Why This Matters: Fighting against online ticket scammers helps keep tickets to Broadway shows affordable.
By Bernie Petit
While “Hamilton” tickets will be in demand when the national tour hits town in October, Blumenthal Performing Arts is already working to ensure fans won’t get ripped off buying them.
To fight against scammers who use computer programs called bots to purchase large quantities of tickets and then charge theater fans inflated prices – such as $600 for balcony seats to the recent production of “Phantom of the Opera” – Blumenthal is stepping up enforcement of its six-year policy against reselling tickets for more than $10 above face value.
That includes voiding overpriced tickets purchased from online resale sites. As reported by The Charlotte Observer, Blumenthal is also considering implementing paperless tickets for “Hamilton,” meaning those who purchase tickets would need to present a photo I.D. and the credit card used to purchase their seats in order to see the show.
The resale market is “fueled in part because of ‘Hamilton’ because it’s one of the all-time great Broadway shows and it attracts a younger audience,” said Blumenthal President Tom Gabbard. “We can look online and we can see, for instance, ‘Hamilton’ tickets being offered right now that are absolutely bogus.”
The crackdown is about more than “Hamilton.” Gabbard said he’s gone online and found tickets priced at more than $200 each to see the Charlotte Symphony. A recent Stubhub search revealed tickets for the groundbreaking musical “Waitress,” which runs March 13-18, selling for $70 more than similarly priced tickets on CarolinaTix.com.
Gabbard said Blumenthal’s fight against inflated prices on the secondary market is about protecting the affordability of its tickets. It makes 100 seats available for $25 for most of its Broadway shows.
“One of my benchmarks is, ‘Can a schoolteacher afford to buy a ticket to one of our shows?’” he said. “If brokers are buying those affordable tickets and jacking up the prices, that affordability is lost.”
Its commitment to protecting ticket prices also helps Blumenthal build lifelong relationships with patrons by making it possible for them to visit more than once a season.
“We don’t want to see a situation where they can’t afford it or they had to save up all year to buy a ticket to that show they want to see and they can’t come up to see anything else during the year,” Gabbard said.
In the professional sports world, leagues that once opposed ticket resale are active participants in the secondary market. However, Blumenthal does not cooperate with any ticket brokers.
That’s because arts events are different and should be treated as such.
“We’re not the Super Bowl. We’re not Beyoncé,” Gabbard said. “Arts events deserve to be protected. They’re in facilities built with taxpayer dollars for the public benefit and they need to be protected so the benefits of the arts can be felt by everyone in the community, not just the wealthy.”
What to Know Before Buying Your Broadway Tickets
Blumenthal Performing Arts offers these FAQs on its ticketing policies:
What are the safe and official places to get tickets to Blumenthal events?
The only official websites to order tickets to events at Blumenthal are www.blumenthalarts.org and www.carolinatix.org. For our events at Ovens Auditorium, www.ticketmaster.com. If you purchase on other websites, you should worry about being ripped off with higher prices and fraudulent tickets. Blumenthal does not cooperate or partner with any ticket reseller or website. We only use the three sites listed above to sell tickets to events at:
- Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
- Belk Theater
- Booth Playhouse
- Stage Door Theater
- Knight Theater
- Spirit Square
- McGlohon Theater
- Duke Energy Theater
- Ovens Auditorium for events presented there by Blumenthal Performing Arts (tickets for Ovens hosted events are also available through Ticketmaster.com)
Why does using an official ticketing site matter?
Ticket brokers are trying to get you to pay more for your tickets for their profit. They use images of Blumenthal venues and shows, and use names to look official. They are not. Look carefully at the fine print and you’ll see that most don’t actually have tickets in hand. They are advertising to find prospects who are willing to pay inflated prices if they are somehow able to procure them. Our official sites sell tickets for the face value price – the amount you will see printed on the front of the tickets.
Are all tickets on unofficial ticketing sites fraudulent?
Most resale tickets violate Blumenthal’s resale policy and are subject to being canceled. Blumenthal prohibits reselling a ticket for more than $10 above its face value, plus taxes and fees. Most of the tickets being offered on other sites are above that amount. If you buy a ticket that violates the resale policy, you risk seeing it canceled and made worthless.
Why are so many ticket sources listed when I search for tickets on the internet?
Money. The resale of tickets has become a big business. Resellers use electronic bots to scoop up tickets as soon as they go on sale so they are not available to fans at the regular price. If you Google a Blumenthal event you’ll quickly find dozens of brokers who advertise to sell you inflated or fraudulent tickets.
Why can I purchase tickets for a show like HAMILTON on resale sites when it’s not on sale yet at BlumenthalArts.org?
You can’t! The tickets don’t exist. Anyone selling events not yet on public sale don’t have tickets and may never have them. They are looking for prospects to sell to if they somehow are able to get hold of tickets. You will pay upfront but have no guarantee your order will be filled. The tickets may be voided if they are priced at more than $10 above the original price, plus taxes and fees.
Be wary if you see no exact seat location listed on resale sites. That is a clue that the reseller does not have actual tickets in their procession and may never fulfill your order.
How do resellers get tickets?
Blumenthal does not cooperate or assist any broker. Some resellers’ allow the general public to post tickets for resale. Professional resellers acquire large quantities of tickets through computerized bots. These bots can prevent the general public from being able to acquire seats by blocking fan access to the official site when shows go on sale. Blumenthal reviews transactions daily to identify brokers and void their purchases. When we find tickets that are legally purchased, but sold for a higher price that violates our resale policy, we void those tickets.
What if I can’t make an event and want to resell my tickets for a Blumenthal show?
Season ticketholders are able to switch to another performance of the same show, and may be able to swap to an entirely different show. Our resale policy allows you to resell your seat(s) for no more than $10 above the face value, plus the taxes and fees.
We also encourage you to contact us prior to reselling your seats. We will attempt to work with you to move you to another performance or event and eliminate the hassle of reselling.
Why does Blumenthal discourage ticket resale?
Blumenthal Performing Arts wants our tickets to go to real fans at a fair price and without question about their validity. Resellers are only interested in driving up prices that fans have to pay and making money from it. None of the upcharge goes to the production, artists or creative personnel. The entire upcharge goes to those trying to profit off the demand for our tickets.
QUESTIONS? Call or email us. 704.372.1000 or email@example.com.