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Pump It Up
03-01-2016, 04:50 PM
Got a call today from a NCAA ticket rep trying to sell me tickets to the Big 10 Tournament. Once I got done laughing, I told him that no, I wouldn't be needing any. He then tried to sell me tickets to Tampa and I advised him that, if my team makes it, I'll be going. He said he'd call me back after regionals.

Posting it here because I figured that may be useful information for you guys who attend every year and follow the ticketing trends.

pgb-ohio
03-01-2016, 07:49 PM
I really don't think anyone at the NCAA specifically thought "Let's not come up with a cool design for the tickets this year to make it easier to transition to online tickets." I don't think they're that forward thinking. I think they didn't put much effort into it (though maybe the designer thought he/she did) because they put so little effort into everything else surrounding college hockey.I'm not saying there was a well thought out, carefully calibrated strategy designed to offend collectors. I just think they went low budget on this year's tickets. The bland result suggests that only limited amounts of time, effort and money were expended.

Why? Maybe it's symptomatic of an effort to phase out paper tickets, as per my original suspicion. Or maybe it's simpler than that. Ticket sales have been slow so far, so maybe they're just looking for ways to rein in costs in this particular year.

Where do we disagree? I see a reduced effort, while you see business as usual.


If they plan to go to online/print out your own tickets, they're going to do it regardless.Home printing isn't the issue, although that would save the tournament host a few bucks.

The looming threat is whether ticketholders are going to be forced to produce the credit card they used to purchase the tickets, in order to gain admission. For now, it's just an option. But if it becomes a requirement, the only way to put tickets on the secondary market would be to go through the Official Ticketmaster system. Otherwise the buyer would be unable to prove he or she had possession of the tickets legitimately. If the NCAA can squeeze all of the scalpers and ticket brokers out of the process, there's real money to be made.

The NCAA may not put a lot of energy into things that take a cut out of revenue. But an opportunity to increase revenue in a significant way? My guess is that the necessary time and energy would be found.;)

BTW, I'm still hoping that "Credit Card as ID" never becomes a requirement. I don't think it's a done deal at this point. But it is a possibility.


The tickets have never been all that cool but I keep them because they're tickets to a great event. I even keep paper Ticketmaster tickets if it's for a cool event. I don't look at the design as a reason to keep or not keep.I'm fine with this approach, although I do think at least some of the past designs have been appealing.

Nick Papagiorgio
03-02-2016, 09:04 AM
But if it becomes a requirement, the only way to put tickets on the secondary market would be to go through the Official Ticketmaster system. Otherwise the buyer would be unable to prove he or she had possession of the tickets legitimately. [b/If the NCAA can squeeze all of the scalpers and ticket brokers out of the process, there's real money to be made.[/b]


What do you mean by this? Just curious. Does the NCAA get a cut of people that transfer tickets on the ticketmaster exchange? I can't imagine it would be all that much money.

CLS
03-02-2016, 10:19 AM
There may be money to be made by squeezing out the scalpers, but it seems to me that there's substantial risk also, given that the FF is no longer a guaranteed sellout, at least in the initial sale. Seems to me that scalpers serve a useful purpose to the NCAA, by absorbing some risk.

I'm also thinking what a pain in the azz it would have been this year. The credit card I used to pay for the tickets got compromised, so I had to cancel it. So I would have had to carry around a canceled credit card for several months.

Nick Papagiorgio
03-02-2016, 10:54 AM
There may be money to be made by squeezing out the scalpers, but it seems to me that there's substantial risk also, given that the FF is no longer a guaranteed sellout, at least in the initial sale. Seems to me that scalpers serve a useful purpose to the NCAA, by absorbing some risk.


That is exactly what I am thinking. Curious to hear another line of thinking on this.

Pucknut
03-02-2016, 04:27 PM
There may be money to be made by squeezing out the scalpers, but it seems to me that there's substantial risk also, given that the FF is no longer a guaranteed sellout, at least in the initial sale. Seems to me that scalpers serve a useful purpose to the NCAA, by absorbing some risk.

I'm also thinking what a pain in the azz it would have been this year. The credit card I used to pay for the tickets got compromised, so I had to cancel it. So I would have had to carry around a canceled credit card for several months.

I would never have thought to keep the card after the old one was compromised, however I didn't choose the "Flash Seat" option so it's not a problem.

