StubHub Becomes Official Scalper Of Major League Baseball

Private ticket sales will emerge from the shadows under a five year agreement signed by Major League Baseball that will make StubHub the only official site where fans can buy and sell baseball tickets amongst themselves. 25 of the 30 MLB teams already run secondary ticket trading sites, but starting in 2008, they will consolidate under a StubHub-run, MLB-branded site. Some teams are less than excited.

From the New York Times:

Several teams have also openly criticized the use of StubHub in the past. Last season, the New York Yankees revoked season tickets of fans who used StubHub, saying it violated the contract that the ticket holders had with the team. The Yankees even went so far as to ask its flagship radio station, WCBS, to turn down ads from StubHub, and security guards at Yankee Stadium regularly questioned fans arriving with StubHub envelopes.

StubHub charges buyers and sellers a combined fee of 25%, which will be shared with the league. The deal is a gratifying blow to TicketMaster, which had signed agreements to manage secondary ticket sales for 12 teams. We welcome any competition in the traditionally monopolistic ticket sales arena; hopefully, other sports leagues will consider following MLB’s lead.

Baseball Gets Into Resale of Tickets [New York Times]
(AP Photo/Jonathan Drew)


Edit Your Comment

  1. gibsonic says:

    if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

  2. B says:

    Stubhub is a cool way for fans to buy/sell tickets, and it doesn’t have the outrageous markups that you’ll get from a scalper.

  3. GrantGannon says:

    I’ve dealt with StubHub once and was very pleased. I got a pair of 8th row corner NHL tix for $80 a few months ago. It’s a good way to pick up rarely used tickets on the cheap. I wouldn’t try getting tickets to the Super Bowl through them. I’ll be seeing a baseball game next week with two tickets for $20 that normally cost $30 each.

  4. GiselleBeardchen says:

    Why is there a picture of outside the RCA Dome in Indy? We don’t have Major League Baseball!

  5. RandomHookup says:

    I work by Fenway Park and despise the scalpers, if for no other reason than they won’t leave you alone, even if you are just trying to go to lunch. A Stub Hub office opened across the street from us and we noted at least you can do a credit card chargeback if you get ripped off by them.

  6. cyclade says:

    Stub Hub’s problem is that it doesn’t police seller markups that, in many states, are completely unlawful. I used it once to buy tickets as a last-minute gift and was charged more than 2 times face value for the seats (a fact I didn’t know until I got the tix in the mail) in addition to the various handling/processing fees. I’ll never use Stub Hub again as a consequence.

    Here in Boston, the Red Sox have their own system called “Replay” that I think works pretty well. Season ticket holders (or other Replay members who pay $50 a season to enter the resale market) can sell their tickets back to the team. The team then turns around and sells the seats to Replay subscribers at face value plus the standard service charges. Considering that every game sells out before the season starts and the team limits pre-season single-game sales to two games per customer (in an effort to give more people a shot at attending a game — and also thwart scalpers), it’s a great way to see a bunch of games without buying a full season ticket.

  7. Murph1908 says:

    I want to revoke my nomination for you as Poster of the Week.

    Stub Hub, and all secondary ticket sales brokers, should be banned.

    We need to take the business of buying tickets and selling them at a markup. Sporting event tickets are expensive enough without adding unwanted middlemen into the mix.

    I would love Stub Hub if it were just fans like you and me trading tickets we can’t use to someone who can. But when I go there and see “Jimmy’s Ticket World” selling 50 pairs of tickets to the game I want to go to, at a 50% markup, it irritates me to no end.

  8. ReverseCarpetbagging says:


    No markups? Are you kidding me? Just look at the Yankees v. Royals tickets. Tier Reserved 9 at $55.00 each? Those tickets cost $18 on a plan and $20 face. StubHub is just authorized scalping. Yes, I guess that’s oxymoronic like jumbo shrimp, but it’s a shame. It’s like poker sites advertising that they’re not gambling sites because they use the .net for their “for fun” sites, when everything leads you to the $$$ “.com” version. StubHub is atrocious.

  9. hwyengr says:

    While there are plenty of pro scalpers on Stubhub, I did in fact use it last week to sell some tickets for a game that I could no longer attend.

  10. queen_elvis says:

    Wait, does this mean using craigslist and so on is going to be frowned on by MLB? Or is StubHub just the only “official” one? I have an extra ticket to next Tuesday’s Red Sox-Angels game…

  11. doormat says:

    Meh, I dont like stubhub just for the fact that I bought $100 tickets to a concert (2.5x face) and then the concert got rescheduled from a Saturday night to a Wednesday night and then I couldn’t go and resold the tickets for a $60 loss. Its nothing against stub hub (except for the whole scalping BS to begin with ), just one bad experience.

  12. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    I agree, these ticket “agencies” should be outright outlawed. Nothing I like better than trying to get tickets and having to fight through ticketbastard or because of all these broker agents on there.

  13. t.a.m.s.y. says:

    I’m not sure the best way to bring down a monopoly is implementation of a new, different monopoly.

  14. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    This spring, my brothers and I tried to buy tickets to a “premium” date for a ballgame – premium being a Saturday afteroon home game. We tried by phone and net on the team’s official website THE DAY that selling is allowed in April (I think) for a game in June or July. We were planning well in advance. Lo and behold, the tema was sold out of all “premium” dates in less than 3 hours and we could not get tickets from the source. However, there were plenty available on StubHub -marked up and we got to pay even more money for shipping.

