Ticketmaster makes changes to their phone ticket sales operation. Broadway line still uses live telephone operators, but this service may ultimately close


Ticketmaster has made changes to their general phone ticket sales operation that has frustrated ticket buyers as they now no longer provide “live” phone operators. For Broadway, Ticketmaster still has a phone line that provides ‘live’ operators, but that feature may close when demand for ticket sales over the phone drops off.

Lady on phone to Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster, the biggest official ticket provider in the world, has stopped providing “live” telephone operators for general ticket purchases and now customers are realizing that making a ticket purchase over the telephone using the automated system can be overly complicated. The online approach, through the Ticketmaster website or the Ticketmaster app, may be the only viable way to go for ticket buyers. The shift to online may be part of the strategic plan by Ticketmaster to phase out all phone sales of tickets, as this reduces costs and streamlines their operation significantly. In an ever increasing online world, there is a strong argument that ticket sales over the phone are a thing of the past anyway and this action may be justified as less people rely on the phone to make transactions every year. The problem that Ticketmaster faces is that the demographic for Broadway theatre skews so much older than the typical Ticketmaster ticket buyers and it is this demographic that Ticketmaster has provided for by creating a dedicated phone line for theatre tickets only. This new line does still provide phone operators, but this new phone number is poorly promoted and may be terminated as well if not enough calls are received.

Ticketmaster is one of the two official Broadway ticket selling companies who have contracts with the Broadway venues to sell first-hand Broadway tickets directly to Broadway show ticket buyers. The other official Broadway ticket seller is Telecharge, owned by the Shubert Organization, but they have kept their phone sales line, at least for now. Ticketmaster is a multi-billion Dollar company that merged with Live Nation in 2010, which was the biggest American event promoter and largest venue operator. Ticketmaster processes $720 million of Broadway show tickets per year, but that is just a small part of their total ticket revenue which is now at a whopping $10.8 billion per year. Ticketmaster is not just for Broadway shows, but Broadway is still a solid mainstay for Live Nation’s overall success.

The Broadway Ticket Buyer Demographic

The Broadway audience clearly skews to an older demographic. Recent Broadway League research indicates that the average age of the Broadway theatre goer is now a whopping 53.7 years old, compared to other non-Broadway Ticketmaster clients that average at 28.3 years old. This is a chasm of difference, not seen in any other industries. Traditionally, the older customer hates change and telephones have become a popular method for them to secure Broadway tickets and they are often very resistant to change that thinking. As these numbers drop off over time, Ticketmaster may well terminate the new phone line, but for this very moment in time it is still here and operating, but Ticketmaster may decide that the costs finally outweigh the benefits and they may terminate it with no fanfare, it is clearly a numbers game for them now and they will play the waiting game.

Telephone Operators
Ticketmaster Telephone Agents

Why Broadway Ticket Buyers Think ‘live’ Operators Are Important

Ticket buyers often have many reasons while they think the phone call for the Broadway ticket buying transaction is better, but often the technology of the online experience can offer more features to buyers and can be a smoother experience. Broadway ticket buyers will often cite security as being better over the phone, but there is no evidence that actually supports that as credit card numbers and clients data is flying all over the place and is not necessarily better protected in one method over another. Their belief that better tickets are available over the phone is also incorrect, as Broadway puts all the ticket inventory on both mechanisms. Some buyers think that they are actually calling Ticketmaster at the theatre box office itself, but that practice ended over 30 years ago and now the call could end up anywhere in the world, with a person that does not even know which city houses Broadway theatre. In addition, there is a myth that phone operators have a better understanding of the theatre and their seats than you can get online, but the quality of the Ticketmaster phone operators dropped precipitously in the 1990’s and never recovered. Now the person who answers the phone may just be typing on the same web page that the buyer could have gone to themselves, in which they have no insider knowledge and no value-add, other than someone who can read and type, which may be useful for disabled users and may satisfy the ADA requirements.

How Good Is The Automated Ticketmaster Phone System?

It would be understandable if Ticketmaster stopped hiring phone representatives and only employed people for specific customer situations or errors in the system, if their automated system actually worked. If the system worked just as well, or even better,than a live person then most people would give them a strong pass. The problem is that the automated ticket by phone system fails in so many ways with its endless menu loops, poor voice recognition and terrible error handling, that users just give up and find another way. That other way may just be online and that may just be what Ticketmaster wants the client to do.

Ticketmaster Phone Numbers

Ticketmaster Broadway Ticket New Sales Numbers:

The new phone number for Broadway theatre that still has ‘live’ customer service reps is now: 800-982-2787
All other Ticketmaster phone numbers are now automated and no longer provide ‘live’ operators

For existing Broadway show ticket orders the new phone number that provides a ‘live’ person is: 800-653-8000
This line can only be used for previously placed orders.