Date registered: Jun 2004
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RE: Should third-party ticket brokering be outlawed?
Ron, thank you for this thread. If ever there was an off-topic thread for me to respond to, this is the one.
When I was young and naive, in the 70's, I stood outside the Stadium in Chicago all nite for Led Zep tickets. Back then, there was no computer ticketing, no ticketmaster, no nothing but going to the venue and standing in line. Later in the 70's ticketron, now ticketmaster was born. However tickets at the venues went on sale earlier in the morning than ticketron.
We stood out all nite in the pouring cold rain, third in line. When we got our turn, we got 8th row seats. I was not happy. There were 50 seats per row, and the 2 couples in front of us only bought 4 seats. Where did the 390 odd seats before ours go?
I was wet, tired and furious. Came home told my folks. My dad laughed and gave me the number of the owner of the stadium, a good friend of our family. Called him and said I needed 8 tickets. "No problem, come down and ask for Butch, your tickets will be under your name." Went down, saw Butch, 8 seats, 1st row!! A business during my college years was born.
There isn't anything I find more exciting than obtaining prime seats and going to sporting events, concerts, plays, etc. Though I have worn many hats in many family businesses, tickets are my passion, I own or partner in half a dozen of the largest ticket brokerage businesses in the U.S. I also enjoy skirting various local ticketing laws throughout various states. We operate out of states that license and regulate ticket brokerage.
Getting to scalpers who put the homeless in lines, the real brokers don't do it. We call these brokers street rats. The practice has been nearly stopped at many venues. Those days are almost totally over. The real power guys, don't want the light shined on them, so the public is starting to see a few good seats. If you think the really good seats to anything go out through ticketmaster or the box office you are sadly mistaken. Everyone in the venue, the promoter, the city officials all have a cut. Even the guy at the ticket window making 30k, puts another 50k cash in his pocket by syphoning whatever he can get his hands on.
In the last few years, I've taken the gamble on promoting. The promoter gets a large portion of the tix, if he chooses to. Also, its alot of fun. Presently, I'm the promoter for Joe Cocker's world tour. If you have little kids, last year I promoted the Wiggles. Just to give you an idea, our end of the profits on the merchandise sold at the venues for the Wiggles came to 1.2 million dollars. Fairly serious money.
I do it for the rush. The quest for prime seats. The admiration of my clients and friends. To be torchered for free seats from my family.
Oh yeah, the money isn't bad either.