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Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Tickets To The Highest Bidder

People complain about high ticket prices. Football and Hockey tickets are pretty steep already and just try to get tix to a Colorado Avalanche game down at center ice. The tickets run about $65.00 to 75.00 (plus fees and taxes and surcharges) and those prices increase in the playoffs. Later this month, I am going to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Mile High. Floor seats are $79.00. And now we get news from the New York Times that Ticketmaster plans on making some more dough off the expensive proposition. They have announced that they are going to compete head-to-head with the ticket brokers and ticket auction sellers and begin auctioning off tickets to the hottest venues. Apparently, they intend on holding back the best seats in the house and demanding an auction for the tickets, knowing full well that somebody will pay $200.00 or so bucks for a front row seat to Elton John or a hockey game. Ticketmaster's argument is that the brokers are already doing this, but the promoter, the teams, the athletes and the performers don't get a cut of the profits when the tickets are brokered outside of a Ticketmaster operation. If money is going to be made, Tickemaster should get a piece of the pie, is the supposition. I don't think this bodes well for the average joe. Granted, I am not the kind of guy who goes to see a lot of big arena shows nor do I usually demand in-your-face court-side seating at sporting events. But the market will soon determine the price for tickets and the average guy may be out of luck for any show of any decent quality. Imagine the general admission seating - the first-come first-serve floor seats generally set aside for the ardent fans who put their time in waiting in line for a spot up close. This could easily be a thing of the past as the rich corporate cats will now have a chance to ALWAYS have reserved, up front seats, even at shows without reserved up front seats - because they were able to give Ticketmaster some extra dough for the privlige. As it is now, brokers can't control that aspect of a venue and those expensive broker tickets are only as good as reserved seating for venue rules for general admission warrant. But Ticketmaster helps writes those rules and now they have a way to make it in their interest to get rid of the standing-room-only-in-front-of-the-stage action and replace it with some prime-priced tickets for the corporate cats who can justify the big dollars to see [insert performer or event here] up close without the bother of standing in line or arriving at the venue early. It blows.