Scalpers drive Harry Potter play prices from £140 to £8,327

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Why is this the least bit surprising? This is true of every show, play and concert since the 90s.


Further proof that trickle down economics works!


I prefer the current model where if I really want them, I can buy great seats. In the past, the front third of any given sold-out show was completely unavailable to me because I didn’t “know someone” to be comped, or at least get some pre-sale opportunity.

But the issue of empty corporate seats is a real shame. A deadweight loss. No-one wins.


You seem to be conflating “people who want it more” with “people who are willing and able to pay more.”


You seem to be conflating the issue of “inflated concert ticket prices” with the issue of “wealth inequality”.


If the people who were putting on the play wanted to maximize ticket prices they could have implemented that kind of pricing scheme themselves. The scalpers aren’t providing any kind of “benefit,” they are just acting as an expensive barrier ensuring that only the wealthy can enjoy entertainment intended for the masses.



Create an online fan forum leading up to the production. Make knowledge of the subject a prerequisite for membership. Maybe don’t leak the fact that tickets will be offered. Have a ranking system that keeps members in good standing. Give these members first dibs on 4 tickets. Require the name of the patron to be printed on the ticket. Also have a limited number of tickets released at a box office each day. Perhaps that might make a few people happy.

I’m sorry, what is a Harry Potter play in 2016 but a naked cash-in?

Plays are literally - LITERALLY - marketed on their exclusiveness and limited supply - the best advertisement a Broadway show can have is “HOTTEST TICKET IN TOWN.” It is the EXCLUSIVENESS you are buying - how can anyone argue otherwise?

At least the producers have the dignity to only charge what they need to be wildly successful, and let the scalpers do the rest.

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Not exactly. Most producers would be happy to have an opportunity to put on a play at the largest venue they could hope to fill, or allow a show to run long enough that everyone who really wanted to see it had a reasonable chance of doing so. If it was all about exclusiveness and limited supply they’d be pushing to have their shows in tiny venues with severely limited engagements and prohibitively expensive ticket prices.

Believe it or not, performing artists generally want their performances to be seen. Given a choice between an audience made up of thousands of ordinary people or a couple dozen millionaires, most would opt for the more egalitarian option.


on the plus side, if you’ve got 8000 pounds to spend on a play – looks like that’s 10k us, even after brexit – you probably can afford some pretty good lawyers.

sell tickets at the door?


Lin-Manuel Miranda has been working hard to figure out ways to combat Hamilton scalping – supporting new laws to make buying brokered tickets harder, and reserving rows from every performance to sell for $10 each in the Ham4Ham lotteries.


The trubs is, most of the tickets are being bought the microsecond they come up for sale, by automated scalpers, and then resold illegally at a huge mark-up.


All of the above. And maybe sell higher priced backstage packages that scalpers won’t get as much return from? The more ways to buy tix, the better?

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Agreed. The resale market gets around the insider trading issue, albeit very inefficiently from the perspective of the general public.

Whether I can’t get front row seats to Radiohead because I don’t know the right people or because I’m not rich enough is immaterial. Nothing’s changed. I still can’t get them.

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Maybe Radiohead wants to make sure that their audience is made up of dedicated fans rather than people who have enough money to prevent those front-row tickets from ending up in the hands of dedicated fans.

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Isn’t the right thing to do – if you want to get into the hands of fans rather than scalpers is to get some sense of what the market-clearing price is – then let “fans” (however you want to credential them) buy tickets under the market-clearing price (something you could test with limited releases of tickets in the traditional course) provided that if they use the ticket themselves, they are refunded some large part of the price (down to the notional price) or, alternatively, are charged the notional price but are liable for the balance if they themselves don’t use it? That way, if a fan wants to sell the ticket on a secondary market, they’re just being made whole from their liability, and it would limit the ability of the ticket scalpers to vacuum up the tickets and pocket the difference. I’m not going to sell my $200 for $400 if I know I’ll still get nicked for $800. (I assume a system where I could surrender the ticket back to the venue for a refund)

I think scalping serves a fine function as a secondary market, but only if there was a primary market to begin with. If a ticket for Hamilton or something is really going for $1,000, I’d rather see Hamilton get $1,000 than the superfast machines get $850.

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Right, but the issue is that the producers of Hamilton actually WANT people to have an opportunity to see it for less than $1000. Lin-Manuel Miranda in particular has made a point of valuing inclusion and diversity in his work and audience. He doesn’t want to just perform for rich people.

Why should money always be the sole deciding factor for who “wants it more?”