Event Tickets 101

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Ticketmaster Information


Generally speaking, the vast majority of the tickets sold in the U.S. are sold originally by Ticketmaster.  This is where most fans buy their tickets and also where many brokers buy tickets to re-sell to fans.


Ticketmaster could be referred to as an "original" source of tickets.  However, Ticketmaster is simply a service-provider to artists and venues who contract with Ticketmaster to manage the various logistics of selling and managing their event tickets.  By "outsourcing" this process to Ticketmaster, fans are able to purchase tickets from Ticketmaster to almost any event, and the venues and artists are free from setting up their own unique ticket management which would be extremely costly.


Ticketmaster is not the only "original" source of tickets.  There are a small handful of other websites similar to Ticketmaster that sell tickets directly to the public and actually compete with Ticketmaster in certain markets.  You won't find tickets for the same events on more than one "original" website, but make sure you check the others if you don't see your event on Ticketmaster.  Two websites worth mentioning, are Tickets.com and TicketWeb.com.  You might also want to visit the venue's or artist's website to see if they have direct-sales through any other source or if there is any sort of subscription/season-tickets for the venue or fan-club purchasing for the artist.


GENERAL TIP: Before buying tickets from Ticketmaster, check out the great selection and low prices at BigStub, one of the nation's leading ticket brokers.


TICKETMASTER Ticket Buying Tips


When the on-sale time of the event you are searching arrives, you may have to refresh the Ticketmaster event page until the "look for tickets" button actually becomes available.  You can use the refresh button on your browser or simply press the F5-key.  DO NOT REFRESH TOO FAST - Ticketmaster will block your computer from accessing their website for a period of a few minutes if it gets too many page requests within a short amount of time.  This is simply another method to prevent automated programs from using the site.  You should be safe by refreshing about every two to three-seconds, but not any faster.  Experiment with this on Ticketmaster's site at a time far in advance of when the event you wish to purchase goes on sale.


As soon as you see the option to look for tickets, move as fast as you can to use the now available scroll-down menu to select the number of tickets you wish to buy.  The less quantity of tickets you search for, the greater your chances are of getting better seats.  Except under rare circumstances, or for very particular needs, you can always leave the default section as "Best Available."  This will not exclude any sections and simply find you the best tickets that are available, if those aren't satisfactory you can search again - but remember, sometimes being particular can shut you out and if you would have just searched for best available you may have at least gotten something.  More importantly, by not having to bother with the options available, you will save precious moments in getting to the point where Ticketmaster is actually searching for available tickets for YOU.


Prevent your tickets from being released


Once you find tickets you want to buy, take your time if necessary as to not make any mistakes, but nevertheless you should speed through the checkout process as quickly as you can.  If you don't already have a Ticketmaster account, be sure to sign up and register BEFORE your event goes on-sale.  With an existing account and by registering your billing information, you can use Express Ordering and you'll avoid extra steps that can take precious time and prevent you from getting the tickets you want. You'll also be able to signup for Newsletters and TicketAlerts on upcoming events.


Use only one browser window at a time.  If you try to load multiple browsers, you will receive an error from Ticketmaster.  If you had managed to pull tickets you want to buy, you will probably have lost that opportunity due to a "multiple browser error."  Even if you don't use two browsers at the exact same time, but open a second browser window without closing the first one, the tickets held in the previous browser will be released for sale to someone else.  It would be quicker to just search again in the same browser.  These measures help Ticketmaster prevent attempts from automated programs which would work against you, so ultimately, it is good that these rules are in place.  Hint: If you have another computer (laptop, perhaps?), try searching for tickets with both computers to maximize your chance of pulling great tickets.


Tickets on Sale for Big Events


Tickets may go on sale at varying times of the day and on any day of the week. However, the most common time slot that tickets go on sale to the general public is 10:00 a.m., on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays. It is important to note that the time of day tickets go on sale for a particular show will correspond with the time zone in which the venue is located. For example: If you live in New York City but are looking to purchase tickets to an event that will take place at a venue in Los Angeles, you can assume that the time indicated in the announcement of the ticket sale corresponds with Pacific time zone.


Where to buy tickets


Ticketmaster sells tickets online, on the phone, at Retail Locations, and box offices. Though Retail Locations and box offices can only sell tickets for a particular region, all distribution points typically access the same regional ticket inventory.  These days, it is almost always most worthwhile to just search for tickets on Ticketmaster.com; however, you can also call Ticketmaster to try your luck at seeing what tickets will be available through a phone-order.  If you are searching on the internet while calling, and you pull a great pair online, you should try to hold those as long as possible but just go ahead and buy them if you must as the phone-order process can sometimes take a good several minutes just to find out what tickets they will offer you.


Keep in mind, Ticketmaster does not reserve a specific amount of tickets for different distribution channels, so it could be argued that the odds of getting tickets are the same no matter how you choose to get your tickets - though most people prefer to shop at their computer.  Once you are familiar with buying tickets on Ticketmaster, you should find that your odds will actually improve by searching online because of the chance to search for tickets far quicker than on the phone or in-person and more importantly, if you don't come up with tickets you like you can simply search again with just a few clicks of the mouse.


Check back often


Sometimes, Ticketmaster releases more tickets at various times after the event goes on-sale to the public.  There are various reasons for this, but all you need to know is that it doesn't hurt to search for tickets again occassionally.  The best times to search again are usually about 30-minutes to an hour after the initial on-sale, again the next day, and sometimes even right before the show.