Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ticketmaster & Live Nation: Worse than the Mafia

"Catch Blake Shelton and Jason Aldean at Oracle Arena, March 21st, featuring special guest, Luke Bryan! Visit the Oracle Box Office in Oakland or go to for tickets. It's the 'Hot Country Nights' tour..."

So easy enough, right?

So, I mosey my way on over to to check out the ticket prices. It's fairly difficult to catch a big country tour in the Bay Area in the Spring, so I plan on taking full advantage of this.

Once you look through all the related garbage they sell tickets to, you find your show, and click on "Find Tickets."

Then, you begin to get ANGRY:

You ask yourself, "How the hell am I supposed to do that? They are nonsensical letters grouped together with a bunch of lines running through them. It looks like a Serbian last name written by a drunk and then barfed on by his drunk friend. It's almost as if Ticketmaster is trying to prevent us from buying tickets...

I got it wrong three times before it let me through to the next page.

"Finally," I said. "I get to see the EFFING tickets."

But then, your relief is replaced by more frustration and anger as you see what these tickets will actually cost you.

If you can't see that, it is as follows for four tickets:

Ticket Price
US $45.00 x 4

Convenience Charge
US $11.30 x 4

Building Facility Charge
US $5.25 x 4

Each $45 ticket becomes a $61.55 ticket... FOR NO REASON!

Is it really that convenient to buy something online? Does charge you $11.30 warehouse storage fees to buy a CD or a texbook? The answer simply is no.

And did I mention the $2.50 fee for the ability to print out your own tickets at home, at your own expense? In addition, the only shipping option that is free is to have them mailed to you via USPS (or will call). Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. Charge someone to print something at home, and don't charge for the option that costs them in paper tickets, ink cost, and postage. Total jerks.

This isn't any different for sporting events. For a San Jose Sharks game vs. Dallas next month at HP Pavilion, a single ticket with cost you $12.25 in fees. Ditto for a Bill Cosby show at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland: $10.25 in fees.

What's even scarier though, is that the only other significant online ticket distribution company, Live Nation, is in talks with Ticketmaster to merge, forming a basic monopoly on the ticket middleman business.

Most big tours and teams go through one of these companies already, but with only one giant option staring them in the face, you will be hard-pressed to evade these obscene ticket "convenience" charges in the future. If all you do is go to poetry slams or drum circles in doped up coffee shops in Berkeley, don't worry, you will be unaffected. But for the rest of us normal people, who enjoy baseball games and Jimmy Buffett concerts, we will be unable to escape the charges and incomprehensible gibberish code words.


You literally drive to the box office of your choice. Yes. That's right. You get in your car, find somewhere to park, and walk up to the box office. Box offices are real, and every stadium and concert venue has one. Trust me, I checked.

Take this particular example we've been using. If I want to go to this redneck extravaganza in Oakland (I know, oxymoron), this is what I'd have to budget:

-- 37 minutes each way (traffic permitting)
-- 30 miles each way (60 miles @ 20 MPG)
-- 2 minute walk up stairs from parking spot
-- 2 minute conversation with jerk behind glass

Total cost: $45/ticket, $6.30 in fuel, an hour and a half, and a 2 minute conversation with a jerk behind glass.

That, my friends is the way to stick it to the man. Think about it, with that $16.55 you saved, you can dedicate $5 to the group for parking, $5.55 to the multiple cases of beer you'll all buy, and buy a $6.00 beer once you're in there.

Cheating the mafia Ticketmaster out of $17 of your hard earned dollars? Priceless.

I don't ask for boycotts very often-- unless it has to do with ripping me off (Ticketmaster) or refusing to help America in its time of need (France).

Please drive to the box office. If you don't want to, I'll do it for you. But... I will have to charge you a convenience fee and a fuel surcharge.

Please visit: to support the cause. I stumbled upon this site looking for some sort of picture that expressed my displeasure with the situation.

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