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Old 08-12-2010, 06:02 PM   #1
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Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

I graduated from college in May 2008 and have made a living as a professional ticket broker ever since.

I scalped tickets (bought and sold) online as a hobby throughout college and opened my own website in June 2008. Since 1/1/2010 I took in $350,000+ in sales and have managed to make about 60-70k net profit per year.

The secondary ticket market is pretty fascinating and has matured A LOT in the last few years.

If you have any questions ask away! I thought this might be entertaining or informative for some people.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:06 PM   #2
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

How do you get your hands on sold out event?

How do you get people to your site?

How do you see the industry 5 years from now?

Is this your primary job?
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:12 PM   #3
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

why are you such an *******?
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:16 PM   #4
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

I am heading home right now but will post some good replies in the next couple of hours.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:11 PM   #5
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

is it possible to profit at stubhub with 10% and 25% commission?
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:34 PM   #6
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

I thought selling tickets for a huge markup was illegal? Anyone crack down on this?
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:22 PM   #7
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skinz View Post
I thought selling tickets for a huge markup was illegal? Anyone crack down on this?
I think it is but I have never bought tickets from anyone other than a scalper so obviously that doesn't stop them. I think it is much like escorts where unless you do it in public and cause an issue no one bothers you.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:05 PM   #8
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry17 View Post
I think it is but I have never bought tickets from anyone other than a scalper so obviously that doesn't stop them. I think it is much like escorts where unless you do it in public and cause an issue no one bothers you.
Depends on where you are - the laws in the US are very location-specific. Ranges from legal to legal if licensed to illegal but not enforced to illegal and haphazardly enforced.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:04 PM   #9
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

Quote:
Originally Posted by emet View Post
How do you get your hands on sold out event?

This is 90% of the business. There are 4 main ways of buying tickets to a sold out event.

about 15% of my inventory for major sold out events is from my own season tickets. I own season tickets a few mlb teams, a bunch of nfl and some nba teams. Most of my season tickets are purchased directly from the team. Others I buy from private season ticket holders who want to unload 50% or more of the season, or from larger brokers who own a lot of seasons and need some cash in the slower months. Seasons are marginally profitable for most teams, even if they only sell out 50% or fewer of their games because you usually get a significant discount from face value, and can sell at 85% of face and make some money. Other teams are enormously profitable (Twins season tix this year, some cheaper seasons for Yankees, Red Sox, Lakers, etc.)

Another small part of my inventory is from buying tix on the secondary market. Because of my large volume, I can buy from Stubhub without paying the 10% service fee, and I will buy a lot of tickets from Stubhub or other brokers if I think they're under priced. I spent about $20,000 on Stubhub this year so far from speculating on events I think will blow up (I bought a ton of Twins tix before the season started). Often for a big concert tour, tons of regular people will buy extras on Ticketmaster and list them for Stubhub 10 minutes afterwards just to eek out a tiny profit, when I think closer to the show it will be bigger.

The vast majority of my inventory is from pulling tickets from the primary sale (ticketmaster, tickets.com, teams' individual sites...
I have a huge edge when Lady Gaga at Madison Sq Garden goes onsale because I can navigate ticketmaster.com faster than just about anyone. For big "onsales" I have an email list of a bunch of college friends who will try to pull tickets for me for a $10 or so commission per ticket. There are also various software programs of questionable legality that I've used in the past to pull tickets from Ticketmaster, but that has gotten more difficult as ticketmaster has really improved their ReCaptcha security in the last couple years.

Onsales have gotten a lot harder in the past few years because of the increased security, but also because of Stubhub. It's now ridiculously easy for anyone to try to pull some playoff tix from a virtual waiting room and list them on Stubhub and make a couple bucks, so the competition is a lot tougher.

Most people don't realize that when a show/game is sold out, it really isn't. This is because of "releases". Most teams or tours will release a significant amount of tickets in the days/hours leading up to the event for various reasons. A lot of the time tix are held for VIPs or VIP packages that don't sell out, and those tix are released back into the system. Brokers like me use various scripts and programs that will pull for tix all the time, and alert me when they become available. I'd say about 30% of my inventory comes from releases, and another 30% from onsales.


