Why concert ticket list price matters


Yesterday, AMEX had a presale on Elton John’s farewell tour.  Before I knew what the prices were, my gut was telling me to get good floor seats.  However, I woke up to a rude awakening when I found out floor seats were $250+ (probably close to $300 all-in per ticket.)  That leaves very little room for a profit.  That’s when another reader told me he had flipped his nosebleed tickets ($~50) for $250.  That’s when it made sense to me.  Look at his price tiers at a random location:

To get into the door, you’re paying about $50 plus fees.  To get floor seats, you’re paying the $225 plus fees.  Without looking at resale prices, you can imagine people will price things like this:

  • $222.50 tier = $250 all in cost = $300 buyer list price = $270 take home (so $20 profit)
  • $122.50 tier – probably $200 buyer price
  • $47.50 tier – probably $100 buyer price

While Elton John is a big name, I don’t know if casual fans would pay $200 or $300 to see him (I could be wrong though.)  Plus, he’s most likely going to be on the piano the whole time.  It’s not like you’ll be getting a Justin or Taytay like “show” where he’s moving around the stage.  Once again, don’t be mad if you’re a huge Elton fan.


Sam Smith

Now look at the Sam Smith list price (same arena):

I think the lowest is $59, so you have a range of $59-$123.  This means that you should see resale prices ranging from $90-$200.  The $59 people will try to sell for $90 and the $79 people will try to sell for $110 or so.  If you have a desperate $79 flipper, he may lower his $110 to say $100.  That means if you’re the $59 flipper trying to sell at $90, a prospective buyer may decide to pay the extra $10 to get the lower section.  That means you just lost your sale.  I just watched on “Shark Tank” a week ago or so.  One of the sharks said, “You want to be on the higher end or the lower end.  Don’t be in the middle.”  When prices are that close together, everyone’s just sorta bunched in the middle and that’s when the best seats matter and your 300 level seats won’t move.

Going back to Elton, the likelihood of a $200 flipper lowering his price to $100 is very slim (maybe he’ll do it a few days ahead of the show.)  From now until that day, he’ll want to sell for $200 so he can at least break even.  That means all the casual fans will want to buy at the $100 price tag.  This also means in theory, the $200 flipper will most likely have to wait until all the $100 tickets are sold.  Then he’ll have to fight against his $200 peers.

Like everything in life, price matters.  Oh by the way, the public sale isn’t out yet, so there’s still time for you to make a play on this.

  • Aaron

    I’m no expert in ticket flipping (trust me, I’ve been burned plenty of times on flips), but I would think Elton John fans are an older crowd, so an older crowd would typically have more discretionary income to blow. Plus there’s the whole marketing ploy about this being his last tour so I’m sure many people will get sucked into that and spend more than they should.