Going to any event live is a riveting experience. It makes either the team you watch on television seem larger than life, or the artist’s music all the more powerful. As someone who has lived in the greater New York metropolitan area his whole life, more often than not this has meant going to an event at Madison Square Garden.
Madison Square Garden, or MSG, is the pinnacle of arenas. It has been dubbed the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” and for great reasons. It’s been home to the New York Rangers for almost 90 years and the Knicks for 70 years. Aside from those mainstays, MSG has hosted thousands and thousands of iconic events ranging from heavyweight champion boxing matches to Papal masses and everything in between.
But a persisting problem in the event industry is amplified even more at MSG. It is nearly impossible to find a reasonably priced ticket for any event.
There are several factors that contribute to this issue. The looming elephant in the room no franchise or arena wants to acknowledge is that performers reserve a large number of seats for their own “people.” I mean, the Biebs reserved 28 percent of the seats in the entire arena for his people last time he had a concert at MSG which amounts to 5,278 seats unavailable for purchase.
The other side to this is pre-sales for those who hold specific credit cards. As a Ranger fan who doesn’t have a Chase card, I can never get tickets directly from the team because I don’t have access to the Chase presales. This limited ticket availability from the team forces me to go to secondary ticket markets like Ticketmaster and Stubhub.
Another problem badly amplified at Madison Square Garden is ticket brokers: an individual who buys mass quantities of tickets at face value as soon as they’re made available.
Where the ticket broker makes his money is relisting the tickets he/she bought at dramatic mark ups of the face value. They pollute the market with overpriced tickets and turn a hot ticket into a nuclear hot ticket. When U2 played MSG in 2014 one broker bought 1,012 tickets within minutes of being made available to the public even though there’s a “strict four ticket policy.”
Now, the Madison Square Garden company — which owns both the franchises that play in it and the arena itself — has tried to combat this by limiting people with season tickets to only owning eight seats.
This is a step in the right direction but it does not do enough to protect the average fan who can only attend one or two games a year because of the market. The casual fan needs to be protected by the team or artist to which or whom they are loyal. Several artists, including AC/DC, Metallica and Tom Waits, have tried various means including showing ID or a credit card instead of a ticket to prohibit tickets bought by scalpers from getting into the show.
When New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman isn’t harassing fantasy sports players, he’s doing nothing about scalpers or TicketMaster’s evil and shady business practices and he puts out “reports” on ticket selling laws and ticket pricing, which is essentially fluffled up rhetoric.
We the consumer need a fair ticket market. There has to be a means of getting as many average consumers into the arena as possible. Not to discriminate against those that are wealthy, but premium seating is supposed to be a sign of luxury.
$175 for an obstructed view at a Bruce Springsteen concert is a premium seat price for a joke of a seat.