Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The secondary ticket industry (scalping, to you)

The "secondary ticket industry" has a trade show, meeting tomorrow in Las Vegas, about which they say: "Ticket Summit is the leading trade show and conference in the secondary ticket industry."

These are the folks who sell tickets on the aftermarket (often after buying them on the primary market before others can), and who are often called by the more familiar, less charitable name of scalpers.

Grownup economists recognize that there's a place for secondary markets, but I wonder if a convention of ticket re-sellers doesn't have something of the flavor of a sex-workers' conference, in the sense that the participants are engaged in an industry that is often viewed as repugnant, and which is hemmed in by legal constraints that are sometimes ignored.

My attention was drawn to the conference by one of the speakers, Christian Hassold, who I met when he did an undergrad thesis on secondary ticket sales. The most interesting undergraduate theses are written by students with a real passion for what they are studying, and Christian, who is now off in the entrepreneurial world, has continued to write about ticket sales on his blog The Ticket Economist.

He always seemed like the kind of guy you would like to take in a game with, and it turned out that he's good at getting tickets too: his blog mixes reviews of news and scholarship with some practical advice: see e.g. Buying from a Scalper? Five Do’s and Don’ts, and Bargaining for Tickets on the Street.

TTE points to two thoughtful essays on scalping. One is by Trent Reznor of the band Nine Inch Nails: TR thoughts on ticket re-sellers / scalping (which also includes some interesting links).
Another is this Slate article by Mark Gimein:
Is Ticket Scalping All That Bad? Miley Cyrus' new crackdown on concert gouging just shows how complex the problem is.


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Unknown said...

Very interesting article. As I've said before, there is a trade show for everything. Ticket brokers or resellers looking for a professional trade show display have a team of face-to-face marketing pros ready to help them design their next exhibit.

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