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Top tips for scoring hot tickets this summer: StubHub CEO

Nicole Goodkind
Nicole Goodkind

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer which means beaches, ice cream, sunglasses, and of course concerts galore.  

This summer brings us blowout tours by Rihanna, Fleetwood Mac, Beyoncé and Jay Z, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears to name just a few. But as almost anybody who has tried to buy tickets on Ticketmaster knows, these shows tend to sell out in minutes if not seconds.

So how can you ensure a spot front and center to perform the 'Single Ladies' dance with Queen Bey herself? Chris Tsakalakis, President of StubHub, joined Breakout to give his top tips.

1. Join the fan club

“If you’re trying to buy directly from the box-office,” says Tsakalakis, “the best bet is to be a member of the fan club or have the appropriate credit card where you have access to presale.”

Having trouble finding a ticket? That’s probably because up to 80% of tickets are sold before Ticketmaster even opens its site to the general public, according to Fan Freedom, an organization fighting for better ticket access.

2. Tickets sold out? Look to the secondary market

Sites like StubHub, Craigslist and Seat Geek host plenty of people looking to sell their tickets (though only StubHub can verify that the tickets are real). Just make sure to look up the laws in your state before you buy and sell tickets online or in person because they vary greatly. In Michigan, for example, it’s illegal to resell a ticket above its face value, in Illinois you need to be registered as an official ticket broker and in Minnesota there’s no penalty for ticket scalping at all.

In the U.S., 38 states allow the reselling of ticket events with some restrictions and 12 states have strong regulations against it. StubHub and other ticket dealers have started to lobby state legislature in order to loosen scalping laws.

3. Be patient

“At the day of the on-sale, prices tend to be at the highest that they’re going to be and they tend to come down during the course of time between when the tickets are first available for sale and when the concert itself happens,” says Tsakalakis. “In over 80% of the cases the day before the event the price for that ticket is going to be lower than it is at any other time.” If you’re particular about where you want to sit, however, you’re better off not waiting until the last minute.

4. Don't forget the fees

In the secondary market you have to remember the price you see may not be the price you get the seat for. Even at Ticketmaster a $74 ticket can approach $100 after all the fees are added. This spring StubHub began the "All-In Pricing" program for all tickets. In short, the price you see on StubHub is the price you'll pay for the ticket with no extra fees to surprise you at checkout. Craigslist, of course, also has this benefit.

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