Ticket Scalping or Entrepreneurial Free Market Activity?

Ticket Scalping or Entrepreneurial Free Market Activity?

Ticket originators such as TicketMaster offer a reliable source of tickets to events all over the world. A shining example of entrepreneurial innovation, the company combines Internet technology with crafty surcharges and service fees to broker ducats for events all over the world. Third-party vendors such as StubHub and eBay provide a resource for ticket owners to dispose of their unwanted tickets, sometimes at a profit, sometimes not. All the way down to the man standing on the corner buying and selling tickets outside a concert arena, each of these after-market operators can be referred to as 'scalpers'. The name implies an unpleasant encounter with a clumsy barber, or worse.

On one hand, scalpers provide an outlet for tickets that otherwise would probably go unused. Consumers who purchase a ticket or two, then are inconvenienced by a family emergency or work obligations have a way to recoup some or all of their investment.

The Downside of Ticket Scalping

On the other hand, scalpers encourage ticket speculators to buy up large blocks of tickets and resell them on the secondary market. Fans are sometimes locked out of desirable shows or games because scalpers pay runners to stand in line and purchase the maximum number of seats on the first day they go on sale. Selling tickets online doesn't solve the problem. High-tech runners simply bang away on web sites to purchase tickets instead of waiting online.

The Legality of Ticket Scalping

Ticket scalping is legal in some locales, illegal in others. Be sure to check out local regulations before buying or selling on the street corner. It's tempting to haggle for a bargain day-of-show rather than buy seats beforehand and pay the exorbitant service fees, markups, and surcharges demanded by the major ticket retailers.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Having Anything to Sell

Ticket entrepreneurs, or scalpers, leverage the demand of event-goers against the relatively difficult process of obtaining tickets through traditional channels. They assume the risk that comes with stockpiling a product that becomes worthless very quickly. A front row seat to a Jonas Brothers concert, while enticing to anyone under the age of 12, only has value until the show starts. The next day it becomes an expensive keepsake for a trip that never happened.

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