Changing course: Does the online event ticketing industry need a new direction?
In a modern, highly technological environment, the transition from traditional paper tickets that were purchased in physical box offices (and other points of sale) to fully digitized e-ticketing solutions was inevitable.
However, in a strange twist of events, while the rapid development of online shopping trends has mostly benefited consumers in terms of greater choice and lower prices, the current state of affairs in the ticketing business could not be more different.
Many fans feel that the industry in its current form is totally broken and are calling for the creation of a new model which will inject more fairness, security, transparency and better payment option flexibility into this failed system.
In recent years, this burning issue has been receiving increased attention from the media, legislators, and consumer protection agencies.
How Does the Market Look?
Today, the online sports and entertainment ticketing sector can be broken down into two main segments: primary and secondary markets.
Primary ticketing sellers are the original providers of tickets at face value (which is determined by the venue or the event organizer).
These companies offer the original access to the tickets for the very first time.
Secondary market platforms give users the freedom to resell event tickets (often for a profit) at prices which are set by the seller.
The obvious result? In most cases, tickets are resold on these marketplace websites for much higher prices than their face value.
Here are a few typical issues and concerns which online consumers have:
Some ticket brokers use sophisticated (and controversial) automated software applications known as “bots”, which have one purpose: to bulk buy tickets on primary markets as quickly as possible.
The inevitable outcome? Major events usually sell out within minutes, leaving price-sensitive consumers with no realistic chance to buy tickets through officially authorized channels.
Buying authentic tickets online can be a tricky business.
Scammers and fraudsters try to take advantage of every online platform (like eBay, Craigslist, and even some ticket resale sites) to sell counterfeit tickets to people who desperately look for last-minute seats to their desired concert, sports game, or show.
Customers often wonder whether they’re paying for a legitimate ticket or a fake one.
Some vendors are not transparent enough regarding the full ticket costs, fees, and taxes until late in the checkout process, a practice which may mislead music fans, sports lovers, and theatergoers.
To prevent confusion or deception, customers need to get a clearer picture of ticket prices and all their associated fees right from the start.
Major credit and debit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and others are still the most popular means of paying for tickets.
However, more and more ticket buyers prefer alternative payment methods and look for ticket websites that accept PayPal, Bitcoin, or their favorite digital wallet.
As there is no easy fix for this market’s flaws, the current situation calls for a combined effort by technology solution providers, regulators, artists, event organizers, and the industry itself.