StubHub vs. Ticketmaster

I got an interesting little e-mail from MLB.com today, offering me a chance to purchase World Series tickets through StubHub. Now this is interesting not so much in that I, a resident of Houston, have a chance to get tickets to games that many in Denver and Boston might not, but that it was just last week that the New England Patriots were victorious in court in a fight against StubHub.

For those who don’t know, StubHub is a Web site that allows the owner of tickets to an event to sell the ticket to another person, with StubHub offering guarantees to authenticity and helping to ensure that, when you arrive at the ballpark, you will have a legitimate ticket.

The Patriots’ court victory against StubHub gives the Patriots the right to have all of the names of any person who sold a Patriots ticket through StubHub, as well as the names of any person who purchased such a ticket on StubHub. And, along with the names, the Patriots also get all contact information, like addresses and phone numbers.

It would be one thing if the Patriots were trying to protect their fans from scalpers, though StubHub is legit enough to have a deal with Major League Baseball to resell tickets, but it appears that the Patriots concerns deal more with keeping Ticketmaster happy, since it’s Ticketmaster that has the right to resell the tickets of any Patriots game that the ticket holder can’t attend.

The Patriots require that Ticketmaster resell the tickets at face value. But actual face value of the ticket and face value to Ticketmaster mean different things, as anyone who’s ever had the pleasure of buying a ticket from Ticketmaster well knows. After all, there’s the price of the ticket, then there’s the fee for using Ticketmaster. Then the convenience charge fee. Then the printing the ticket fee. Then the shipping fee. Then the taxes. And the fees for the taxes, and the fees for accessing the Web site, etc. Okay, I exaggerate, but not much. It’s one thing if StubHub were robbing the people buying the tickets, but what’s the difference between scalping a ticket and the outrageous fees charged by Ticketmaster? I’d be shocked if anyone buying a $50 ticket through Ticketmaster for the Patriots actually got away with just paying $50.

So if the Patriots really want to do something about ticket scalping, they should really start with their authorized ticket agent, Ticketmaster. Because if what Ticketmaster does isn’t scalping, I don’t know what it is.

But you’re going to have to excuse me now, I’m going to go buy some Red Sox tickets from StubHub, then I’m going to see for how much I can resell them using the Ticketmaster pricing model. -- John Royal


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