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Ticket Reselling Lessons Learned
Last year PDX Deals Guy wrote two somewhat controversial posts about ticket reselling for manufactured spend. Just as with regular reselling, ticket reselling is actually more of a business than true MS and it is multiples more risky. Still, if you know what you are doing then the gains can be nice as can the additional spend on credit cards.
The problem is actually in learning the game. It takes time to know when you have spotted a good deal and when you should run away as fast as you can. Unfortunately these lessons are often learned the hard way. This year I have dabbled with ticket reselling and while I have had some nice victories, I have also had a couple of tough, tough losses.
Things to Know
Before I share a couple of my stories, I thought I would lay out a few disclaimers. In addition to being very risky, ticket reselling is a business. You should always consult your financial/legal professionals to determine what that means in your situation. For me, the profits/losses on ticket reselling are calculated as business income and reported on my tax return.
The Case of Adele
Adele announced her world tour last year and fans went crazy. So did ticket prices. There was so much demand in fact, that it was nearly impossible to get tickets. I personally was only able to get a total of 6 tickets. I purchased 4 tickets for her first Seattle show along with a single ticket for the second Seattle show and a single for her Phoenix show.
As of now I have sold five of the six tickets. The only one remaining is the single in Phoenix. Not a huge deal since prices are still strong. All of the Seattle tickets sold for over 5X the face value within days of me buying them. Imagine quintupling your money in just a few days. That is the upside of ticket reselling. If only they were all that way!
The Case of Paul Simon
A few months ago tickets went on sale for Paul Simon at the Hollywood Bowl. The prices were a bit steep, but I personally thought this show would do well. The Hollywood Bowl is a famous venue and the demographics in Southern California seem to support that type of show, or at least I thought.
I bought 8 tickets and quickly realized that they weren’t moving. Prices on StubHub began to drop and eventually I sold a few for a small loss. Of course as the show got closer, things turned ugly quickly. Prices were slashed and in the days before the concert I sold my remaining tickets for 20-50% of face value. In other words, a huge and painful loss!
While there are most certainly dozens (hundreds) of lessons to learn when buying/reselling tickets here are a few:
- The day of the week matters – The Paul Simon show was on a Tuesday. If you have a choice, weekend/holiday dates are often better.
- Watch for Open Dates – Adele didn’t do this, but always watch for the potential of the artist adding new shows. Often they leave open dates in certain cities so they can add more shows if demand is high.
- Limit your risk – While you might think you are getting the next big score, it probably isn’t wise to put all of your eggs in one basket. Limiting the quantity you buy does limit profits, but it also limits losses.
- Leave emotion out of it – It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of the artist, this is a business. Treat your purchasing decisions as business decisions. Do your best with the information provided and move on.
- Get over the losses – If you do it right, then there will be more gains than losses. Many more. That doesn’t make the Paul Simon situations any easier to deal with though. Do your best to accept the losses and move on. It is a cost of doing business, although emotionally it hurts.
- Sign up for presales – Amex and other presales help you get tickets before everyone else. Of course you are going against professional ticket brokers and even the occasional fan, but signing up for every presale email, will keep you up to date on potential opportunities. Cough..Hamilton…Cough.
Please share your own lessons learned in the comments!
Paul Simon CD Giveaway
Along with the Paul Simon tickets, came a free copy of his new CD. If you are a Paul Simon fan and are interested in getting a copy, just leave a comment. I will send the first 7 people who ask, a Paul Simon CD. Please only request a CD if you plan to use it since I would love for these VERY COSTLY CDs to go to a good home.
Just like merchandise reselling, ticket reselling is a business, albeit a more risky one. For that reason I don’t think it is something I want to do full time, but I am glad to jump on the right opportunity if it presents itself. Of course being able to spot said opportunities is easier said than done, but I’m getting better. For now I’ll just pray for more Adele wins and less Paul Simon losses.
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