Ticket-buying bots and secondary markets are typically blamed for jacked-up prices and scalping. But maybe there’s bigger problem is at the source.
Earlier this week, news surfaced that several Madison Square Garden employees were involved in a scandal regarding the re-selling of tickets. The employees, in both ticket sales and corporate hospitality, had special access to tickets.
The employees involved included six sales executives and a senior executive. A Madison Square Garden spokesman said in a statement to the New York Post:
“It was uncovered through an internal investigation that a small handful of employees were breaking company policies and, as a result, they were relieved of their responsibilities.”
One source point to a really simple operation: “They were buying the cheapest tickets for sporting events and reselling them at higher prices on StubHub.”
MSG has a policy in place for employees buying tickets, which involves the employee gaining permission from a supervisor prior to purchasing any seats. The process also requires an explanation of why the ticket purchase is required. However, as the ticketing executives in question had direct access to the actual tickets, the process was a bit different for them.
What’s ironic is that typically, automated ticket-buying apps and secondary sales sites are seen as the main culprit. Now, it’s surfaced that MSG insiders were the ones withholding and reselling the best seats in the house. Ticket buyers are obviously angered by this and feel somewhat betrayed, as the executives who bought seats for face value had access to highly-coveted Knicks and Rangers tickets.
Instead of providing a genuine service to their customers, MSG exploited the interests of the ticket buyers by shuttling tickets to other platforms for a higher price. Although MSG is downplaying the incident, this has reportedly happened before. That raises serious questions about MSG policies and procedures, which presumably were enacted to prevent this exact problem.
Photo by Rian Castillo, Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic, cc by 2.0)