.
Many secondary ticket brokers sell tickets for up to two to three times the face value —sometimes more. For the Arsht Center alone, this means consumers pay approximately an additional $250,000-$500,000 a year for tickets on the secondary market.
State laws about resale of performance tickets vary. Adopted in 2015, Florida statute 817.36 addresses resale of tickets from venues of a certain capacity, such as the Arsht Center, and states that “a person or entity that offers for resale or resells any ticket may charge only $1 above the admission price charged therefore by the original ticket seller.” Because many secondary brokers charge more, their actions are clearly illegal.
Like the Arsht Center, other venues have taken steps to protect the public.
For example, the Miami Heat created a safe and secure online platform called the TicketExchange that allows fans to purchase tickets directly from Heat season ticketholders.
We want you, your friends and family to have the most positive experience possible when you go to a concert, theater performance or sports attraction. The best way to ensure this is to buy tickets directly from the authorized ticket seller — usually the venue’s box office or the official website.
There are benefits to buying from the authorized ticket seller. For one, buyers get peace of mind and reassurance that their tickets are real. They also pay the true face value and know they can contact the authorized seller if they have a problem. Buyers can also count on being notified of any important changes to the schedule or a performance.
Going forward, the Arsht Center and performing arts centers nationwide will continue to do all we can to protect patrons.
But the public needs to do its part as well — buying directly from the authorized ticket seller — to ensure a great day or night out enjoying the performing arts.
Andrew Goldberg is vice president of marketing with The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.