Ticket Scalping: A Victimless Crime?
By Jeff Howard
I admit it. Many, many years ago I purchased a ticket from
a ticket scalper outside Texas Stadium. If memory serves
correct, I paid $70 for a ticket with a face value around
$15. Like I said it was many, many years ago, and I was
young and naive.
At the time I felt relieved to have a ticket. The game was
a sell out, but as soon as I found my seat, I felt cheated.
Let’s just say it was a very bad seat. One of the worst in
the house to be sure, but still good enough for me to see
the visiting Chicago Bears destroy Dallas 44-0!
My bad experience aside, many fans see scalpers as their
only option for getting into sold out events. At worst
they see ticket scalping as a low-level, victimless crime.
I would suggest, however, that the fact prove otherwise.
Investigative reports around the country have uncovered
highly organized groups of professional ticket scalpers who
control street-level ticket sales in many major league
sports cities. Often these men have ties to organized
crime and lengthy criminal records. As seasoned criminals
they are quick to threaten a customer or turn violent when
a transaction doesn’t go their way.
Certainly not all the scalpers seen hawking tickets
outside your local stadium fall into this category, but
the threat is widespread and very real.
Using various techniques, these groups acquire tickets
from season ticket holders, ticket agencies, and even the
team’s box office. In some cases they work closely with
team employees to ensure a constant supply of tickets.
They also aggressively solicit fans seeking to buy spare
tickets at discounted prices.
Sadly this leaves the typical fan literally on the outside
looking in. Fans who can’t get tickets through the more
traditional channels are forced to deal with these groups
if they want to see a game in person.
As always I recommend you avoid scalpers if at all
possible. I agree there may be certain situations when you
have no choice, but don’t make it a habit. In my opinion
there are just too many risks, and besides you can get
tickets to just about any event without them as long as
you’re prepared to put a little effort into it.
With that said, if you decide to approach one outside the
stadium, please remember who you’re dealing with. This
person might be a convicted drug dealer, thief, or worse a
violent criminal. In addition, he might have ties to
organized crime. Above all use your common sense and
proceed with caution.
I’m sure the majority of fans who purchase tickets from a
scalper don’t suffer from the level of ‘buyer’s remorse’
I felt inside Texas Stadium, and they certainly don’t
experience anything close to assault and battery. However,
threats, intimidation and violence have become a part of
the ticket scalping business in many cities so please be
careful out there.
Copyright 2005 All Rights Reserved
Jeff Howard publishes SportsTicketSecrets Tip Sheet, a
monthly ezine providing tips, news, information, and
advice for all sports fans who are tired of watching the
“BIG” games on TV. To subscribe and receive a preview of
his latest publication “Super Bowl Ticket Secrets” visit
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