How Do Scalpers Get Tickets?


Scalpers often get tickets the same way that you do by standing in virtual and public lines. Still, buying tickets in bulk is their job. They usually have hired help, advanced technology and contacts working for them that increases their chances of getting tickets before you can. Scalping has become a large problem for ticket sales, causing ticket prices to rise and preventing the public from attending the events they desire.

Waiting in Line

  • Before the Internet, tickets primarily were sold through public distribution lines. For popular events, people would camp out all night or days in advance to be the first in line at the box office. Although most tickets now are bought and sold over the Internet, public distribution lines still exist. In these cases, scalpers hire students or the financially needy to wait in line at the box office along with the fans. These hired hands carry hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to buy the best seats at face value. The scalper typically pays the hired hands a few hundred dollars.

Have Contacts

  • Some scalpers have inside contacts for tickets to sporting and music events who have have season passes or tickets through their job. If a contact doesn't want to attend an event, he or she can make a profit by selling a ticket to a scalper. After a few years, some scalpers have built up a considerable network of contacts, giving them access to the best seats at a good price.

Computer Programs

  • In 2007, the Hannah Montana "Best of Both Worlds" music tour, produced by Disney, was the subject of a scalping controversy. Ticketmaster, the agency selling tickets over the Internet, sued RMG Technologies Inc., a small company that produced software to help scalpers buy large numbers of tickets for the Hannah Montana and other popular shows.

    The software allowed scalpers to cut in front of fans trying to purchase tickets and obstructed Ticketmaster's security software that was meant to stop people from buying too many tickets. Computer programs are constantly being released and updated to meet scalpers' needs. With the right programs, scalpers can let their computers do the work. The technology helps scalpers trick the system into thinking that a human is ordering a limited amount of tickets, rather than a computer ordering large quantities of tickets.

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