Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Ticket fees are a necessary evil

Nobody likes ticket fees, but removing them won’t fix the issue of expensive tickets
Dylan Nguyen
Daily Collegian (2023)

Anyone who has tried to buy a ticket online has had the inevitable experience of finding a ticket just in their budget, only for it to cost significantly more after all the fees tacked onto it. While it is a nuisance and many wish the fees weren’t necessary, removing them will not resolve the issue of expensive tickets.

According to a 2018 study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the cost of ticket fees was an average of 27 to 31 percent of the ticket’s base price. With the taxes on top of that, tickets are much more expensive than initially expected.

Some may wonder what the point of the fees are even for. Convenience fees? Shipping fees? It’s all online — what is there to charge for? While the fees may seem a bit suspicious, there are good reasons for them.

The purpose of the fees depends on the type of ticket-buying site. The fees from primary ticket sellers, such as Ticketmaster, AXS and SeatGeek go toward securing contracts with artists and venues, as well as supporting the artist and making sure they can cover the cost of the venue. Those of secondary ticket sellers, such as StubHub and Vivid Seats go toward site maintenance and customer service.

The fees with second-party ticket sellers are somewhat self-explanatory, but for those of the primary sellers, there is more depth to it.

According to Ticketmaster, there are a few different components to a ticket’s full price. First of all, there’s the ticket’s base price which is determined by the artist or performer. On top of that, there are service fees — also known as “convenience fees” — which are fees determined by the ticket provider and their client, and they are charged per ticket. Order processing fees, on the other hand, are charged per order and cover the cost of ticket handling. This fee tends to be higher than the actual cost of these procedures.

The ticket-providing service makes some profit from these fees. Then come delivery fees that cover shipping if it is applicable, and if not, the price of emailing the online version to be saved or printed from there. The last fee, and perhaps the most important one, is the facility charge. This fee is to “help clients operate and invest back in the venues themselves.” And, of course, taxes on top of all of that.

Even if it were possible to get rid of some of the fees, it would just end up making the base price of the tickets more expensive. If artists don’t get money from the facility charge, then they would get that money from somewhere else, after all. Additionally, the money required for the ticket provider to secure the venue and the rights to sell the tickets in the first place would need to be part of the base price if they were not in the fees.

While there are some sites that claim to have no fees, such as TickPick, they simply have a higher base price, which, after taxes ends up being roughly the same total price as those from any other primary ticket seller.

The only way to truly avoid extra costs in your tickets is to buy them in person at the venue. This can be a hassle, as it may only allow for limited seat options or may not be an option at all.  If it is an option, especially for general admission concerts or with smaller artists, it would completely sidestep the order processing and delivery fees.

In the end, ticket selling and purchasing has become much more of an online occurrence, so it is nearly impossible to escape these fees. The fees, however, do generally go to a good cause, allowing artists to perform and continue pursuing their music.

Naomi Bloom can be reached at [email protected].

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