If $90 seems a bit much to pay for tickets to see comedian Paula Poundstone at the Tower Theatre next month, it is.
Officially, tickets for the show max out at $49.50, though they are selling for more on resale ticket sites – a point the theater made in an email blast this week.
“Beware of unofficial websites selling tickets at inflated prices,” the email reads, in bright red letters. “Purchasing tickets on the secondary market could be ten times the price what the venue is selling them for.”
Tickets for the theater’s shows average around $40.
This kind of online ticket scalping isn’t new. Organizers at the Mid State Fair issued a similar warning prior to Garth Brook’s performance last month, when tickets for the concert – officially selling for $73.98 – were seen listed on the secondary market for up to $2,100.
This kind of ticket reselling isn’t illegal. In fact, it is big business (like $8 billion big, according to The New York Times). Which makes sense, as concertgoers look for ways to get around the ticket-buying process, especially for those hard-to-find seats (like Justin Bieber, Paul McCartney or Garth Brooks). Some are willing to pay inflated prices (and risk buying fake tickets) just to forgo all the hassle.
And that’s fine for mainstream sites like StubHub and Vivid Seats, which are fairly up front about their secondary-market status. Other resellers however, are more dubious, often operating websites with URLs that appear to be related to venues.
A Google search for Fresno’s Save Mart Center, for example, brings up results for both www.savemartcenterboxoffice.com and savemart.centerfresno.com. Neither are the arena’s official site, savemartcenter.com.
Nor is towertheatrefresno.boxoffice-tickets.com (which is selling those $90 Paula Poundstone tickets) the official Tower Theatre website or affiliated with the venue. It does have listings for several concerts happening at the theater, including a Sept. 12 date for Magpie Salute. Those tickets range from $186-$437 on the site.
On the Tower Theatre site, the tickets are $46.50, general admission and still readily available.
When in doubt, experts suggest buying tickets directly from the venue or checking with official ticket sellers. Most major events in this area (at venues like the Save Mart Center, Selland Arena or Saroyan Theatre) go through Ticketmaster.