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Rising ticket costs for concerts and sporting events frustrate consumers

Lawmakers asking FTC and DOJ for more competition in the industry
Rising ticket costs for concerts and sporting events frustrate consumers
Posted at 5:00 AM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 09:45:12-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Coming out of the pandemic, stadiums and arenas are once again full of people willing to pay to be back in a seat for a live event. Whether it’s a concert, sporting event or a trip to the theater, consumers are noticing tickets are typically pretty expensive. News5 takes a deep dive into what’s going on and how you might be able to save some money on local entertainment.

Many event planning companies say overall inflation is to blame for any increasing ticket costs, but consumers are also facing stiff competition to get tickets before they sell out. Once that happens, ticket brokers make you pay even more on the secondary market.

So, what are you willing to spend to attend a live concert or sporting event right now?

According to Pollstar, the average ticket price for the 100 biggest concerts rose from $28.50 in 1996 to $87.10 in 2021. And the spending doesn’t stop there.

According to LiveNation, on-site spending for food, drinks and merchandise at events rose by more than 10% from 2019 to 2021.

Looking at the average cost for professional sports tickets…

SeatGeek shows Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball hover around $50, the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association around $90 and the National Football League games are even pricier at $151 per ticket.

Government auditors say when it comes to buying event tickets at face value, it’s not a fair fight for consumers.

"What we found is that oftentimes the face value of tickets are artificially low, and what that creates is a situation where the demand, the number of people that want to see the event at that price, far exceeds the supply,” said Director of Financial Markets and Community Investment at the U.S. Government Accountability Office Michael Clements. “It creates an opportunity for ticket brokers to go to the primary market, purchase those tickets and then turn around to resell them. And our report noted that brokers have advantages either through use of bots or simply hiring folks to purchase tickets."

Back in Colorado Springs, the Rocky Mountain Vibes are getting set to open their season and tell News5 they are focused on making a trip to the ballpark more accessible for everyone.

“For opening day specifically and a couple of other days throughout the season we are giving away tickets. We want people to come back. We want people to experience it and we’re not as worried about the dollar return on those days in particular,” said Rocky Mountain Vibes Assistant General Manager Aaron Griffith.

The front office hopes to offer an affordable entertainment alternative to the costs of the big leagues.

”If you are paying more for a ticket, you pay a little less on beer, or if you’re paying a little more for a hot dog, you pay a little less in parking or something like that. So we’ve tried to creatively and strategically make sure that there’s always some area or avenue that’s saving some people money,” said Griffith.

The mission is to try to incentivise keeping our entertainment spending here in southern Colorado to strengthen the future of the franchise and its role in the community.

”There are folks who continue to vote for us with their dollar, if you will, and it means so much to us because we know whatever happens here, whatever happens to us we can count on the community to have our back and we want to really try to flip that back as well,” said Griffith.

There have been enough consumer complaints about the cost of concert and game tickets that lawmakers are now zeroing in on trying to make ticket prices more reasonable. Letters have been sent to the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice asking for more competition in the ticket sales marketplace.

We’ll stay on top of this story and will update you if any decisions are made.

In the meantime, if you would like more information on ticket availability, promotions, and the game schedule for the Rocky Mountain Vibes you can visit the teams website: https://www.vibesbaseball.com/landing/index
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