How do you get people to your site?

This is pretty tough. I used Google Adwords for a while but it got to be very expensive. To get to the top 2 pages for "Yankees tix" or "Lady Gaga tix" takes at least $3 a click these days. It's amazing how many brokers will pay that. Stubhub has AT LEAST $100,000 a day in ppc, probably more like $300-400k. Craigslist is actually by far the best way to advertise. I will spam my links constantly in specific city-craigslists if I need to unload.

The best part about the business is that you don't really need the traffic. I pay 10% commission to Stubhub to sell, and about 5% net to Ticketnetwork (another ticket exchange that includes a ton of sites). I only sell about 15-20% of my inventory on my actual website, where I don't have to pay any commission besides cc processing.


How do you see the industry 5 years from now?

I honestly believe that in 5 years there won't be an industry for guys like me. Stubhub already has MLB, some nba teams, some ncaa and big concert tours that feed them tix. Stubhub is defintely powered by brokers like me (well over 85% of the tix on Stubhub are from ticket brokers, not "fans like you") but I think in 5 years they will figure out how to cut out the middle
men, or more like the middle-middle-men



Is this your primary job?
Yes this is my full-time job. It's definitely a grind, but I really enjoy it. I usually have a few Stars tables running at various slow times during the day, but this takes up a ton of time.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:08 PM   #10
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

Quote:
Originally Posted by breakevenpro View Post
is it possible to profit at stubhub with 10% and 25% commission?
Yes, but if I had to rely 100% on Stubhub for my business it wouldn't be as profitable. I'm in the Large Sellers Program with Stubhub so I only pay 10% commissions on my sales, and I can buy tix without paying 10% comission, so it's not so bad. If I have tix for $100 each on my site, you can buy them from my site for $100, from Ticketnetwork.com or ticketliquidator.com for about $108, and on Stubhub for $110. I would get $100, $95, $90 respectively.

The great thing about Stubhub's business model is that it's very difficult to find the holding broker of the tickets unless you have a Ticketnetwork point of sale. (There are other POS like eventinventory.com, tickettechnology.com but TN is the biggest.)
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:11 PM   #11
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry17 View Post
I think it is but I have never bought tickets from anyone other than a scalper so obviously that doesn't stop them. I think it is much like escorts where unless you do it in public and cause an issue no one bothers you.
It's a state-by-state law. There's no federal law about scalping. Most states either forbid it or had price caps (25% over face lol) but no one could ever enforce it online. If you stand across the street from the Superdome in Nawlins and ask $500 ea for NFC Champ tix you better pray you're not talking to a cop, but if you sell on Stubhub or ebay or craigslist or whatever, there's no chance really of getting caught.

In the last 2 years the mlb teams have gotten on board with Stubhub and have mostly dropped their opposition to scalping. Most state legs have removed the laws from the books. A few states techinically it's illegal, but my business is based in a state where it's legal.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:13 PM   #12
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

Most people tend to have a pretty negative view of ticket brokers, but the way I see it we are providing a significant service.

Most people can't afford season tickets, and if they want to see 2 or 3 games a year and sit in good seats...this is how they do it.

I spend thousands of hours hunting for deals and wasting my time trying to find tix. Most people who want good seats to a concert don't have the time to get prime seats at face value, and so I deserve a service fee for my time.
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:00 PM   #13
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

How about ebay, have you ever sold tickets there?
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:01 PM   #14
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

So what are your plans for the future, poker, getting a job?
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:10 PM   #15
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Re: Ask a professional Ticket Broker Thead

I sold a lot of tix on ebay from 04-07, when ebay was one of the first places fans looked for tix after a sell out.

After ebay bought Stubhub, they started phasing out the ticket category for the more profitable 25% stubhub commissions. Now most of the tix on ebay are listed at buy it now prices at about 15-30% over wholesale (tix on Stubhub are listed at 10-15% over). Dealing with auctions isn't worth it anymore. Most of the big $$ bidders prefer to buy from Stubhub with an AMEX than dealing with an individual seller and Paypal. Also it's way too easy for a bidder to tell Paypal they didn't get the tix and do a fraudulent chargeback...
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