— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) June 21, 2016
There are more important issues facing today’s politicians than the corruption surrounding purchasing tickets to concerts, sporting events, and theater events. But it would be nice if it could get a little attention from time to time.
Take your pick of issues: Convenience fees, handling fees, reselling policies, and — perhaps the worst of all — the scourge of scalpers.
In Chicago, tickets went on sale this morning for the touring production of Hamilton. And, judging by the news from the Chicago Tribune, it’s possible not many of the people in line were actually interested in seeing the show.
Arts critic Chris Jones found many of them were shills for the scalpers.
But after the TV cameras left, Esmond could be seen interacting extensively with a man in a yellow shirt (who declined to give his name or state his purpose) who could be seen handing out wads of money to many of the first people in line just as they entered the theater. Esmond appeared to be buying tickets from many of those same men, none of whom would give a name, suggesting that he was, in fact, a broker, or someone working for a broker, and not merely an admirable son in law.
Either way, he got his tickets, unlike many online customers who were left staring in frustration at the contours of Ticketmaster’s ticket-like hourglass icon.
And this is what makes the debate on buying and reselling tickets — which I wrote about here last week — so complicated. No matter how hard producers and venues might try, there’s no way to keep people from gaming the system for a quick payday, denying the true arts patron or sports fan from getting access to coveted tickets, except at the inflated prices of scalpers.
People in line were limited to six seats per household. How could that possibly be enforced?
Judging by the dozens of tickets which were already listed on StubHub this afternoon, hundreds of people who grabbed tickets when they went on sale today were quickly turning them over to the secondary market.
Related: Ticketmaster vouchers don’t help Minnesota concertgoers — at least not yet (City Pages)