20 years ago the way ticket sellers made money was to get on the phone and call other ticket sellers (brokers) to find out who had what so they could quote some tickets to their clients. Those were the days when it was good to know “a guy” that could get you tickets to that hard to get to event. The natural progression of making that process easier through technology in conjunction with the rise of online sales was ultimately the cause of death for the “ticket broker”. Much in the way the travel agent became a dying profession the ticket broker was soon to become instinct as well.
At first technology made communication easier for ticket brokers as they created their first wholesale (internal) exchange called the Ticket Trader. Along came a gentleman by the name of “Marty”, we’ll keep his last name out of the story for the time being, who created the first known wholesale exchange in the ticket industry. It was easy. You list your ticket on the system as every other ticket holder does. The system syncs everyone’s data (that was a big deal back in the early 90’s) and now you have access to hundreds of thousands of tickets instead of whatever tickets you had in your hand. There were restrictions in being able to list your tickets on The Ticket Trader so not everyone could do it, keeping the Ticket Broker value high. The problem was that the technology advancement it wasn’t going to be long before something would come along that would replicate the ticket trader or revolutionize it. Marty saw the writing on the wall. He sells Ticket Trader who must have had somewhere in the range of 300-400 users to a company called “Openfield” who was operating under guise of Razorgator. As this was happening another company was already planning on taking what Ticket Trader had done and making it accessible to the public at large.
You may have heard of them, StubHub. Now no ticket broker would have believed that the day would come that their “loyal” clients would end up doing what the broker was doing all along, get in the business ofbuying and selling tickets. But it only made sense that they would. They now had transparency and control. The industry was never regulated and ticket brokers were at times making 10% to 500% on mark ups without question. But now with a public exchange the market place where tickets exchanged hands changed all of that. Now suddenly the actual market value of a ticket became clear. No need to go to a broker anymore unless THEY ACTUALLY HELD THE TICKETS. Which is one of the two ingredients required in today’s environment in having a successful ticket company. The second is having a SEO friendly website and presence of that website online. Not to digress but soon there were more exchanges and ultimately affiliate programs from those exchanges to capture the online market share. So in short, the days of brokering tickets ended, with a small exception of a few events where it is not legal to list seats on an exchange. The start reality was the ticket re seller either had to have their own inventory of tickets in a niche market to be identified with in or have an online presence.
The ticket broker who chose to adapt and started learning about the internet and seo had a learning curve but managed to survive and recreate themselves, those that didn’t died. The successful ones contacted companies like Ticket Platform who helped them customize their ticket sites, help them with search engine optimization and simply helped them adapt to this new way of doing business. The ticket companies who expanded their ticket inventory to adjust to loss in sales from the so called “not so loyal” customers still had to deal with Exchanges and the grip they held help in moving their tickets for them and the commissions they paid for that service. Ultimately the “ticket broker” was dead and he new face of the online ticket seller emerged. A bite more tech savvy then he had ever envisioned himself to want to be but still alive.