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How ticket re-sellers hurt the sports & entertainment industry

January 11, 2018
How ticket re-sellers hurt the sports & entertainment industry

There has been a lot of noise recently about the role ticket re-sellers, or secondary market sellers, are playing in the sports & entertainment industries. This topic has long been an issue for me, having worked in and maintained an intimate understanding of the commercial side of the industry over the past 15 years.

What is Ticket Re-Selling?

Ticket re-selling is when a business or individual obtains tickets to an event and re-sells them at an inflated price to make a profit. The pricing is added to the face value of the ticket with no other inclusions or benefits. Tickets can be obtained through legitimate sources with approval to be on sold, or obtained online through ticket bots once an event goes on sale.

There are often stories of thousands of tickets being available on re-sale sites within minutes of the event or show being on sale to the general public. These tickets have either been obtained online in the above manner, or they are being sold speculatively (meaning they don't actually have the tickets). There is an argument that ticket re-sellers provide more access for fans to attend events, rather than potentially missing out on a first in best dressed basis.

From a commercial perspective, the reason ticket re-selling occurs is usually due to an undersupply of tickets in the market, or that tickets are being under-priced initially. A lot of event promoters will endeavour to make ticket prices attractive as there is a positive flow on effect of more attendees, more food & beverage, more concession sales and so on.

TIXSTAR is a marketplace for sports + entertainment experiences, where the rights holders and authorised providers present their packages and experiences for enquiry or purchase by customers. These providers control all aspects of their ad listings and these listings are the same as what is available on their websites or via their own sales teams.

As a dedicated booking platform for experiences and events, these packages are more than just a ticket and usually these experiences include food & beverages, access to VIP or exclusive areas, meet and greets and other inclusions as an overall package. These packages are generally a lot more expensive than just buying a ticket to an event for obvious reasons. The important thing to note, is that it is an approved platform for these sellers that represents what is in the market. There is no inflated pricing, untrustworthy sellers or lack of visibility on who is selling.

Without knowing who is selling the product or service, how do you know it is legitimate, approved and you are going to get what you pay for?

How it Hurts our Industry

When it comes to the sale of tickets, this is a key topic in providing fans access to events. There is no justification for a ticket to be sold for substantially more than the face value as set by the event promoters. There is no value added for the customer, there is no additional inclusions or benefits. It is just price gauging in an opportunistic way.

This hurts our industry, as it often results in dissatisfied customers who lose confidence in what and how they are buying, along with a poor experience from the moment they are online through to attending the event. It also takes away revenue and profits from the event owners, venues, artists, teams and legitimate operators within the industry.

An article written in August last year by Lucy Cormack of The Sydney Morning Herald titled 'Global ticket resale market study released by consumer group Choice' is particularly interesting, and amongst a number of customer horror stories, tells that the results of the study showed that 76 per cent of fans believed they were purchasing from an official primary site when using Google search results to find tickets.

A customer should always know who is selling the tickets, packages or experiences and what the inclusions are. This information should be clear and accessible at all times during and throughout the purchase process.

Legislation & Technology

Warnings against re-sale sites from the New South Wales Government after an ACCC investigation into Viagogo suggested that new legislation is on the horizon to prevent ticket re-sellers from this practice. Technology has its benefits to any industry, but this is a key factor in making tickets more easily accessible to fans via multiple sites. Recent announcement of new legislation by the New South Wales Government limiting the re-sale of tickets to a maximum of 10% above face value is a positive move for the industry and protects customers. It will continue to be very difficult for the industry to regulate ticket re-selling, however positive steps such as new legislation can only help the industry be more transparent and protect consumers to ensure they get what they pay for.

Live events and experiences are what life is about, go to more events with friends and family, enjoy some outstanding entertainment acts and sporting events, but buy through authorised providers... and make it an experience!

TIXSTAR is the destination for premium sports & entertainment experiences, where you can book and enquire directly with over 150 authorised providers of the best packages and experiences available. Provider that use the platform include sporting leagues, teams, venues, entertainment promoters, official travel and tour operators and experience providers. Check out www.tixstar.com.au or call (03) 9257 3255 for assistance.


Jordan Leask is Co-Founder & CEO of TIXSTAR and has worked in senior commercial roles for a number of rights holders in the past 15 years including Essendon Football Club & Etihad Stadium amongst others.