Undercover Investigation Reveals Ticketmaster Hires Professional Scalpers to Drive Ticket Prices

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Ticketmaster tickets and gift cards are shown at a box office in San Jose, Calif., in 2009. "There is a ticket limit, usually about 6-8, to "...discourage unfair ticket buying practices".

Seglins is one of the reporters who went undercover, posing as a ticket broker from Toronto.

In July of this year, the news outlets sent a pair of reporters undercover to Ticket Summit 2018, a ticketing and live entertainment convention in Las Vegas.

In other words, Ticketmaster tried to recruit these fake scalpers to resell tickets at an inflated price via a their owned and operated platform named TradeDesk - which gives Ticketmaster themselves a cut of the profit.

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"As long as there is an imbalance between supply and demand in live event tickets, there will inevitably be a secondary market", Martin said.

During the March video presentation, the CBC reports, a Ticketmaster employee said that 100 scalpers across North America were using TradeDesk to each sell somewhere between a few thousand and several million tickets per year - "I think our biggest broker right now has probably grabbed around five million", the representative is reported to have said.

At the convention, a Ticketmaster "resale director" held a session closed to the media, CBC reported. The journalists identified themselves as scalpers and wore hidden cameras, and were immediately invited to join Ticketmaster's "professional reseller" program.

A TradeDesk sales executive also described the partnership between Ticketmaster and TradeDesk as "church and state".

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Ticketmaster has yet to issue a public statement, but wrote to CBC, saying "that as the world's leading ticketing platform, representing thousands of teams, artists and venues, we believe it is our job to offer a marketplace that provides a safe and fair place for fans to shop, buy and sell tickets in both the primary and secondary markets".

"They have a secret scalper program that they don't talk about in any corporate reports", CBC investigative reporter Dave Seglins said. The employee said Ticketmaster had spent millions on TradeDesk.

Interesting reporting, but not particularly ground-breaking - we all know that Ticketmaster uses dynamic pricing, just like hotels and the airline industry, to scale tickets and drive yield. The report has some new information about how the company prices concert tickets, narrowing in on two Bruno Mars concerts at Scotiabank Centre this weekend, showing how prices can suddenly swing up for hot ticket shows. When the undercover reporter asks whether Ticketmaster will be "policing our accounts" for violations of its policy, the rep explains "No". So, for example, if Ticketmaster collects $25.75 on a $209.50 ticket on the initial sale, when the owner posts it for resale for $400 on the site, the company stands to collect an additional $76 on the same ticket.

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