Olympic Tickets

30 09 2009

As a broker, I cannot help but laugh every time I hear from organizations like Vanoc (Vancouver Olympic Committee) and CoSport, who is the official ticket agent for North America, that the public cannot buy tickets from anyone but them.  The funny thing is, every time you try to buy tickets from them the majority of the tickets are sold out!

Now, if I’m John-Q public and want to go to the Olympics and cannot purchase the tickets directly from the primary source isn’t it logical that I would look elsewhere, let’s say a broker to purchase them.

I also find it funny that Vanoc and CoSport are threatening to cancel tickets of those who bought them from anyone but them.  Now why would they do that?  If I tried to buy them from the source initially and they couldn’t supply me with what I wanted shouldn’t I have the right and ability to buy them elsewhere?   Isn’t this event open to the public anyway?  Vanoc and CoSport keep claiming that the majority of the tickets have been sold and if that’s the case, why do they care how the public gets the tickets if they can’t buy them from them?

Doesn’t Vanoc and Cosport get it? If the public cannot buy tickets from the primary source, they will buy tickets on the secondary market and guess what? If they are cancelling tickets to the fans who bought them elsewhere the only people they’ll be hurting are the same people they claim they want protect….the public!

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Ticketmaster-The Evil Empire starring Irving Azoff as Darth Vader

25 09 2009

It never ceases to amaze me at the amount of propaganda and miss information Ticketmaster and especially the president, Irving Azoff, love spewing out!

Ever since I’ve been in the ticket business (21 years), Ticketmaster has constantly reminded the public how evil ticket brokers are and how they horde all of the tickets and that there is absolutely no need for them.  In fact, Irving Azoff told a senate hearing earlier this year, “ I don’t believe there should be a secondary market at all” .  I’m not quite sure how Irving Azoff became president of Ticketmaster when he can’t figure out the simple economics of supply and demand. I’m going to explain why the secondary market is so relevant and why it will never go away no matter how many stupid tricks Ticketmaster try to incorporate when tickets go on sale.

Let’s first examine the new paperless ticket that Ticketmaster is using to sell tickets for the Miley Cyrus tour.  This system was strictly put in place to not allow brokers to get their hands on them whether it was during the on sale or by purchasing them on the open market. Since they cannot be transferred, the actual person who bought the ticket would actually be the one who picks them up on the night of the show at the box office.  Now this system was implemented to “protect the fans” and make sure they were able to purchase them and not brokers.  Why doesn’t this work? First, suppose I wasn’t available when the show went on sale or didn’t find out that there was even a show coming to my city until after it had already gone on sale. How as a fan, would I have the ability to go see that show?  According to Ticketmaster, I wouldn’t!  How is that helping the fan? Secondly, if I did buy the tickets but wanted to give them as a gift to someone or give them to a family member, I would not have the ability to do so without having to go to the venue myself, when I’m not the one who’s going to the show. Lastly, suppose my plans changed and I wasn’t able to go to the show. What options would I have to resell the tickets…none!  That’s really taking care of the fan! 

Why does Ticketmaster care so much what happens to the tickets once they’ve been sold? They’ve already made their money on all of the outrageous service charges.  Let’s do some math.  If Ticketmaster sells 20,000 tickets for a concert and they make $25 per ticket, they will realize a profit of $500,000.  That’s not a bad profit considering that good shows sell out in a matter of minutes.  I think most businesses would be happy with that kind of return. At this point Ticketmaster cannot make any more money on that show because it’s sold out.  Why should they care what happens after that point with the tickets and who sits in the seats. Ticketmaster is always saying that we want to make sure that the fans have fair access to tickets…who do you think buys from us, the fans! Irving, leave us alone!

 

When tickets for  concerts  go on sale, the fans who want them have a few options. They can either try and purchase tickets through Ticketmaster when they go on sale, which involves a considerable amount of good luck considering that not all of the good seats are released during the initial on sale or they can purchase the tickets at a later date, select the exact tickets they want at a price that is affordable to their budget from a reliable ticket broker or elsewhere on the secondary market.  If Irving Azoff had his way, you would only have option one!  

Let’s talk sports for a minute!  Without the ability to buy tickets on the secondary market for NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB games, fans would never be able to go to a game or at least be able to get good seats.  Tickemaster only sells tickets that have not been sold by the individual teams thus leaving all of the “not so good seats”.  The remaining tickets are sold to season ticket holders.    If I’m a fan who only wants to go to a game with goods seats, I wouldn’t have the ability to do so without the help of a broker or buying them elsewhere on the secondary market. In case Mr. Azoff doesn’t know, we live in a capitalist society where people do not mind paying for merchandise or services that they want, even if it means paying over face value.

When it comes to events that do not go on sale to the public such as the Super Bowl, The Masters, BCS Championship and Kentucky Derby, to mention a few, how else would anyone be able to go to these events unless you were the original ticket holder.  Brokers work as a conduit for buyers and sellers to all these major events.  Maybe since Irving Azoff has all of the connections to go to these events (probably doesn’t have to pay) he doesn’t have to worry about sourcing tickets but for the average fan, they do!

