How to find tickets to a hot sold-out event

October 9, 2015

So your favourite sporting team or music group has finally come to town and you're thrilled—but all the tickets are sold out! It's not the end of the world: learn all about the secondary market, and how to get tickets even when they're "sold out" below.

How to find tickets to a hot sold-out event

Don't take “sold out” literally

  • Never take it literally when it's announced that there are no more tickets left for a major concert, show or sporting event. "Nothing's ever really sold out," says Kenneth Dotson, chief marketing officer at TicketsNow.
  • "Sold out' just means that face-value tickets at the box office are gone. There are always tickets available for any hot event." And he should know. His is one of a growing number of reputable online ticket brokering sites that hook up ticket-seekers with licensed ticket re-sellers. And most of the time there are tickets to be had right up to the last minute.
  • Just go to the site, see what's still there and buy the ticket right then and there. The cost? Don't ask. But a lot of sold-out concerts are once-in-a-lifetime events that you might be willing to splurge on. For example, as we've been hearing since 1972, the next Rolling Stones tour will probably be their last one.

Get a good seat by paying more

  • The cruelest deception foisted on the public is that good seats for big-time concerts or sporting events are available at the box office if you jump on them fast enough. Forget it. The bigger a show is, the less likely it is that any significant number of decent seats are going to be sold through the standard channels. They all go to promoters, advertisers, underwriters, sponsors and a host of other insiders with enough pull to get first shot at big blocks of tickets. In other words, you didn't miss out on the good seats; they were never there in the first place.
  • But that doesn't mean you can't get your hands on them. You can, on what's called the "secondary market." While most regular folks assume they're doomed to the "nosebleed section," the smart ones are snapping up the choice-location tickets that the insiders turned around and unloaded to licensed re-sellers. Those prime tickets are sitting there at online ticket broker sites, waiting for you to point, click and buy.
  • You'll pay considerably more than what's printed on the ticket, of course, but that price was an illusion to start with. These days, face value has given way to market value. That has created controversy, but right now it's the way it is. At least you can be assured that what you're paying for good seats is exactly what they're worth on the free market. So if your team looks like it could make it to the World Series, or Coldplay's coming to town, ignore what the ads say and go directly to a reputable online ticket brokering site like TicketsNow that guarantees you're not being sold fraudulent or stolen tickets.
  • You'll be in a privileged position, because the entertainment and sports industries still maintain the farce that tickets in the 21st century are sold like they were in the 20th. No ad says, "Good seats available on the secondary market." But for major events, that's the only place they're available.
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