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« Missouri-Nevada Pay-per-view Options | Main | It's a Donut. It's a Burger. No! It's, um, it's, um... I Have No Idea! »


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Since the tickets have to be rationed somehow, the burden is on the anti-scalper to explain why some other system of rationing (e.g., who is willing to spend the most time waiting on line; who has the best insider connections, dumb luck of a lottery, etc.) is "superior" -- morally or otherwise -- to a price-based system.


The argument isn't convincing, but it goes like this:

Most tickets are sold retail, with some going to scalpers. Then the scalpers sell the tickets to poor folks who didn't get retail for 3-5 times the price. So ideally, without scalping the total number of tickets and the total dollars would be the same, but the distribution would be different: all tickets would be sold at a slightly higher retail price, and the profits would go to the stadium/team rather than to the scalper. So the people who buy scalped tickets are ripped off - they're subsidizing everybody else.

Scalpers do not in fact make more seats available, nor do they necessarily make tickets available to people who would not otherwise be able to obtain them. Their initial purchasing power is more akin to a cartel than to a perfect-competition retailer.

This doesn't really address the more complex and subtle issues of filling a stadium, or finding the ideal price when game-to-game attendance is variable, or the realities of the scalpers' business model, but those abstract musings usually aren't in the mind of the fan paying three times retail. Demonic scalpers has more of a gut-reaction truth to it.

Mike Norton

I believe my article a few months ago on eliminating scalpers by way of cutting them out of the equation with a dutch auction system.

This way a price system is still the basis for sales, but the extra revenue that the scalper generated by getting in the middle is now given to the team selling the tickets. This does nothing to help fans in terms of cost given that in the long run ticket costs will be about the same, but it does give more money to the team and (as an added bonus) ensure more sell-outs which increase advertising and concessions revenues.

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