Why are Justin Bieber concert tickets hard to get? - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

FOX 5 I-Team investigates

Why are Justin Bieber concert tickets hard to get?

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Today's hot young music stars sell out huge arenas in minutes. But if you wait a few more minutes, tickets will pop up on the Internet at incredibly inflated prices. How can a 15,000 seat venue sell out so fast time and time again?

Mothers have war stories about trying to get tickets to shows like Justin Bieber. You sit at the computer frantically typing in that credit card information only to see a show is sold out.  An I-Team investigation finds scalpers get many of them, but records also show Bieber's own people may be in on it.

Teen heartthrob Justin Bieber's videos lure kids of all ages to arenas, and they are crazy about him. It's a thrill for the girls, but a nightmare for parents trying to get tickets.

"I'd place the order. I'd process it, and every time it would process it, it would say, Sold out," said parent Jenna Sandusky.

She ended up buying tickets online from a broker for almost twice the original ticket price.

"So it was a long process. We barely made it here," said Sandusky.

Why do you have to go to scalpers to get the hot tickets these days? Justin Beiber's ticketing requirements with a Nashville arena provides some clues, and you will start to understand the secret of the concert business -- how so few tickets are actually available to the general public.
     
Management at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena blocked FOX 5 from getting Bieber's ticketing instructions because they aren't Tennessee residents, but NewsChannel5 in Nashville got them. 

Bridgestone is a great place to see a concert with nearly 14,000 seats. Here's the shocker for Bieber fans -- according to arena documents, only 1,001 of those seats were actually available to the general public.  

Nicole Smith, a mother who has tried to get tickets to popular shows, was shocked by what the I-Team revealed.   

The I-Team asked Philips Arena for the same seating information, but were told no. They call this information their "secret formula" and giving it up they think would hurt relationships with "promoters."

Elizabeth Owen is a consultant for Fan Freedom Project, an organization putting a spotlight on ticketholder rights.

"There are thousands of tickets held back for every concert, and people like you and me, we get the leftovers," said Owen.

At Justin Bieber's Nashville show, 93 percent of the tickets were set aside, including nearly 6,000 for American Express cardholders and almost 3000 for fan club members. It's these tickets that can end up with scalpers.

Three hundred of those hard-to-get Justin Bieber tickets, the Arena documents show , were "on hold" for the tour itself. But just after tickets went on sale, NewsChannel5found them on re-sale ticket sites.

Dean Budnick co-authored Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped. He says in this case Bieber's team may have scalped its own tickets.  

"It was pretty clear if you looked at the inventory set aside, much of it then went on sale on the secondary market, that the tour itself was doing that," said Budnick.

The I-Team has tried to get in touch with Justin Bieber's people, but no one got back to us.  

But it's loud and clear, the industry's hottest tickets really are hard to get.  

"I understand it's a business. Just let parents know upfront what their chances are. Even the lottery gives you a general idea of what your chances are," said Owen.

Nicole Smith said she thinks it's wrong.

The I-Team asked Gwinnett Arena for concert seating records and unlike Philips Arena, they handed them over.  For a recent Carrie Underwood show, just more than 50 percent of her tickets went on sale to the general public.  For country singer Eric Church, only 37 percent went to the general public.

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