Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Other Side of StubHub

The whole StubHub issue has been covered fairly recently on some other sites, and frankly, I don't have a real strong opinion either way about the "black" market for event tickets. I've bought from, and sold to, both SH and ebay; sometimes for a great deal, sometimes to make money, sometimes to overpay for something I really wanted to see.

Is it frustrating to get shut out of a concert at the 9:30 club and then see a third of the tickets for the show on ebay? Yeah, of course. So I applaud bands, like Smashing Pumpkins did, and like Bad Religion is doing for their fall tour, for doing a will-call only, non-transferable sale where the buyer has to pick up the tickets and go directly into the venue. That's really the only way to prevent scalping. I also don't think that's a viable solution for a 48,000 person event like, say, next Thursday's Sox-O's game at Camden Yards. And that's where Stubhub comes in...

Through the O's directly, the best seats available were right field box seats, near the right field corner, about 25-30 rows off the field for $40/ticket plus the extra charges. Well, I'll be at the game, three rows off the field in section 78, right behind the left field wall, home run territory, hopefully right behind Manny, or at least close enough to yell "Prettyboy!" at Markakis all night, for $18/ticket, all charges included. I bought them through Stubhub; these are face value, at least $25/ticket. So I win. And that's my point: occasionally, you can win with these sites. Like the time I was in the first row on the field just past first base at PNC Park with tickets I bought from ebay for five bucks under face per ticket. Savvy fans can actually *gasp* exploit these sites for their own personal gain! And not by overselling- you can do it by underbuying!

Call now, and I'll rush you the details explaining my proven, good seat getting system...Remember, you can't steal awesome seats to a Sox game unless you make the call...

Seriously, though, SH and ebay are like any other commercial, capitalist-based form of commerce. There will always be those willing to pay top dollar for something an unscrupulous person has the balls to sell for twenty times face value. And the rest of us can complain about that all we want, but the fact of the matter is, when I'm holding a home run ball I caught off the bat of Dr. Doubles, or Youk, or whoever, I won't really give a shit about the nefarious business practices of Stubhub. Instead, I'll be pitying the poor schlub Orioles season ticket holder that sold his tickets for half of face value and I'll be glad I live in a country where I can take advantage of that guy with nothing more than a few mouse clicks.

Is it hypocritical to complain about all the U2 tickets being on SH ten minutes after Verizon Center sold out, then turning around and buying Sox tickets from the same business? Yeah, probably a little. But I'm okay with that. Like Roger McGuinn said, to everything, there is a season, a baseball season under heaven. And heaven to me is saving seven bucks off face to see one last Sox game at Camden Yards before I move to Pittsburgh. So viva capitalism. It's only a game...

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