Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Secondary Ticket Sales - What An Experience!

Forrester recently estimated that US online secondary ticket sales will grow at a 12% CAGR over the next five years to $4.5 billion by 2012. That’s a lot of tickets! Now, my family is a baseball family. We have season’s tickets, which entitles us to 81 home games a year – far more than even our baseball-crazed household can attend. As a result, I’ve had personal experience with several different ways of selling tickets to total strangers. Here’s my take on the options.

E-Bay wins hands-down. And I don’t mean Stub Hub, which was acquired by E-Bay. I mean good, old-fashioned E-Bay. (Has E-Bay ever been described as "old-fashioned" before?) Nothing can beat it for ease of use, intuitiveness of processes and tools, and success rates!

Stub Hub is in a word … lousy. It’s hard to use, their seller notification doesn’t seem to work nor does their tool for tracking action on your listings. We don’t know why Major League Baseball chose them as their one and only sanctioned means of reselling tickets. From the cheap seats, we think it's a good thing for E-Bay to keep its brand separate from Stub Hub.

Craigslist is such a mess, I have never tried to sell tickets (or anything else) there. I keep looking at it, and wondering how anyone sells anything there given how disorganized it is. Craigslist sellers, please tell me how you do it!

There’s always person-to-person sales outside the venue. That’s become harder to do as cities have cracked down on scalping. I do get a kick out of haggling with the scaplers themselves – you know, the guys who stand on street corners and are both buying and selling tickets to an event. They are a hoot, and they’re business people, like the rest of us. They have the seating plan committed to memory and know the going rate for any seats at any time leading up to an event. I had to laugh when one of them didn’t like the below-face value price I was asking for 2 tickets and exclaimed “Lady, you’re scalping!” No duh.

So, for my money, when it comes to selling to strangers, it’s E-Bay all the way.

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