When I am looking for tickets I just go online and I can find what I’m looking for in a couple of minutes. We have moved past the era of flipping through yellow pages to find a local broker and arranging meaningless trips down to the arena’s box office. Today, we have many sites such as eBay, Stubhub, and CraigsList that allow consumers to directly or indirectly sell and buy their tickets.
How does it work? Sellers, ranging from season ticket holders who want to unload tickets that would otherwise go unused to professional ticket brokers looking to make a profit, post available tickets at any price they choose. From the 3 I mentioned, Stubhub, which actually was bought by eBay in January 2007, takes a 25% commisson after the sale occurs (10% from the buyer, 15% from the seller). Whereas, Craigslist is a free online marketplace that allows sellers to directly sale their tickets and reap in the profit.
eBay, however, has an up front price per listing but allows for the seller to place their tickets on an auction. This means that when you bid on tickets, you are deciding for yourself how much you would like to pay to attend the event. If you have a winning bid at the close of the auction, you will receive tickets to the event and there are no charges for entering an auction that you do not win. This makes searching for tickets very convenient because you have control of the maximum price you are willing to pay. However, it does make things a lot more stressful because you cannot be sure that your bid will be the winning bid unless you go high.
There are a couple disadvantages when using these kinds of ticket sites. First of all, you are at the hands of the seller. They are the ones who choose the price that they are will to sell tickets and in most cases this means that a buyer will be purchasing tickets far above the market value. Second, the question of the seller’s credibility comes into play. Whenever I’ve considered buying tickets from Craiglist, I become very skeptical because there is no third party that is making sure these transactions go through. Stubhub and eBay have done a better job at this because they have legal rammifications for fraudulent tickets and sales practices. Finally, as I just mentioned, fraud can play a big part in online ticket purchases. A buyer does not know until he or she is rejected from the arena that the tickets were fake. Therefore, unless I can find an outrageously good deal, I stick to Ticketmaster.
Ticketmaster Auctions are unlike other online auction sites. Their auctions allow venues, promoters, and artists to sell tickets and ticket packages directly to fans, which allows the fans to set their value for live entertainment. “The main difference with Ticketmaster Auctions is there can be multiple winners within the same auction. However, you are NOT bidding for tickets to a particular seat, row or section. Instead, you are only bidding for tickets to see the show in a seat that will later be determined by comparing your bid with other bids that are submitted before the auction ends” (Ticketmaster.com). Ticketmaster first ranks its tickets according to the teams that are playing and the closer to the rink or court that the seats are. A buyer’s bid is then valued by the dollar amount which he or she places on the available tickets. Those who bid higher than you will receive seats that are higher ranked (closer to the rink) and those who bid lower than you will receive seats that are ranked lower than yours.
I personally like this system much more than the others because I have a say in how much I want to pay to see a sporting event, concert, etc. If my bid is not sufficient then I don’t feel bad because all it means is that I don’t value it as much as others do. There is no stress in this system and the source that the tickets are coming for is very credible.
What does this have to do with the NHL?
Well yesterday, as I was looking for some LA Kings tickets, I noticed that a couple of the NHL teams have teamed up with Ticketmaster to create a ticket package auction. This is a new program which began this season where a couple teams have put aside some premium seats, passes for pre-game warmups, meet & greet events with certain players, tours of the broadcasting facility and much more. This just goes to show how much the NHL is doing to grow. Unfortunately, this is just test year for the NHL and Ticketmaster so only a couple teams have this option. But I’m guessing next season we’ll see more of these ticket packages being auctioned off.
Take a look at the Vancouver Canucks ticket page: http://canucks.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NHLPage&id=18222.