Bargain Concert Tickets!
Generally I’m not content unless I can find a way to hack pricing systems to get the best possible value. As well as doing this for hotels, flights, etc. I also sometimes do it for events and concerts. Next week I’m heading off to see Jessie J at Abbey Road Studios in London, after converting my American Express points into Hilton Honors points and redeeming them for a ‘Hilton Presents’ private concert (I’ll post a review after the event). Yesterday however, I managed to attend the Muse Bristol stadium concert by paying just 25% of the ticket price. I did this by using an approach I’ve succeeded with a few times, so I thought I’d share it.
Secondary Market Pricing
Typically after an event sells out there’s a big secondary ticket market, where you can buy tickets online through websites such as StubHub and Viagogo. The pricing levels for this are quite interesting, and they follow a very distinct (and fairly obvious) pricing pattern. In the days/hours after an event sells out, prices peak. People who haven’t got tickets panic, because they’ve decided they definitely want to go the event, and so they pay over the odds. This fuels the market, and often means that people buy tickets specifically to re-list them and make a profit. For high demand events these pricing levels sustain for a while, but then in the days leading up to the event, the picture shifts significantly. Instead now some people who are due to attend start to either change their mind, or have a change in circumstances, and want to sell their tickets and get their money back. Initially this extra supply pushes the prices back to ‘face value’, but in the run up to event the market often gets flooded with last minute tickets, supply outstrips demand and time starts running out, so the pricing drops below face value.
Muse Stadium Concert
This week for the Muse concert, I took this approach to the extreme. I live close to the venue, so I could walk to the concert at a moment’s notice. I waited it out as the average price dropped from in the region of £100 to around £40 at lunchtime on the day. By 6 p.m. the gates were open and the support act starting, and so the value of those tickets was at risk of completely disappearing. At this point, whilst I could hear the supporting act in the background, I was able to find good seat tickets at the stage end of the stadium (worth £100+) online for just £27! I bought the tickets, they arrived instantly by email, I printed them out and had a fantastic night out for about 25% of the full price (I’d definitely recommend seeing Muse by the way – it was an impressive show – my highlight being the giant stage invader in the image below!)
For big events (10,000+ tickets), there is always a high probability that this will happen, as the percentage of people who need to sell tickets at the last minute tends to outweigh the people who are able to make arrangements to attend at very short notice – people, like me, who can get there quickly and quite like the idea of a good night out, but aren’t big enough fans to pay £100+. This situation is especially true if it rains – believe or not, some people spend decent money on tickets and then change their mind when the weather isn’t perfect!
You’d have to be a bit brave, but I’d suggest that for very big events you’d be quite likely to be able to do this, even if you had to travel to the venue and then buy the tickets via your phone once there. Obviously this introduces a risk that you’ll get there and either not get in, or end up paying standard prices anyway, but in a situation like mine where there was no risk, it’s an easy way to get cheap tickets to a big event.
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