A CBC News and Toronto Star investigation has revealed something a lot of us have already suspected - Ticketmaster is ripping customers off huge. The two news outlets did some digging into ticket sales for Bruno Mars shows in Toronto over the last seven months and uncovered the shocking ways that the company has been boosting their profits.
The Bruno Mars concerts, taking place at Toronto’s Scotia Bank Arena this weekend, will have crowds of 17,000 people each, many of whom likely got deceived into purchasing overpriced tickets. During the CBC and The Star's investigation, three sneaky Ticketmaster tricks were discovered.
The first tactic the site uses to hike up ticket prices is changing seat prices at any given time. Data journalists who were keeping an eye on prices during the course of sales noticed that within five minutes of being on available, most seats in the arena appeared to be sold out, giving the illusion of high demand.
The only tickets that remained were priced from $500 to $2,500. As superfans rushed to get their hands on the cheapest tickets possible, Ticketmaster continued to increase prices.
A CBC News and Toronto Star investigation reveals how box-office behemoth Ticketmaster uses its own bag of tricks — which includes partnering with scalpers — to boost its profits at the expense of music fans. https://t.co/cJ3mnnYFZM— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) September 18, 2018
Trick number two is that Ticketmaster doesn’t release all of their tickets at once. Initially, the site releases their most expensive tickets and only a few of their cheaper tickets.
90 minutes into Bruno Mars sales, when many had already paid big bucks, hundreds of “new” upper level $56 seats appeared. Even more of these cheap seats were added in June, July, and August.
Ticketmaster is manipulating prices and profiting from the scalping of its own tickets. Just check out 'dynamic pricing' by the world's biggest box office's for Saturday's bruno Mars show in Toronto. Investigation by @CBCNews and @TorontoStar https://t.co/p7PU1iFHAI pic.twitter.com/7nQPDPHKR1— dave seglins (@cbcdaveseglins) September 18, 2018
The third and most deceitful trick by Ticketmaster is that they actually double-dip ticket sales. The site brought in $350,000 in service fees alone for one Bruno Mars show and they made nearly double that in resales.
The company runs a "verified resale" program that lets scalpers sell directly on their site. They then collect fees a second time for the same ticket.
For instance, when Ticketmaster sells a ticket to a scalper for $209.50, they collect a service fee of $25.75. When a scalper resells that same ticket for $400, the company collects an additional $76.
According to reports to shareholders, Ticketmaster hopes to boost profits with a new “market-based pricing” model. What do they have to say about all this scamming nonsense? That it’s not their fault, obviously.
"Ticketmaster is a technology platform that helps artists and teams connect with their fans. We do not own the tickets sold on our platform nor do we have any control over ticket pricing — either in the initial sale or the resale," they said to CBC News.
While there’s no telling if this issue is going to be resolved for customers, we can come away with one piece of advice, don't buy tickets mid-sale. It's probably best to buy near the beginning or end. Concerts are expensive enough, so keep your eye on ticket prices and save yourself some money!