The secondary market is a 2 billion dollar a year business.  There is enough business for everyone to make a living…stop being a ticket hog! Why do you want to take away our right to exist and offer the services that we provide to our customers.  Oh,  I just realized that Azoff rhymes with Madoff!





NFL Rule Changes

17 09 2009

Maybe the NFL should take a hard look at changing some of the rules of the game that would make it even more exciting.

The first thing I would change is the clock stoppage on first downs.  In college football, when a team makes a first down the clock stops until the line judges can get the yardage markers moved and situated.  Why does this make a difference?  Because when it is late in the game and an NFL team is driving the ball down field, there have been too many games that ended  because that team runs out of time due to the clock not stopping on first downs . If the quarterback throws a 50 yard pass down field and it’s caught in the field of play, it’s automatically going to take at least 10 seconds for the line judges to move the chains down field….how is that a good rule?  How about stopping the clock, letting the players get to the line of scrimmage and then start the clock?  Even if a team has good clock management near the end of the game, they can still be penalized on the clock for lack of speed from the line judges.  How is that a good rule?

 How about this for an amendment to that rule? The clock stops for all first downs within the last 2 minutes of the half or end of the game.  I suspect we would see a lot more fantastic finishes.  If you do not want to adopt this proposal maybe we can just change it to have the clock stopped until the line judges can get the chains moved.  Either way, the rule is better and makes more sense!

The other rule that I must insist on changing is the overtime rule. Let’s examine that more for a minute.  What is more exciting, watching a team win a  lucky coin flip, drive the ball down field and having them kick a field goal to win the game? Or the college way, where each team has a crack at scoring points on a possession of the ball.  The games that I have watched in the NCAA that have gone to overtime have been nothing short of nail biting, I can’t say that of the NFL!

Maybe the NFL should take a look how the NHL recently and dramatically changed the dynamics of the game by just changing a couple of obvious rules; getting rid of the whistle on a two line pass and making the zone within the blue line larger.  These two small changes make it much more enjoyable and exciting to watch.

One last rule change for you.  Instead of having the referee decide close calls that are challenged and having to look through that stupid black cover, why not have at each game a 3 man booth upstairs that would take a look at these questionable calls and let them decide.  This takes the responsibility out of one person having to decide and will allow someone who doesn’t have to stick his head through some crazy contraption to see a better view of the play.  In these cases, Majority Rules!





Winter World Series

9 09 2009

In case you didn’t know, if there is a game 7 of the World Series it will be played on Nov.5th.  That’s right November 5th!  4 of the teams in the playoffs will be east coast teams and one that is in the mountains.  Do the owners know how cold it can be in these cities in November during the evenings?  A couple of years back, when Detroit lost to St Louis in game 5, it was probably a good thing because the weather in Detroit for game 6 would have been so bad, in the uppers 30’s and windy and rainy, they probably wouldn’t have been able to play for a couple of days. 

When I was growing up, the World Series lived up to the name “Fall Classic.”Now it’s looking more and more like “The beginning of Winter Classic”!  If the owners had their way, we might still be watching baseball on New Year’s Day.

Owners, listen up, I have a solution for you! If it is revenue that you’re worried  I have you completely covered. Why can’t you have 2 games played on every Saturday during the months of July and August. Now I’m not talking about a double header, I’m talking about having anearly afternoon game and an evening game.  This way you wouldn’t give up any ticket revenue or concessions. Infact it will increase because more people go to games during the summer and Saturday is always the biggest draw.  By doing that you could eliminate some of the games at the end of the season that few people attended anyway. 

Owners, just ask your self a few questions.  Do more fans go to games in late September or during July and August?  If your team is all but eliminated in September you’re lucky to get 5,000- 10,000 fans per game.  Since the majority of the teams still have a chance of making the playoffs during the summer and since more people are vacationing and enjoying the good weather, chances are the stadiums will be considerably fuller in July and August.   The game times would be scheduled far enough apart that there shouldn’t be an issue getting the first game fans in and out in time for the second game.  If the owners scheduled game #1 at 12:00pm then game#2 at 7:30pm even if the first game went extra innings, the game would be over no later than 4:00pm.  Doesn’t this make good sense?

Wouldn’t it be nice if the World Series was finished no later than October 15th and the fans wouldn’t have to wear parka’s and gloves to the game?





Dallas Cowboy PSL and Ticket prices

4 09 2009

I’m not really sure why there hasn’t been more chatter about the exorbitant prices that Jerry Jones is charging for both the PSL’s and tickets but I am going to examine both in this blog.

