How Ticket Brokers Game the Sales System

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When tickets for Adele's North American tour went on sale last December, they sold out in minutes.

A number of tickets immediately surfaced on StubHub, a secondary ticket retailer, where two VIP Adele tickets are currently on sale for $10,400—at least ten times the original cost.

We've all been there: Scanning multiple browser windows as we search for tickets to see that legendary artist, the hottest new musical, or our favorite sports team. But more and more, browser bots from secondary sales sites are getting there first and snapping up the best seats and reselling them for a tidy profit.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently released an investigation into the online ticket scalping industry, which he describes as a "fixed game." Schneiderman has issued fines and penalties, and says that as much as 54 percent of tickets to concerts are taken by secondary markets.

Concert promoter David Taylor applauds the attorney general's efforts. Taylor, the owner of Empire State Concerts, describes the impact on the music industry. Jeff Ely, an economist at Northwestern University, implemented a university-wide fair ticketing system for school sports, called Purple Pricing. He looks at the secondary market's effects on amateur and professional sports.