Secondary ticketing: who adds the highest fees?

Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic worldwide tour has sold out in one day, except it hasn’t, as thousands of tickets have appeared on secondary ticketing websites for marked-up prices.

However, it’s not just the increase on face value that’s the sting, as Viagogo, eBay’s StubHub, and Ticketmaster’s Seatwave and Get Me In! (both owned by parent Live Nation) are still adding extortionate booking and delivery fees onto ticket prices.

One million face value tickets for Mars’ global arena tour sold out in just one day after general sale on November 21st. The star will embark on a 100 show tour spanning 17 countries from March next year to support his latest album of the same name.

Since the dates sold-out, more shows have been announced, including two more nights at London’s O2 Arena, plus extra dates at arenas in Glasgow, Birmingham, Ireland and Manchester.

Secondary ticketing has come under scrutiny recently—the British government has recommended a fresh investigation into regulating the ticketing market and Live Nation Italy has come under fire after admitting giving tickets directly to the resale website Viagogo.

Meanwhile, the practice rumbles on, with fans expected to fork out unreasonable amounts of cash for the privilege of buying an expensive ticket. So who boasts the highest added fees for Mars’ sold-out O2 Arena date in London on April 18th?

On the lower end of the scale is Stubhub with £14.63 fees for a print-at-home ticket that costs £75 (face value £50), or 20% of the ticket price.

One standing ticket to Mars’ O2 Arena show on April 18th is being sold on Get Me In! for £130.79: 34% over its face value of £97.75.

Add in the £24.88 processing fee and £10.57 delivery and you get a total of £166.24, with fees counting for 27% of the ticket price.

Rather cheekily, the site throws in a free ‘Fanguard Guarantee’ into the basket that ensures buyers get a 100% refund if the tickets aren’t dispatched in time. 

A seller on Seatwave, meanwhile, is advertising a £45 face value ticket for £115 (155%+), with booking fees at £21.99, delivery and handling at £9.99 (28%), and a total of £146.98.

Lastly, and on the highest end of the scale, Viagogo doesn’t display the face value price of a £69.26 ticket.

The eticket—as in a ticket that gets sent via email—has a ‘secure ticket handling’ fee of £4.95, plus £23.60 VAT and booking, or 41% of the ticket price.

Estimates pit the secondary ticketing market at $8 billion a year worldwide and the scale of growth for secondary websites is quite extraordinary.

During the second quarter of this year, money that changed hands between buyers and sellers on StubHub’s online marketplace generated $225 million in net revenue for eBay, up 40% year-on-year.

In the calendar year of 2015, Live Nation’s secondary ticketing operation hosted $1.2bn in gross transactional revenues — running in 13 countries and delivering 34% YoY growth.

Music Business Worldwide

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