Major Ticket Services That Charge the Most in Fees
January 12, 2023
Has this happened to you? You’ve counted down the days and weeks until tickets go on sale for a long-awaited concert or game, and then BAM! You get to the checkout page, and there it is. An extra $50 is tacked on to your total for ambiguous “fees.” Although the convenience is a life-saver, buying tickets online can be a severe pain in the, ahem… wallet. It’s almost enough to make you actually go to the box office and purchase tickets in person… but not quite. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. The team at Sell Easy wanted to find out which ticketing services charge the most (and least) in additional fees so you can make informed decisions when buying tickets online. Spoiler alert, our research shows that some services are much more expensive than others!
- Ticketmaster is the major ticket service that charges the least amount in fees. Customers can expect to pay an average of 20.69% of a ticket’s face value in fees.
- StubHub charges the second least at 27.76%, Vivid Seats third at 31.29%, and SeatGeek charges the most with an average of 37.66% of a ticket’s face value.
- Of the states we analyzed, New Jersey had the highest average fees across all four ticket services at 31.16% of the ticket’s face value. Ohio had the lowest at 26.24% of the ticket’s face value.
Which Online Ticket Service Charges the Most in Fees?
The graphics below show a breakdown of the data spreads for each service and how much the average markup percentage might be for different ticket prices. The four prices we list for each service represent actual ticket prices we found on their sites. The first is a lower cost option (25th percentile), the second is a median cost (50th percentile), the third is a higher cost option (75th percentile), and the fourth is the most expensive ticket we could find on each site for the performers and games in our study. Ready to take a look? Brace yourself; you might be surprised by what we found.
Ticketmaster, the OG in online ticketing, is pretty expensive. Whether you’re snagging a $70 nosebleed or splurging on $500 floor seats, you’re looking at an average of 20.69% of the ticket’s value in added fees. And while that’s nothing to scoff at, it’s actually the lowest average fee markup of all the major online ticketing services we analyzed.
While StubHub is fantastic for scoring hard-to-find tickets, the convenience comes at a premium. At StubHub, you can expect an average fee markup of 27.76%, which can add up fast depending on how much you’re paying for your tickets and how many you need. For example, one $97.00 ticket could cost you an additional $26.93 at checkout, bringing your total to $123.93 before taxes. StubHub had the tightest spread of data in our study. While average fees will cost just under an additional 30% of your ticket’s value, you can rest assured that you wouldn’t have found lower ones if you selected a different seat.
The cool thing about Vivid Seats is that they provide a safe, secure platform for people to buy and sell tickets on the secondary market. It’s a game-changer if you missed out on tickets for that sold-out Taylor Swift show or need to sell your extra tickets at the last minute. But the bad news is that they charge an average fee markup of 31.29%. So, while you might find those tickets you’ve been searching for, you’ll need to brace yourself for the total when you head for the checkout page. Vivid Seats also has fairly consistent fee markups, with most of the fees falling between 31% and 33% of your ticket’s face value.
Like Vivid Seats, SeatGeek is a great way to find tickets on the secondary market. The problem? They have the highest fee markup of the four major online ticketing services in our study. And it’s not just a little higher. At a fee average of 37.66%, SeatGeek fees are almost 17% higher than Ticketmaster’s! SeatGeek also had the largest spread of data in the study, with a midspread of 32.81%. That means you could luck out and pay less than an additional 25% or be faced with fees over half that of your ticket’s actual cost. No matter what your budget looks like, there’s no denying that extra fees can put a severe dent in your bank account depending on which service you use. But you didn’t think we’d stop here, did you? Nope, keep reading for even more details we thought you’d find helpful.
More Data on Ticket Service Fees
We decided to dig deeper and look at the range of fees each service charges. The widest range came from SeatGeek, which has a dizzying 65.75% fee range! In contrast, StubHub has the most consistent fee range (by far), with just under 7%. We also noticed that SeatGeek had the biggest fee difference on tickets that cost above and below $300. That means those who spend less than $300 on a ticket are looking at an eye-popping fee markup of almost 43%. That’s about 10% more than any other service!
The good news is that buying tickets for your favorite events and shows has never been easier. The bad news? Depending on where you buy them, you may need to pad your budget to account for those eye-popping fees. While you may not need to sell your life insurance policy to cover the ludicrous fees ticketing services tack on at checkout, it would undoubtedly make pulling the trigger on floor seats for the next last Rolling Stones reunion tour less of a financial strain. Interested in exploring the option of turning your life insurance policy into cold hard cash? At Sell Easy, we make it easy for you to get a quote, and who knows, the next time you grab event tickets online, you might just be in a position to snag the best seats in the house!
To determine the ticket sites that you’ll pay the most in fees, we collected cost data for upcoming tours and sporting events on four major ticketing websites (Ticketmaster, StubHub, Vivid Seats, and SeatGeek). The performers were selected based on a list of 2023 touring artists who had concerts in different parts of the country. We kept cities and venues consistent where we were able. The sports included were based on the best teams from each league (according to each league’s standings as of 12/1/22). We pulled ticket face value and fee data for 2 tickets for each event in the study (one low-cost option, and one high-cost option). In all, our insights are based on 2 ticket costs for 50 different events across 4 ticket providers giving us 400 data points for the fees-to-cost comparisons we made.
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