terry charles | behind the stage | oct. 2016
I did a column last year about the concert or event ticket-buying process. In light of the recent lightning-fast sell-out of the Eric Church concert recently I think some of the things I talked about are worth repeating.
First, let me tell you what happened. As is the case with nearly every concert, there is usually a pre-sale before the general on-sale to the public. The pre-sale isn't private in reality as anyone who signs up for our e-Vent newsletter or checks our Facebook page or Twitter account can access the pre-sale because we give readers the code and the link to buy. It is not advertised in the traditional way. For Eric Church, the tour only did a pre-sale for its fan club members. As with any pre-sale, a portion of the tickets are sold before the general public can buy them.
Eric Church is an artist in demand these days and his concerts sell out very quickly. That happened here at the Resch Center, too. The Church tickets made available were essentially gone in a half hour or so. Many people could not get through online or by phone because it was just that busy. In-person box office sales were not permitted for this concert because Eric Church goes to extreme measures to prevent his tickets from being scalped. More on that in a bit. Many people were upset and convinced our system was not working because they just couldn't get through. The system was working because we sold the tickets. The simple fact is the demand FAR outweighed the supply of tickets. We can't just add more seats and no, the scalpers did not get all the good seats. Very few concerts have been this hot. Fans have been able to get tickets on the day of an on-sale. So, unfortunately, this was not business as usual for them.
Here are some of the things that are worth repeating. For popular concerts I often get asked, “What is the best way to get tickets?" The answer is, there is no best way. Some people prefer to walk up to the box office to buy while most purchase online from the comfort of their home. Still, others call. As I mentioned earlier, box office sales were not an option for this sale. What you need know is that tickets are being sold simultaneously from all three means and so if you see some good seats online, don't pass them up because they'll likely not be there when you try again. In the case of the Eric Church concert, anyone who was lucky enough to get through needed to grab whatever tickets that came up on the screen.
Here's something else to remember or beware of. Make sure you are buying from the official ticketing company serving the venue you want to attend. In the Green Bay area for the majority of events that company is Ticket Star. It sells tickets for the Resch Center, Meyer Theatre, Weidner Center and several other festivals and picnics. This will guarantee you are paying face value for the tickets. Many companies disguise themselves as the place to buy tickets for the Resch or the Weidner and use certain words and photos that make it look legitimate. Unfortunately, many people fall for this and buy tickets from those companies and pay far more than face value.
Now to expand a bit more on the Eric Church anti-scalping strategy. There may not be an entertainer out there who hates ticket scalpers more than Church. For this concert, no one will receive his/her tickets until right before the concert date. That's why no tickets were sold at the box office. You can't scalp a ticket if you don't have it. If you chose to have your ticket delivered to your phone or if you picked the print-at-home option, those links won't be sent to you until right before the concert. If you chose Will Call pick-up, that won't happen as well until real close to the concert date. It might not prevent all scalping but it pretty much prevents people calling from other states who want to buy tickets for the sole reason of re-selling them to make money. You can't blame Eric Church for that.
Terry Charles is public relations manager for Green Bay-based PMI Entertainment Group. He's all about media relations, publicity and social media for the Resch Center Complex, Meyer Theatre, Green Bay Gamblers Hockey and other events produced by PMI. When not at work, please don't hit him with your car as he runs and bikes around the Green Bay area. You can follow him on Twitter at @TCCharles.