Broadway Ticket Auctions
Broadway Ticket Auctions Are Only Performed By Ticket Brokers - But That Could Change
Broadway Producers Fail To Get "Fair Market Value" For Their Broadway Show Tickets
Current Broadway show ticketing models allow ticket brokers and re-sellers to make the money that the Broadway show producers should be making - if they were getting the fair market value price for the tickets to their shows.
Selling Broadway show tickets by auction (rather than at set prices) would be a very efficient way of ensuring that Broadway producers get fair market value for their Broadway tickets. However, so far the Broadway industry has been reluctant to utilize ticket auctions, even though some Broadway shows - especially the most successful ones - have been pushing to be more progressive with ticketing models. The Broadway League and Telecharge did try a ticket auction once as an experiment, but despite its success, nothing ever came of the practice of Broadway ticket auctioning as a long-term strategy.
The only Broadway ticket sellers currently taking advantage of the auction method of selling tickets are Broadway ticket brokers. These ticket brokers auction off their supplies on both eBay.com and Stubhub. But official Broadway ticket vendors like Telecharge and Ticketmaster have yet to try this angle for selling tickets to Broadway shows. Ticketmaster is no stranger to the auction game, as they recently introduced a Ticket Auctions section on their website, but so far these only appear to be available for concerts and sporting events, not Broadway shows.
"Thinking Outside Of The Box" Solutions May Provide The Best Options For The Box Office
There is no reason that the situation needs to remain this way. If the Broadway establishment, which has been set in its ways for so long, starts thinking outside the box, they might find a suitable model for auctioning Broadway show tickets. For inspiration, a good place to start would be the Dutch auction, which Google used for its IPO. They had potential buyers submit bids for shares, reviewed the bids and set their own price accordingly, and then anyone who bid the set price or above would get to purchase shares at the set price. Broadway shows could adopt a similar model, having potential ticket buyers submit bids based on how much they're willing to pay for a ticket to a Broadway show. In this way, the tickets would always achieve true market value.
The biggest advantage of selling Broadway tickets by auction is that the Broadway producer stands to make more money on high-demand tickets than they currently do at the set box office price. Currently, Broadway ticket brokers are raking in this money by re-selling $100 tickets for two or three times that price. The flip side of that coin is that the Broadway producer actually stands to make less money on tickets to less popular shows. There is also the issue of seating - if you use the Google IPO model (where each share is sold for the same price), how do you account for the fact that seats in center orchestra have a greater value than rear mezzanine seats?
Both of these issues could be addressed by simply being selective about which shows, performances, and seats are auctioned. The most popular Broadway shows (the ones that Broadway ticket brokers are currently doing good business on) could be singled out, and the auction could be limited to orchestra and front mezzanine seats, which are all considered to be of approximate equal value. Possibly customers could even win the right to choose their exact seat location based on how early they submit their bid. The Broadway producer could also select only especially popular performances - such as weekend and holiday shows - for auctioning tickets. With a little creative thinking about ticketing mechanisms, Broadway too will soon be able to use ticket auctioning to its advantage.