Local News

Jul 30, 2013 11:25 AM

6 Investigates: Ticket Crunch

CORPUS CHRISTI - How many of you have had trouble getting decent tickets to big concerts coming to town.

It's no secret that big shows at the American Bank Center sell out quick, but you might be surprised to find out why.

The truth is that even if you have the money, you still have to find those tickets, and that can be a tall order.

Ron Brookes is taking his daughter to see Carrie Underwood in September, but even after trying to buy tickets the minute they went on sale, the best he could do was upper balcony.

"I never did see any lower tickets on sale at all," Brookes says.

The problem is mainly two-fold. The first threat is online ticket scalpers. Programmers that swoop in, buy up a bunch of tickets, and re-sell them before you even get a shot.

In fact, Ticketmaster recently dedicated millions of dollars to fighting that problem, improving their system to recognize the programs.

Eric Jaramillo is the Marketing Director for the American Bank Center. He says one thing Ticketmaster has done is identify patterns when a single billing address or credit card buys up a bunch of tickets. When they see that, they check it out, and if it's a program, they eliminate those extra tickets.

But the truth is the scalpers are only part of the problem, because before tickets go on sale to the general public, tons of them are set aside for special groups.

So, unless you're a V.I.P, or part of an artist's fan club, or someone who knows the promoter or the artist, you're probably not going to get the seats you really want.

"At the end of the day, the promoter is renting out the venue, it's their.. ticket inventory. Just looking at Tim McGraw, that was four to five pre-sales before it went on sale to the general public," Jaramillo says.

That's four to five sales you wouldn't know about, unless you were part of one of those groups, or had connections, neither of which the average person has.

"There's items in the contract with the artist, with the record label, that we have to protect," Jaramillo says.

And so, people like Brookes often have to go to scalpers if they want to get the best seats possible, and that means paying more money.

An ironic situation where the scalpers are part of the problem, but sometimes, the solution.

We tried to ask the American Bank Center exactly how many quality tickets were available to the general public for the Carrie Underwood or Tim McGraw shows, but they told us the promoters have that information and rarely release it. They say it's "sensitive information".

The Center does do certain things to try and make some lower level seats available to the public. For instance, sometimes they'll only allow the special groups to reserve every other row in one of the lower sections. That way, members of the general public might have a shot at some of those lower level tickets.

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