Transparency: A Fan’s Perspective
Last week my brother completed his junior year of high school. He happens to be a huge MLB fan, so I decided to surprise him with Red Sox tickets on his big day. The night before the game, I went to a trusted secondary ticketing provider to see which tickets were available. I was amazed to find a couple of seats on the right field line for only $62 each. I added two tickets to my cart, and two numbers popped up: Total: $124. Time left to check out: 09:59. I had to get this deal, and the clock was running.
As I sped through the checkout process, the time on the clock was changing, but the price remained the same. Three minutes left. $124. What a deal! I filled out my name, email, phone number, address, and finally clicked “Proceed to Payment.” A new tab opened up, populated by dollar signs and the word “Fee.” “Service Fee $18.50 x 2.” “Handling Fee $5.00 x 2.” Handling Fee!?!? These weren’t physical tickets. Why did I have to pay a handling fee for the transfer of a ticket that I was going to receive via email? I don’t have to pay a fee to transfer these tickets to a friend of mine via the same method. What the hell are they handling over there?
I didn’t have time to search for answers to these questions. I had only two minutes left to input my credit card information and secure these tickets. With a sigh, I accepted the fees and completed the payment. Now, the bargain that I was desperate to secure didn’t seem like a bargain at all. I was paying almost the listed price of one of the tickets in additional fees, and unless I wanted to forfeit these tickets, there was nothing I could do.
As any sports or music fan knows, there is a tangible difference between attending a game or concert and watching it from your couch. The sound, lights, camaraderie, and excitement have been sources of added value for fans that have transcended the onslaught of streaming accessibility in recent years. And how is that value captured? Via ticket price. The ticket price tells me what the event values their experience at, and as the buyer, it is up to me to determine whether or not I value the event at the same price. If I think the experience will bring equal or more value to me than the price of the tickets, then I should buy the tickets. If not, then there is no benefit to me by attending that event.
It’s the first day of Econ 101 happening in real time: Americans make this decision EVERY DAY. Thousands of people will search for tickets to an event they want to attend today. They will do it tomorrow. And they will do it the day after. As long as there is no global pandemic or immediate threat to public safety, people will continue to express desire to intake entertainment in a group setting. We’re social creatures. It’s what we do.
Major ticketing providers are taking advantage of this innate desire. They know that when I am considering whether or not to attend the game, I am comparing a quantifiable value, the ticket price, with something I cannot put a concrete price on. How much would I pay to put a smile on my brother’s face after his last day of school? I can’t put a number on it, but it’s a lot more than $124. It’s priceless.
So when I was faced with over $50 in fees, I still made the purchase, but it felt wrong. I wasn’t excited to attend the game as much as I was disappointed that I had to shell out another $50 from my bank account. I felt manipulated and helpless. Sure, I was going to be there in person with my brother, but not at the value that I had originally calculated. I didn’t have time to go back and recalibrate my value of the experience to the new price that I was actually paying, and I was left questioning whether or not I had made the right decision in valuing the game. As a consumer in a free market, I should never be made to feel that way, but the reality is that anyone who buys a ticket from a major provider is likely to experience the exact same emotions.
Fans consider all the pieces that go in to attending an event. It could be taking time off work, gas money, food and beverage at the game, parking, public transportation, etc. All of these externalities have to be factored in with the ticket price when considering attending a public event. So when I am faced with extra fees in the checkout process, I have to go back and rethink the entire equation again. Is it still worth it? Ticketing providers know that this question is not easy to answer, especially when there is a timer in the top right corner of your screen telling you that your deal will disappear if you do not act now.
All we want is transparency. Fans want to pay the price that is advertised, while being assured that the ticket they are buying will put them in the place they want to be. The decision to attend a game should not be one that is made within the ten minute window fans usually have once they add tickets to their cart. The price of gas, parking, and food and beverage are not subject to dramatic, unpredictable increases at the point of purchase, and the price of tickets should be held to the exact same standard.
Here at Tixologi, we’re fans too. We’re tired of ticket prices jumping from the time we press checkout to the time we press complete payment. Our fees are included in the face value that you see on the ticket, so the price you SEE is the price you PAY. All of our tickets are NFTs, minted on Flow. By having our tickets minted on a blockchain, we can achieve levels of transparency that have been impossible for third party ticketing services to achieve. A ticket buyer no longer has to wait until the end of the checkout process to find out if they got a good deal: They know right away when viewing the ticket prices on site. They can see where they are buying the ticket from, and, via the transparency of blockchain technology, they can see the actual transaction of tickets and money taking place between the buyer and the seller. There is no waiting for a confirmation email from a third party. There is no fee hike at the final payment step. There is no praying that the tickets are authentic. The buyer sees the price, pays the price, and we ensure the transfer of the ticket. It’s simple, it’s transparent, and it’s better. Fans should never feel manipulated when trying to attend an event they care about. It’s time to put fans first. The future of ticketing is here.