NASHVILLE, TN (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — An investigative report by a Nashville CBS affiliate WTVF has revealed some ugly facts about ticketing practices at in the wake of a sold out Taylor Swift gig at the Sommet Center.
Tickets to the show sold out almost immediately, leaving many fans shut out from seeing the popular performer. When questioned by reporters about the tickets, Swift's reps suggested that reporters speak with Ticketmaster, however WTVF's investigation reveals that a very small percentage of the available seats at the venue were actually put on sale.
According to WTVF, of the more than 13,330 seats at the concert, only 1,591 were released to for sale to the general public. The remainder of the seats were held back; some for the artist, promoter, agents, and venue and promotional events but others were held for various presales such a radio promotion and fan clubs.
Still more tickets (almost a third of all of the available seats) were held back for the well-heeled. The tour was advertised as an American Express Event, leaving blocks of some of the best tickets available only to American Express Centurion, Platinum, Gold and Blue card holders.
2,500 tickets were also set aside for Taylor's fan club but few provisions appear to have been made to prevent speculators from reselling these tickets and they soon started to appear on secondary market auction websites at inflated prices. WTVF found one instance of two tickets allocated to the fan club being listed almost immediately for resale at $1,177 each on TicketsNow.com.
Swift's promoter, Louis Messina told WTVF that Taylor had tried to avoid having her tickets scalped. According to Messina, Swift was offered a similar deal to the one that Keith Urban struck with Ticketmaster that allowed to Urban auction off some of his own tickets for sale to the highest bidder. Messina says that Swift passed on the idea.
"She called and said 'We can't do that That means I'm like scalping my own tickets.' So it cost her millions and millions of dollars, I means millions of dollars, to not to do that," Messina said.
"In her world, she wanted to sell every ticket for $20. She wanted to go, 'I just want my fans to be able to come to my shows.' So I said, 'Taylor, you can't do that 'cause you can't afford that. It would cost you so much money.'" Messina added.
Messina went on to note that deals like the arrangement with American Express help keep the price of tickets down.
"It's a great marketing vehicle for us. They spend a lot of money — full-page ads in the New York Times, which cost $150,000 to buy, full-page ads in the Philadelphia newspapers and LA. It just helps offset some costs." Messina told WTVF's Paul Williams. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers