End of ticket fees? Miami Dolphins fee free ticket offer
Momentous news! #FeeFreeFriday is back with all the latest TMZ-style staccato of news on the end of ticket fees. This week we almost can't believe our eyes as the homepage of the NFL' Miami Dolphins touts they are not charging service fees on game tickets. Our morbid curiosity with scalping continues with a look at a new wrinkle that Mumford & Sons are none too happy about. Plus a post-mortem on Black Friday finds even more waivers on ticket fees.
Have the Miami Dolphins really put an end to ticket fees, or is this all just a dream?
Regular readers of Fee Free Friday know that some of the highest most outrageous fees are on professional football tickets. Fees totaling hundreds of dollars per ticket have been reported. If you count the notorious "ticket license" as a fee, that amount can jump to five figures.
Given the past atrocities one could be excused for taking a position of disbelief yesterday when the NFL Miami Dolphins announced they are not charging service fees on the tickets for their next two home games. A quick jump over to dolphins.com right shows that the south Florida fan favorites truly are waiving fees. Craig Davis writes 'The Business & Pleasure of Sports' for the Sun Sentinel and describes the pleasure of the Dolphins no fee ticket option:
The Miami Dolphins are waiving service fees for the purchase of tickets to the season’s final two home games until 5 p.m. Friday. The offer is for the Jacksonville Jaguars game on Dec. 16 and Buffalo Bills game on Dec. 23, and will eliminate the processing/convenience fees, credit card fees and standard delivery costs associated with the costs of purchasing a game ticket.
Sadly, the no fee offer ends today (We knew this was too good to be true). The Dolphins and Ticketmaster deserve recognition for this fan friendly gesture, albeit an all too brief one. Much like the notorious season of the 80's TV drama 'Dallas', the idea that a NFL team would permanently drop ticket fees is "just a dream".
It is important to note that there are so-called "value added re-sellers" claiming to have Miami Dolphin game tickets with "no fees" but those are not authorized sales agents. The Dolphins no fee offer is only available through the official website, as Davis mentions in his article. Football fans should always buy tickets directly from the team's official outlets.
Unauthorized re-sellers, more commonly known as "scalpers", are salivating at the prospect of the upcoming post-season...
Craig Schneider has written a sordid story of football ticket scalping and the outrageous face value mark-ups associated with it, in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 'Massive marketplace for ticket scalpers' looks at the trials and tribulations of unauthorized re-sales of football tickets in the 21st century. Gone are the hand made signs and spoken pleas, replaced with the ubiquitous smartphone. Atlanta municipal laws against scalping have given rise to a shadowy "grey" market that is invisible to law enforcement. Schneider explains:
Even though the game is sold out, thousands of tickets are available in the secondary market, ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to a several thousand. Beyond that, scalpers are expected to ply their trade on many a corner near the Georgia Dome, as well as the many pregame gatherings beforehand in area hotels.
Jason Crowley, a 29-year-old from Buckhead, chose this game-of-games to launch a smart phone application that connects ticket sellers with buyers...Not everyone comes to the role of ticket scalper easily. Some feel a little creepy doing it.
One may think the simple re-sale of a single pair of tickets doesn't harm anyone, but the story reveals a larger issue - third parties profiteering, often through ticket fees, by being the network connecting "simple re-sale" on a very large scale.
Crowley’s [smartphone] app adds a level of discretion, letting the horse-trading go on anywhere without attracting attention. He said it’s aimed at people who are tailgating and hoping to discretely find a ticket nearby. A different technology threatens to dampen the day for some unwary fans: the kind used in counterfeiting. That’s become so sophisticated that many victims don’t know they've been duped until they reach the gate.
Regardless if one person re-selling their tickets is "harmless" or not, in aggregation, the unauthorized transactions create a environment in which counterfeiting is rampant. Ticket counterfeiting hurts all parties involved - the venue, the consumer and the ticket industry.
Third party networks connecting ticket holders with others for the purposes of resale manifests itself in other ways, on other continents...
Mums The Word
Grammy-winning English folk-rock band Mumford & Sons wrote a message to their fans on Monday addressing the issue of unauthorized concert ticket re-sale. The message was one of understanding and also a mild warning. Demand for Mumford tickets is very high, as such, all the usual suspects arrive to spoil the fun - scalper, both human and robot. The band urges fans to take care when buying tickets from outlets that are not officially licensed:
We’ve heard from many of you recently with issues regarding ticketing for Mumford & Sons shows.
As musicians and gig goers ourselves, we hate seeing tickets for our shows up on sites within minutes of going on sale at double and triple face value just as much as you do. We don’t control these sites. We can’t guarantee the tickets are real. And we don’t benefit financially.
The fact remains that ticket reselling in one form or another is legal in the vast majority of situations, which distorts the market and encourages speculation. In the absence of government legislation, the best we can promise you is to do everything we can to make the ticket-buying experience as fair and affordable as possible, and to work with promoters and ticket-selling companies to keep tickets out of the secondary markets.
To that end, we are working on new ways to ensure that as many tickets as possible end up in the right hands. Some will undoubtedly work better than others, so we ask that you bear with us if it takes an extra few minutes to get into a venue, or if the purchasing page requires an extra step. We believe ultimately we can create a fairer experience that will benefit everyone. Everyone but the touts and scalpers, that is.
Venue owners and reputable ticket sales agents are encourage to read Helienne Lindvall's take on this issue. Her in-depth look titled 'How music lovers lose out from fan-to-fan ticket exchanges' cites the Mumford message to fans and several other authoritative examples of the perils of re-sale. Fee Free Friday will continue to monitor these peer-to-peer networks, especially the enabling connective applications. Napster brought the music industry to its knees using peer-to-peer networking, will the ticket industry suffer the same fate?
This is normally the place where Fee Free Friday puts the 'Wall of Woe' but this week is different. When there is good news to report in the world of ticket fees #FFF is obligated to share it, even if it means usurping the weekly cries of angry ticket buyers. Of course the 'Wall of Woe' isn't going anywhere, the tidal wave of anguish unreasonable per-ticket fees and services charges causes is just too great to ignore. But for a moment, let's look at the momentum the application of reasonable ticket fees are gathering...
"The Hui 'O Hawai'i Club does not make any profit from this event. We charge ticket fees to cover all Lu'au expenses and to ensure that there are sufficient funds to continue putting on this event year after year."
"The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford will celebrate Cyber Monday by waiving all ticketing fees on all shows. The waived per-ticket fee will be in effect Sunday, Nov. 25 at 5 p.m. and continue through Monday, Nov. 26 until 5 p.m."
"We have 200 tickets without $5 ticket fees available for The Bluebird Theater - The 6th Annual Birthday Bash & EP Release show! Friday, 1.18.13. How to get em? Email us and we'll hook you up!"
All of the above is very, very encouraging. Is it enough to make you lower or eliminate ticket fees completely?
ThunderTix allows you to sell tickets online with no fees. We encourage you to pass along that savings to the consumer and show them the long-term vision of your business is tied directly to their satisfaction. Your patrons will love that you don’t add fees. It’s that simple. Lower ticket costs through no added fees translate into higher sales and greater patron satisfaction.
Does the ticketing software you are currently using charge you per-ticket fees? Does it give you fine-grained control over tickets fees? Not sure if it would make any difference to your bottom line?