Pucknut
03-02-2016, 04:31 PM
Got a call today from a NCAA ticket rep trying to sell me tickets to the Big 10 Tournament. Once I got done laughing, I told him that no, I wouldn't be needing any. He then tried to sell me tickets to Tampa and I advised him that, if my team makes it, I'll be going. He said he'd call me back after regionals.

Posting it here because I figured that may be useful information for you guys who attend every year and follow the ticketing trends.

I would be extremely careful, I have never heard of the NCAA calling anyone to sell tickets. Beware it may be a scam.

theprofromdover
03-02-2016, 06:56 PM
I'm also thinking what a pain in the azz it would have been this year. The credit card I used to pay for the tickets got compromised, so I had to cancel it. So I would have had to carry around a canceled credit card for several months.

I cancelled the card I paid for the tickets with. I was able to go to my account and change to a current card.

pgb-ohio
03-02-2016, 09:10 PM
What do you mean by this? Just curious. Does the NCAA get a cut of people that transfer tickets on the ticketmaster exchange? I can't imagineKindd it would be all that much money.I'll admit to lacking inside knowledge on this. But I have to believe that "Ticket Exchange Powered by Ticketmaster" means that both the NCAA and Ticketmaster are taking their cut.

Would a lucrative amount of money be involved? I'm not sure, and admit the question is worth asking. But everything they do take in is gravy. They've already sold the seats once at full price. If they can sell them again and at least get the fees, aren't they keeping 100 cents on the dollar of those fees? (at least with electronic delivery)

Transaction Fee, Convenience Fee, Delivery Fee, This Week's Clever New Fee -- My recollection is that all the fees add up to something pretty substantial on each transaction. Haven't used the Exchange lately. Though when I have, I've been pretty grateful to have a way to move extra tickets on short notice. But I also remember cringing at the Ticketmaster cut.

In the end, I suppose it's lucrative if enough transactions are involved.


There may be money to be made by squeezing out the scalpers, but it seems to me that there's substantial risk also, given that the FF is no longer a guaranteed sellout, at least in the initial sale. Seems to me that scalpers serve a useful purpose to the NCAA, by absorbing some risk.To the extent that scalpers purchase tickets in the initial lottery, sure. They're putting money in the till that might not otherwise be there. But my sense is that the speculators are essentially gone from the Priority Lottery, amateurs and pros alike.

In contrast, on the Ticket Exchange, neither the NCAA or Ticketmaster assumes any risk at all. Tickets don't sell? NCAA & TM just shrug. It's the Seller who bears 100% of the risk. No sale, no payment to the Seller. It's a consignment arrangement. OK, if the seats stay empty, there's no one there to buy refreshments and T-shirts. But Sellers who list their seats on the Exchange are no-shows waiting to happen. The Exchange actually increases the odds that there will be live customers in those particular seats.

CLS
03-03-2016, 11:11 AM
... But my sense is that the speculators are essentially gone from the Priority Lottery, amateurs and pros alike.

In contrast, on the Ticket Exchange, neither the NCAA or Ticketmaster assumes any risk at all. Tickets don't sell? NCAA & TM just shrug. It's the Seller who bears 100% of the risk. No sale, no payment to the Seller. It's a consignment arrangement. OK, if the seats stay empty, there's no one there to buy refreshments and T-shirts. But Sellers who list their seats on the Exchange are no-shows waiting to happen. The Exchange actually increases the odds that there will be live customers in those particular seats.

I agree. But with a supply and demand priced secondary market, the buyer can hedge his risk a bit. He could sell his ticket at, say 50% of face, the scalper could sell at, say 75% of face, and everybody's happy. If you eliminate the secondary market, the ticket buyer is not only a no-show this year as you point out, but he's also far less likely to be a ticket buyer in the future.

The FF has been through a transition -- from when a FF ticket was a guaranteed profit to a situation in which there is some risk, but the risk can be limited. If the NCAA establishes policies that don't even allow purchasers to limit risk, they chance having unsold tickets as they've had in the past couple of years. And if you have unsold tickets, having a monopoly on the resale market doesn't do you much good.

pgb-ohio
03-03-2016, 04:43 PM
I agree. But with a supply and demand priced secondary market, the buyer can hedge his risk a bit. He could sell his ticket at, say 50% of face, the scalper could sell at, say 75% of face, and everybody's happy. If you eliminate the secondary market, the ticket buyer is not only a no-show this year as you point out, but he's also far less likely to be a ticket buyer in the future.The FF Ticket Exchange is new; as of this morning it hadn't launched just yet. But I am assuming that it will work the same way other Ticketmaster Powered Exchanges work. The most relevant thing for this conversation is that Sellers are free to set the price they want -- above, at or below face value. The fees are deducted from whatever price the Seller is able to command.

