There’s got to be a better way

I’ll admit I don’t have a solution. But there’s got to be a better way of handling ticket sales for both concerts and sporting events.

My frustration stems in part from not getting Springsteen tickets. The Xcel Energy Center should hold probably 15,000 for the concert. But only a few hundred tickets remained for the Nov. 2 show after just 10 minutes of sales. This is an even quicker pace than the 7,000 tickets that sold in about 18 minutes for the Elton John concert here in Sioux Falls.

It’s great to see shows selling out — but it would be even better if the tickets were going to people who planned to attend the concert. When you take a look at the number of tickets showing up on eBay or online ticket brokerages there’s little doubt that people across the country are buying tickets for the sole purpose of reselling them at a profit. Thus, people standing in line outside the Sioux Falls Arena didn’t get tickets for a show they want to attend because someone on the east or west coast bought them online so they could make some money off them.

The problem isn’t unique to the Midwest or concerts. The NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penugins are playing outdoors in Buffalo on January 1. It took less than an hour to sell 74,000 tickets. And, within minutes, they were showing up on eBay at multiples of face value.

The internet is a wonderful tool for people to get tickets to shows in nearby metro areas, such as the Twin Cities, Omaha and the like. It’s also far better than traipsing down to stand in line at some Ticketmaster outlet. Limiting the number of tickets one person can buy — as is done with most concerts — helps but is far from a solution. Whether it’s by IP address or whatever, it would be nice if sales could be restricted to specific geographic areas for the first 30 minutes or so. I seem to recall that when you had to buy tickets in person, Ticketmaster outlets outside Minnesota, for example, were not able to sell tickets for events in the Twin Cities for the first 30 minutes on the on-sale date. That also isn’t a good solution and is indicative of the host of problems that would be created in defining the geographic area for IP addresses, if that can even be done.

Right now, concert goers are not only getting held up, the money they’re paying on the secondary market isn’t even going to the artists.  There’s simply got to be a something better than all the money flowing into the pockets of those who could care less about the performance or event.

I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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