Every time a major act or sporting event comes to New Zealand they ultimately sell out within minutes of the tickets going on sale. A short time later (usually minutes) tickets start popping up on Ticketmaster Resale, Stubhub and Viagogo, often as many as a few hundred at a time.
Selling tickets online is a business model that is in full force all over the world. Despite what many people claim, selling tickets in New Zealand is fully legal with the exception of tickets which fall under the major events management act.
Unfortunately for kiwi fans, music concerts and local sporting events (Phoenix, Lions, Hurricanes) aren’t classified as major events whereas the Olympics, World Cup and Euro football tournaments are.
Ticket Scalping NZ
But why do so many people complain about scalpers? Bottom line is you missed out, whether from a slow computer, a promoter who didn’t release the full capacity of tickets or because you were just unlucky.
A premium website offers a second chance to go, without this service you would have absolutely no way to go at all. They serve a purpose that a handful of die hard fans actually appreciate.
Each time an event sells out and scalping happens, news portals such as Stuff, NZ Herald and Newshub thrive on creating stories about ticket scalpers making a small fortune at the expense of real fans who ultimately get sucked in to paying above and beyond for the privlege of going.
The problem? The media companies have it completely wrong.
For the most part, the people reselling these tickets aren’t fellow kiwi’s out to make a fast buck. Nor are they international crimminals with bots (although these do exist).
The promoters themselves are actually listing their OWN tickets on Viagogo.
There we go, we’ve said it. The truth is (and it sucks to say this), promoters are giving thousands of tickets to resale websites where they know they’ll get 5 or 10 times the price for the exact same ticket. They then split the profits together.
Today, Celine Dion’s August Auckland concert pre-sale tickets went on sale to American Express and ‘Team Celine’ fans and within minutes were on Viagogo and Ticketmaster Resale.
The proof promoters are listing on Viagogo, here is a screenshot of the pre-sale tickets on Viagogo this evening, you can buy 6 tickets seated together in one transaction. Given American Express and Team Celine pre-sale was a max of 4 tickets, how could you get 6 together? Go figure.
Normal people don’t resell pre-sell tickets, what’s the point? No one is going to buy your over inflated tickets until after they’ve tried to buy them during the actual sale.
Normally pre-sale tickets are reserved for die hard fans, i.e. Team Celine. Unfortunately opening a pre-sale to American Express does invite scalpers but it’s unlikely all these ticket sales ended up on Viagogo.
A few years ago, the BBC reported on the same issue, promoters giving a handful of tickets to Viagogo, this was featured in a documentary on TV called ‘dispatches’ that showed Live Nation giving an allocated number of tickets to Viagogo for each event. This promoter represented U2, Madonna and others at the time.
Guess what? Live Nation is the promoter for Celine Dion too. (Alarm bells)
When Viagogo was interviewed at the time, their response was, “We don’t discriminate. We allow anyone to sell on our market place as long as they deliver the tickets that they sell.”
Viagogo makes money by taking a cut of a ticket’s selling price. They went on to say, the same rate applied to tickets sold by major concert promoters as those sold by individual music fans.
So as a promoter it makes sense to give your tickets away to platforms such as Viagogo or Ticketmaster to make far more than selling all the tickets through the front end platform.
Of course a promoter would never admit to giving tickets to resale platforms and for the most part websites like Viagogo might actually have no idea a promoter has signed up to resell tickets. I’d say it would be fairly obvious when they list 400 tickets to the same event but they’d definitely turn a blind eye.
The solution to this scalping issue is simple, put on more shows. Why couldn’t Celine Dion put on two or three Auckland shows instead of one? Given she’s performing about 7 shows in Australia it doesn’t seem unreasonable to do so.
With one show fully sold out, the price of tickets goes up. It’s a supply and demand game, that’s why sporting event tickets are the most scalped tickets in the world. Tickets for Conor Mcgregor vs Mayweather were going for 5 figures the day before the fight, and those where the cheap seats!
So the next time you think about blaming those small minority of kiwi’s who are trying to make a quick buck, think how many tickets the promoters are actually reselling themselves.
P.S. Don’t believe the Viagogo stats (tickets listed, viewers etc), they are fake bullshit.