Let's walk through your example. Your Seller urgently wants to move the tickets, but would be satisfied with a 50% loss. Nothing's stopping him from listing the tickets on the Exchange at half off. If the Seller wants, he could calculate the expected total fee, and add that to the asking price. That way his net on the sale would actually be a full 50%. At the same time, the higher price would at least slightly increase the risk of no sale at all.

Now take your scalper. If the scalper believes that he can get 75% of face value on the Exchange with very little risk, he's free to buy from the original seller at 50% of face, and immediately re-list the tickets at the 75% figure. The biggest problem is that if the fees are substantial enough, the scalper is likely to take a pass on the Exchange, reducing the opportunities to make a sale in that forum.

But be that as it may, the Exchange doesn't eliminate the secondary market, it's just that the NCAA & TM are butting in, trying to get a piece of the action. And as long as Credit Card ID remains optional, the traditional secondary market can exist side-by-side with the Exchange.

Back to the hypothetical. Let's say Credit Card ID does become mandatory. Who are the winners and losers?

Fans With Extra Tickets
My conclusion may surprise you, but I think the fan with extras breaks even, all things considered. This Seller gets a larger pool of buyers all at once -- no need to deal with potential buyers one at a time. Payments are risk free; his account is electronically credited. It's easier; just create the listing, then you're notified when the sale occurs. No need to ship tickets or meet buyer at the arena. All of these things have value. Will you get less money in the end? Probably. Essentially you're hiring the NCAA/TM to be your broker, which of course means a fee if there's a sale. And yes, if you have no choice in the matter, that part is admittedly obnoxious.

Fans Shopping The Secondary Market
Again, it's kind of a good news/bad news scenario. More or less a break even situation. Seat selection improves. It's like talking to many scalpers all at once. In other words, you can weigh any number of offers, do your own cost/benefit analysis, and choose the deal that's best for you -- giving appropriate weight to both location and price. Will you pay a little more? Probably yes due to the fees, but remember the traditional scalper doesn't work as a hobbyist. It's quite possible that your final cost on any give pair of seats will be roughly the same. You're just paying a different scalper. Last but not least, you basically eliminate the risk of buying counterfeit tickets -- which Ticketmaster will remind you of every chance they get.

NCAA/Ticketmaster
Sell the same seats twice, collect two sets of transaction fees? Winner.
Sell the same seats three times, collect three sets of transaction fees? Bigger Winner.
Resale Seats cause a decline in Traditional sales? Perhaps some $$ are lost. But a customer with decidedly better seats is a happier customer. And it could very well be that such a customer would have cut a deal with a traditional scalper or ticket broker, rather than buying nosebleed seats from the venue at face value.

Traditional Scalpers & Ticket Brokers
As a group, they're certain to lose market share, and thus come out behind. And yet, buying and selling on a computer screen is easier than working the streets. A few skillful brokers may actually come out ahead. Still, doing more with fewer opportunities is admittedly a challenge.


The FF has been through a transition -- from when a FF ticket was a guaranteed profit to a situation in which there is some risk, but the risk can be limited. If the NCAA establishes policies that don't even allow purchasers to limit risk, they chance having unsold tickets as they've had in the past couple of years. And if you have unsold tickets, having a monopoly on the resale market doesn't do you much good.Most of the unsold seats have more to do with the selection of non-traditional cities than anything else.

Obviously non-sold out events are less lucrative for the promoter, no matter what else they do. But controlling both the primary and secondary markets is still more advantageous than controlling only the primary market, other things being equal.

As for the original buyer's risk, I think I've covered that above. But if I'm missing something, do tell.

CLS
03-07-2016, 10:33 AM
pgb,

Thanks for the clarification. Some of my assumptions were wrong. It still seems odd to me for a seller to essentially be competing with itself -- and potentially offer better seats at lower prices through their exchange than they offer through their traditional sales, but many pro teams seem to be doing it, the NCAA has lots more information than I do, and they have some skin in the game and I don't.