Luke Combs’ 3-day booth at The Wharf in Orange Beach, AL was a godsend for the fans and a disaster for the ticket sellers. The shows are July 2, 3 and 4. Prices have continued to drop since the tickets went on sale. The ticket sellers who bought these tickets were crushed. According to StubHub, there are currently 2,067 tickets in the secondary market for the July 4th show. Tickets that once cost $ 115 after fees are now as low as $ 9 plus fees. The July 2 show has 567 tickets for sale starting at $ 49 and the July 3 show has 722 tickets for sale starting at $ 55.
Why is this important? Two reasons. First, there is a false narrative that ticket sellers are bad for fans. The story is always told this way: The bad actors get all the tickets using technology and sell the tickets for a lot more money. The Federal Trade Commission even held a hearing several years ago, with an opening speech by a University of Chicago economist who spoke at length about “rent seeking” and how people who Line up to see Charles Dickens had to pay extra for the Scalpers ticket. Here’s what was never said: About 40% of all tickets in resale markets sell out. below nominal value. Fans save money on all of these shows. Like, maybe, a 90% discount on Luke Combs. You won’t see this happening in primary markets. If you try to buy Luke Combs in the primary market today, you will still be charged $ 40.50 plus fees for the exact same ticket which costs $ 9 plus fees in most secondary markets.
It is not a unique situation. Bruce Springsteen has resumed his solo Broadway show, upgraded it from a 925-seat theater to a 1,710-seat theater, and kept his ticket prices between $ 600 and $ 800 plus fees for all seats. except the worst. These tickets are now readily available at half price in most resale markets. Why? Maybe because what was once an intimate spectacle is now generic. It’s special to share a table for dinner, it’s something completely different to being at table number 37. Other examples are some shows by Sebastian Maniscalco, and even 21 pilots that sell below their face value right now for their September 4th show in Milwaukee, WI. Baseball tickets are generally very cheap during the season and expensive for the playoffs.
Like all things in life, there is never just one side to the story. Ticket sellers risk their own money and buy tickets. This is why you can get a ticket for almost any show when it comes to your city. People forgot that before, once a show was sold out, you were out of luck. Now, because of the ticket sellers, there are always options. Sometimes they cost more, sometimes they cost less. They take the risk, and you can choose whether or when to buy.
Luke Combs is keeping the money he received from the ticket vendors who bought his shows at Orange Beach and are now digesting huge losses. He got paid. Fans can walk through the door for less than what they would pay at the bar for a few beers. The system is working. The offer is still there, tickets sometimes cost more, and sometimes less. The consumer decides when and if he buys something. But, there is a catch and it is this: if you liked getting a 90% ticket, you can’t complain about the time you had to pay more. Here’s my advice: If price is the critical factor, stick with collapsing shows, where prices drop quickly. They’re just as fun as those expensive shows. When you’re my age all you’ll remember is that you had fun and after all isn’t that the point?