Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Baseball Players, Oil Execs, can Ticketmaster be next?!

And to think, Smithers: you laughed when I bought TicketMaster. "Nobody's going to pay a 100% service charge."

We of course have a choice in the matter. You could either buy at the box office or just not purchase tickets. I'm not really suggesting the government get involved but I would like to see some honesty on the part of Ticketmaster and the entertainment business (sports, music). I remember when the Eagles toured in 1994 they charged much more than what was the standard at that time. Part of their explanation for the cost was simply that the scalpers would charge that much anyway. Weather or not the $75 lawn seats(? that's from memory, could have been $50) were worth it didn't matter. I liked their honesty. The show sold out well in advance.

I ran the following numbers last spring for U2's 26 North American shows sold through Ticketmaster. The per ticket fee charge I saw varied $11-12.75. A conservative estimate of 15k seats per show would yield TM $4.5 million. (26 shows * 15K seats * $11.50 = $4,485,000). They also charged an additional fee for mailing.

That is just one band and one tour. I would love to see TM be forced to detail their accounting for all their fees but that wont happen. So this week I'm left with the question: Do I walk over to the House of Blues and buy my tickets for $67 or do I just order them online for $87.10. I could also print them out at home for only $2.50 extra ($89.60 total)! I'm glad that the weather is nice here in Chicago this week.


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