This is a shoe dropping you hear: the introduction of legal secondary market sales for huge pop culture events.
But it’s not a StubHub free-for-all – not yet.
ReedPOP – which throws this week’s Emerald City Comic Con, New York Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration, C2E2, PAX and many other high-profile fan events, has teamed with ticket reselling platform Lyte to offer fans the chance to sell tickets to other fans for a “fair market price.”
The program is rolling out with ECCC (March 14-17 in Seattle) and Star Wars Celebration, to be held April 11-15 in Chicago. Lyte will be the only authorized resale platform for both events.
Lyte allows fan who want to unload tickets because of a change in plans the chance to offer them up to other fans and bills the process as “fan-to-fan ticket exchanges.”
“Fans have told us that scalping and the secondary market are their biggest frustrations when it comes to ticket sales,” says Mike Armstrong, Vice President, ReedPOP. “We believe working with Lyte will help us combat the efforts of the expensive and sometimes scary secondary market. It will make the entire process easier, safer and more affordable for fans.”
“I don’t think there is anything more fan-centric than live events that embrace iconic pop culture, because the folks putting them on are fans themselves,” says Lyte CEO Ant Taylor. “It’s a natural fit with our efforts to prevent fans from having to buy passes at heavily inflated prices if they want to go, or risk ending up with passes that are found to be invalid once they get to the door. This is an important step towards protecting fan festivals and conventions everywhere from secondary market influence.”
Indeed, getting a pass for highly sought after events like NYCC and the San Diego Comic-Con when you missed out the first time can be a risky venture. CCI, which runs SDCC, clamps down tight on any attempt to sell badges on Ebay or Craig’s List.
NYCC has been a bit more lax regarding StubHub at times, but no longer allows secondary market sales. This leaves a shady “grey market” for both events where people can be and have been burned.
If comic con tickets were to go on StubHub, it’s feared that prices might skyrocket, and create an even worse scramble than exists now. On the other side is the argument that, like sporting events and concerts, these are public events and people will pay whatever the market will bear.
Lyte is already offering ECCC ticket exchanges – $129 for a four day pass is the going price with 20 people in line. The original price was $125 so not much of a mark-up. Single Day tickets are going for between $80-99 – these originally went for $30-52.50. ECCC isn’tquite as hot a market as NYCC, say, so if the system goes into place for that show you might see more demand.
Still the mark-ups may not be enough to bring ticket scalpers into play.
This system also makes it convenient for people who can no longer go as planned – Lyte works directly with Showclix and other ticket sellers to return the tickets and reissue them to the new buyers. So if you call down and break a bone and can’t go to the con, you are no longer stuck with the tickets.
According to the Lyte website:
Lyte has delivered over $1.5M in fan savings in 2017 alone. How’d we do it? By using dynamic pricing as a weapon against 3rd party scalpers and shady marketplaces.
In addition to saving money, no fan has ever arrived at the box office to find their ticket is not real. That’s why we don’t plaster the word “guarantee” all over our website. It’s just not necessary.
100% of the tickets purchased through Lyte are newly issued by our partners directly to fans.
To my untrained eye this all looks somewhat benign and fair, but I’m sure some will think it’s only opening the door to higher levels of scalping.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.