Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ticket Scalpers Suffer - Boo Hoo!

Pity the poor ticket scalpers. Their excessive profit margins have been sliced dramatically. Not only are they suffering from the sub-prime meltdown, but to add serious insult to injury, they got a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the vaunted (?) Arizona Cardinals, not exactly your dream matchup.

So the poor "secondary market" vendors (isn't that a nice phrase for "ticket scalper"?) like StubHub, Razor Gator and newcomer LiveStub are reporting significant decreases in ticket prices as we get closer to next week's game. Even poor ol' Ticketmaster Entertainment has been forced to open a ticket office at a Super Bowl for the first time ever. Just think of those falling profit margins! Must be down to at least 100%...

Gee, ticket brokers and online "ticket exchanges" (another fancy term for "scalper" or "touter" as the British like to say) are reporting that the cheapest "get-in-the-door" tickets are selling for only about $1,700 to $1,800. That's more than double the face value of most Super Bowl XLIII tickets, which is basically $800 for the upper level seats and $1000 for lower level seats.

Of course, who suffers most from the ticket scalpers/touters, but the fans and the organizers. Let's do the math: an average Super Bowl ticket, face value, for argument's sake (including luxury boxes) is $1000, but sold for an average of twice that much, i.e. $1000 gross profit for how many seats that are sold on the secondary market? 25,000? 50,000? I will do the math for you: $1000 multiplied times 50,000 = $50,000,000 that gets transferred between fans and the various "ticket exchanges", legal and otherwise.

OK, let's be nice, and pretend that the gross profit is only $500 for 25,000 seats...even in this pathetically conservative scenario $12,500,000 just got transferred between fans and the secondary market scalpers; and that's just for ONE GAME.

And who else loses in all of this? Yes, of course, the NFL - Not for the Fans League. Instead of devising a system where REAL fans can get seats for the Super Bowl at FACE VALUE, AND figuring out how some of those moneys will revert back to the league itself, they continue to condone a system where tens of millions of dollars pass between ticket scalpers (oh sorry - I meant between the "secondary market") and fans while they blithely stand by.

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