Online Sales Make Hot Tickets Harder to Get
Two years after the repeal of New York State’s decades-old anti-scalping laws, the ticket marketplace has become a fiercely competitive game in which major corporations compete over resale prices with the fan next door, scalpers have a Washington lobbyist and thousands of tickets disappear in a fraction of a second.
After lobbying by ticket brokers to decriminalize reselling in the Craigslist era, many states in addition to New York have lifted restrictions on scalping, and large corporations have embraced what is called the secondary market for tickets, like eBay, which owns StubHub. New York’s scalping laws were softened in 2005 and have been suspended since 2007, allowing tickets for most large events to be resold at any price.
Once bought by telephone or at box office windows, tickets for concerts are now mostly bought online, pitting ordinary consumers against a network of professional scalpers who use ever more sophisticated technology to scoop up large numbers of tickets in a flash. “Presales” deplete the supply by offering early tickets to fan-club members. To see the hottest shows, fans must keep track of presale schedules and authorization codes (which are sometimes even auctioned on eBay), and coordinate friends and family members in multicomputer strategies for shows in danger of a quick sellout.