Let’s first look at the PSL’s.  The Cowboy’s wanted me to “invest” $16,000 per PSL for tickets I used to own at Texas Stadium.  So let’s do the quick math here…I owned 6 tickets together that used to be on the 30ydline.  Now I was being offered 6 tickets together on the 20 ydline at a PSL price of $16,000.  6x$16,000=$96,000.  I repeat $96,000!  This will give me the opportunity each year to pay $340.00 more per ticket to go watch the Cowboy’s play…oh boy!  Now, I don’t know about you but I used to think that the word “investment” meant that there would  be a return on the money I was investing.  Jerry’s way is that it’s only giving me the opportunity to spend more money for his investment!  If anyone were smart enough to do the math prior to purchasing the PSL’s, they would have realized that by earning  5% on $96,000, they would have made $4800. With that $4800 they could have taken that money and picked the games they really wanted to go to, buy the best tickets there and not be obligated to the Cowboys to pay $340 per game for the whole season. In addition, they wouldn’t be obligated to pay $340 per ticket for preseason games.  Can you imagine owning 6 tickets for preseason games…that’s a cost of $2040 per game….ouch! In case you didn’t know this tidbit, there are PSL’s for $35,000 and $50,000….do the math on that investment!

Let’s talk a little about the face value on the club seats which are $340.  When I had my initial meeting with my used car salesman…I mean sales representative, I asked how the Cowboy’s had determined their pricing and he replied “you guys get it, so why shouldn’t we?.”  The Cowboy’s automatically assumed because they saw tickets being listed on the internet that all of the tickets were actually being sold for those prices.  I replied, that we would be lucky to get that price for one or two games a year, depending on the schedule and how well the Cowboy’s were playing at the time.  The Cowboy’s were so worried that they were leaving money on the table that they thought that all fans would want to pay $340 to go to a game because brokers were getting it.  I had to explain to my representative that the people who are buying tickets on the secondary market are paying that price because they’re only going to select games and they can afford to buy one or two games at those prices.  More importantly, the tickets that are being sold on the secondary market are only a fraction of what the primary seller originally sold.  What does this mean?  More math…sorry!  If the Cowboys sell 70,000 tickets for a game and out of these tickets 5% reach the secondary market, we are only talking about 3500 tickets.  These tickets are what owners seemed to be so concerned about!  So instead of making sure that games stay affordable for the fans that are willing to buy season tickets, they decide to alienate all the fans with these ridiculous face values and that’s in addition to the already crazy PSL prices! 

Once again common sense seems to tell me, if the Cowboy’s are going to charge you an incredible amount of money for the PSL’s, wouldn’t it be in their best interest to sell the season tickets at a reasonable price?

I guess Jerry wants to have his cake and eat it too!

One last note, I was at the Cowboy preseason game the other night and sat in section 335 row 13 (this is a$50,000 PSL) which I bought for $40 a ticket out in front of the stadium and I will tell you that it’s like sitting in the upper deck of most other stadiums….it’s way up there!  We wound up watching the majority of the game on the Texas sized Jerrytron that actually becomes quite distracting after a while.  I guess I’ll be watching the rest of the season on my big screen HDTV at home….the beer is a lot cheaper!





NFL Blackouts

3 09 2009

NFL Blackout Games is the first topic I would like to address. The NFL Blackout Games USA Today story, Blackout blues? NFL ticket sales slumping in some cities, that came out the other day about the NFL teams that potentially and most likely will be suffering from a case of the “black out” blues.

My question is, why do they even need NFL blackouts?  Doesn’t each team share in the TV revenue?  To the best of my knowledge even if not one NFL ticket was sold to a game that the owners would still be way ahead.

Let’s look at all of those who are hurt when the games are not broadcast.  First and foremost are the fans.  When you blackout a NFL game you, alienate the whole fan base.  Even if they paid for the NFL DirecTV package they still will not be able to watch their team….does that makes any sense?

Secondly, don’t all of the sponsor’s who run advertisements on these broadcasts get hurt?  Seems to me, if I was a sponsor and was paying large sums of money for my advertisements to be broadcast during the NFL game, I probably would be a bit pissed off!

Then you have all of the local restaurants and sports bars that have weekly football parties.  All that revenue can now be flushed down the toilet!

Let’s address some of the reasons these games are not sold out. First, with the current market conditions there are a lot more fans who cannot afford to spend this disposable income on going to a game….does that mean that they should be penalized for that? Then, maybe the product they’re paying to see is just not worth what the teams are asking for. We live in the world of supply and demand and if the team can’t sell them maybe they should take a cue from ticket brokers and Lower the Price!  If every team would hire a ticket broker to consult them on selling tickets, I guarantee that the stands would be filled!

Here is a possible solution and compromise to the current problem.  Teams should only have to sell 75% of the tickets before a game would be considered sold out and therefore would not be subject to the NFL black out rule.  This will allow teams with a market not as strong as others, to  fill the stands within reason and avoid the dreaded blackout.

Food for thought, why is it that 81 baseball games can be broadcast with probably an average attendance of 50% full (I’m being generous) and we cannot get 8  NFL games in our local market to be broadcast without a sellout.  Who negotiated that contract anyway?  Can you say moron!

Ram Silverman

Golden Tickets