Online ticketing brokering, the resale of tickets through an online or web-based service is a growing trend in the current economy. A common misconception is that the online ticket brokering business is a form of ticket scalping. However, rather than purchasing tickets to events and selling them for a much higher cost, a broker service will purchase blocks of tickets and sell them at a price they believe the market will carry. The ticket resale laws vary by state where the most stringent scalping laws occur in Massachusetts, Michigan, Kentucky, Arkansas and Rhode Island. It is up to the individual ticket broker’s business to decide how they will follow the laws, and aside from the previous five states, ticket brokers are able to basically mark up the tickets as they wish.
Online ticketing services emerged in the late 1990s through Ticketmaster, one of the most prominent online ticketing services. The demand for these services has since grown to include such companies as Fandango, TicketsNow and TicketExchange. While the online ticketing business continues to grow and demand increases, many companies are facing multiple criticisms. One of which is the difference between ticket scalping and ticket resale through a web-based service. Many state laws have been able to clear up any confusion and allow ticket brokers to continue reselling tickets as a business. A large risk that individuals face when purchasing a ticket from a scalper is the danger that they may be purchasing a stolen or fraudulent ticket. Ticket brokers are a more secure choice when purchasing tickets for various events because the purchases are complete by individuals that abide by the state’s laws and follow all necessary procedures to legally sell tickets on the market, also working within contracts. An online ticket broker’s business is searching for and selling tickets to individuals when box office sales are sold out or tickets are difficult to find. Ticket brokers operate out of offices and conduct business as a traditional company does, through email, phone calls and the Internet. Most brokers host their own websites that facilitate the ticket transactions and purchases, often accepting all major credit cards and PayPal. Ticket resellers offer the benefits of proof of purchase and the ability to validate and authorizing all transactions to guarantee authenticity of purchases.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, online ticket sales have soared as the economy plummeted. While the economy has fallen, so have the prices for tickets allowing consumers to continue purchasing tickets, especially for sporting events. Teams have begun to partner with ticket brokers providing a venue for season ticket holders to resale their tickets for games they are unable to attend. A representative of Forrester Research estimates that the ticket resale market is worth about $3 billion a year. The article continues to explain how many sports teams have not priced their tickets appropriately and had to lower prices of some of their most expensive seats.