Ticketmaster is an American ticket sales and distribution company based in Hollywood, California, with operations in many countries around the world. In 2010 it merged with Live Nation to become Live Nation Entertainment. As a primary ticket outlet, most US ticket sales for US venues are fulfilled at Ticketmaster’s two main fulfillment centers located in Charleston, West Virginia, and Pharr, Texas. Typically, Ticketmaster’s clients control their events, and Ticketmaster acts as an agent, selling the tickets that the clients make available to them.
At Ticketmaster, we strive to put fans first. Every day we’re listening to your feedback and working to improve your experience before, during, and after events.
In 2010, Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged to create Live Nation Entertainment. Now you have more options than ever to enjoy live events, and things are only getting better.
Much of the price for a ticket advertised by Ticketmaster is earmarked for its own service fees. Some consumers find these markups excessive, because there are many instances where no alternative purchase method is offered that would allow avoidance of the fees. This business practice, along with a dearth of competitors, has led many to view Ticketmaster as monopolistic. Alternative ticketing companies have emerged, but, due to Ticketmaster’s exclusive agreements with a large percentage of venues, the company does not need to lower service fees. In some instances customers may be able to buy tickets directly from the venue, which may add its own service charges.
Typical fees added to a ticket’s face value include:
Service Charge – This is Ticketmaster’s charge for the general service they provide and maintain. The amount paid may depend upon the method of payment.
Building Facility Charge – This is determined by the venue, and not Ticketmaster.
Processing Charge – This is Ticketmaster’s charge for processing an order and making the tickets available.
Shipping Charge, E-Ticket Convenience Charge, Will Call Charge – Ticketmaster charges a fee for ticket delivery, whether the tickets are mailed to the customer, printed out at home, or collected from the venue. The charge for printing out the ticket at home is often higher than the fee to have the ticket mailed. In other sectors, such as airline ticketing, companies usually do not charge, for electronic ticketing. Economist Emily Oster of the Chicago Booth School of Business suggests that this reflects the lack of competition in the industry, with customers willing to pay more for the convenience of obtaining the tickets immediately due to a lack of alternate options.
In some instances service charges amount to up to 50% of a ticket’s face value.
Ticketmaster has been criticized by some who claim its fees are excessive, with forty British MPs signing an early day motion criticizing the company for overcharging and for the lack of transparency in its pricing structure.
In 2003, a class action lawsuit was filed against Ticketmaster in Los Angeles District Court alleging that Ticketmaster misrepresented the exact nature of the shipping and processing fees included in certain ticket sales. That dispute then spilled over into a related lawsuit filed in 2010 against Ticketmaster’s liability insurance carrier Illinois Union Insurance Company, a subsidiary of ACE Limited.
Ticketmaster has been the subject of complaints of high ticket service charges.Notably, in the 1990s, Pearl Jam’s complaints about Ticketmaster led the U.S. Department of Justice to open an antitrust investigation into the company’s practices. The investigation was ultimately dropped because, according to former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, other competitors were entering the ticket industry, and there was a lack of evidence to proceed.