What is a ticket exchange?

There have been a couple of news stories this week about professional sports leagues signing deals that will allow their fans to resell tickets via a ticket exchange. First the NFL announced that it was partnering with Ticketmaster, in a deal rumored to be around $20 Million dollars per year. At the same time the NHL announced a similar exclusive, multi-year deal will let Ticketmaster offer an exchange for hockey tickets. Back in August, Major League Baseball announced a similar five-year deal that put Stub hub in-charge of the league’s online ticket reselling.

So what do these deals mean? And what is a ticket exchange? Which is mentioned in each of these deals.

These deals mean that Ticketmaster, Ebay (who owns Stub hub) and other companies are trying to take a bigger share of the secondary ticket market. They are willing to pay millions of dollars per year to have the rights to say they are the “official” secondary ticket provider for these teams.

A ticket exchange is simply a portal that allows ticket holders from a team to resell their tickets. It is setup as a marketplace to let people with extra tickets sell to people looking for tickets. The idea is to put fans who are buying and selling together in one location, in order to provide the best deal.

So the big question is do these exchanges work? And are fans getting a better deal on ticket because of them?

The answer to whether ticket exchanges work for fans is maybe. I say maybe because there are certain times that good ticket deals can be found on these exchanges. But the rules that govern each of these exchanges are different, which affects the volume of tickets being listed. Many of the ticket exchanges restrict the selling price to face value. And often times they will not allow the ticket owner to sell below face value, because they don’t want to undercut the prices at their own ticket box office. So these exchanges are rarely a true gauge of the marketplace for an event. Because if you own the tickets, you should be allowed to sell them for whatever price the market will bear. The other issue that many fans encounter when selling tickets via a ticket exchange, is it often takes a long time to get paid for their tickets that sell. And many of the ticket exchanges do not provide cash back to you, when you sell your tickets. They will instead just give you credit towards future ticket purchases with their team.

And buying tickets on a ticket exchange can get you a good deal. But all too often the tickets listed are for games or events that few fans care to buy. The better tickets rarely get listed on a ticket exchange. That is because the people that own those tickets want the opportunity to sell them without restrictions, and get cash back for the deals. And those lesser events listed on the exchange might be selling at face value, when you could go buy from a ticket broker for less money.

So official fan-to-fan ticket exchanges are evolving the ticket marketplace, but not to the point that they are providing a great service to their users.




As TicketCity’s President, Zach leads company operations and long term strategic direction. With 20+ years of experience in the ticket industry, Zach enjoys talking with people about new technologies and trends that continue to improve the fan experience.