Don't Blame Only the Ticket Scalpers, Springsteen Withheld 2,262 of the Best Tickets for NJ Concert
NJ REAL TIME NEWS -- Fans were quick to blame Ticketmaster and ticket brokers when they were unable to score seats to last month's Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concerts at the Izod Center in East Rutherford. But an examination of ticket sale data from the May 21 concert shows Springsteen himself may be part of the problem. The best seats in the house that night were the 1,126 seats in the four sections closest to the stage, but only 108 of those tickets were ever for sale to the public, according to new ticket data obtained through the Open Public Records Act. None of the more than 9,800 seats in the upper level -- the worst seats -- was kept back for the artists and promoters.
In all, 2,262 seats were held back from public sale, for the band, its record company and agent and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the public agency that operates the arena and acted as promoter for the concerts, according to the ticket sale records. That number represents about 12 percent of the total. That violates state law, say some legislators, including lawmakers who have sponsored bills to regulate ticket sales.
Not only were a large number of tickets held back from the public, but the majority of them were the best seats in the arena. And, ticket brokers say, that helped drive up prices on the secondary market. Although tickets sold for $95 and $65 in the initial sale, some tickets were selling for hundreds of dollars more on the secondary market.
"Simple economics 101 would tell you that any time you restrict supply the price will be much greater," said Robb Kenison, a ticket broker from the Washington, D.C., area. "I would not be surprised if a seat in 109, 110, 120 or 121 was double if not triple what it would have been had they sold even 50 percent of the seats in the sections. Fans have always blamed ticket brokers and Ticketmaster for not being able to get a good seat when in reality the blame lies with the artist and promoter for holding back the majority of the good seats."
"There are a lot of people with their fingers in the pie. Sometimes it's not just the scalpers," said Numa Saisselin, president of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. "The sale of tickets is all too often manipulated to someone's ends, and that someone is rarely the fan."