    Baseball is a sport that is already expensive enough to go to. If I can’t plan ahead and get a “decent” price by buying months ahead then something is wrong. We ended up paying about $90 a ticket for seats that normally sell for $42 after all the fees, markups, and shipping from StubHub.

    I thought Baseball was making a comeback. This is another nail in the coffin….

  15. MrBartokomous says:

    You know, I always thought the best way to do this, at least for stuff you know is going to sell out… you set up a website where you register your name, address, CC, whatever… and then you submit the event you want and your bid for up to 4 tickets. Then, once all the bids are submitted, the top 15,000 or 30,000 or whatever the venue’s capacity is get tickets, with the highest bidders getting first choice on seating locations and so on. The venue/team/performer gets the revenue, and it’s tied to mailing address so scalpers can’t monopolize the sales of tickets. No racing through ticketmaster, just give it to whoever’s willing to pay the most.

  16. Timbojones says:

    @t.a.m.s.y.: Hear, hear. I have no love for Ticketmaster, but I fail to see how an official league-wide after-market clearinghouse encourages competition or discourages monopolistic practices.

  17. umbriago says:

    I thought MLB had it made already. The St. Louis Cardinals have a turnback program where season ticket holders turn back their seats and they resell them at a big premium. I forget what it’s called, but it’s a $35 fee just to gain the honor of buying seats.

    Where I live, however, we don’t have this problem. I can go to a Royals’ game, pay $8, and sit down front since there are always empty seats – and no one cares.

  18. lordbeef says:

    Say what you will about the secondary market, Stubhub has good service when you buy from them.

    If the seller fails to deliver the tickets you pay for, Stubhub will actually go out and get you better tickets, either from another Stubhub seller, or from eBay, or a brokerage to try to get you to the event you paid for

    I agree with thebrianastonishing quite a bit. The only way you can really eliminate the secondary market is if the venue itself auctions off all of the tickets (has been done before successfully).

    Stubhub takes the secondary market and tries to make it as safe as possible for both parties (and of course they make a hefty profit in the process)

  19. basketballjones says:

    It’s supply and demand, gentlemen, supply and demand. Don’t cry when you pay 2x’s the “face” value of a pair of tickets. The value of the tickets will never be what’s written on the ticket if an even is sold out. You bought them because you wanted to go and you thought the price was reasonable enough. Stub Hub is here to stay and if you want to go to a sporting event/concert you must be willing to pay more than the others who want to go to the show.
    So stop your crying and watch it on TV if you can’t afford it!

  20. Canadian Impostor says:

    Just so all of you know, the vast majority of tickets on Stubhub are from scalpers. I worked at a very large ticket scalper and handled web orders through Stubhub.

    If you’re going to use Stubhub, save yourself some money and call the scalper directly, they call themselves “ticket brokers”. They don’t have to pay anything to Stubhub, so they can get you tickets a few dollars cheaper.

    Also you’ll be talking to a salesman usually, so you can haggle and work out a deal if that’s your style.

  21. Canadian Impostor says:

    @Murph1908: Technically sports tickets aren’t expensive enough, which is why there’s a large secondary market for them. You may not enjoy the high price of sports tickets (I don’t either), but if someone out there is willing to spend more money than you to see a sports game why shouldn’t they be able to?

    If you want to wake up early and get tickets the same way the scalpers do, you’d have a fair chance at face value decent seats. That’s basically what you’re paying a scalper for; removing waking up at 6am on Saturday when Ticketmaster puts new events on sale, removing waiting in the lottery and possibly getting crummy tickets anyway, and not having to plan ahead. If you want to save money on tickets, figure out when they go on sale and wake up early.

  22. muckpond says:

    @GiselleBeardchen: no, we don’t have major league baseball. but it’s easy to get a picture of scalpers in indy because it’s totally legal here…like it should be everywhere.

  23. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    Sorry, I want to see a ballgame just like everyone else. But I’m not paying 3x face to sit in the bleachers.
    Screw ticketmaster, and screw StubHub.
    And if you charge more than a 25% markup on your tickets on resale – screw you

  24. spinachdip says:

    @Jason: While I see your argument, I’m not sure I buy into the “Yay, free market!” thing. Aren’t these scalpers taking an already scarce commodity, further reducing the supply and essentially creating a mini-monopoly?

    And the same goes for Ticketmaster – since there’s no competition, what’s to stop them from adding charges on top of the ticket price?

  25. Canadian Impostor says:

    @spinachdip: Ticketmaster is absolutely a monopoly. You have the same access to tickets that scalpers do.

  26. jhnatin says:

    Getting back to this, if I may…

    Scalping tickets is fine. I’ve often decided to go to a Phillies game alone at the last minute and I almost always buy a scalped ticket in the parking lot. I negotiate a fair price, based on the situation (i.e. if the game started 10 minutes ago, the price should be below face value; if it is an hour before a sold-out game with some meaning, the price should be double face) and I have never gotten a counterfeit ticket or had a problem in over 30 years.

    I also have a partial season ticket plan and buy tickets through normal channels (including the Phils secondary outlet) a lot.

    I think ticket brokers are a fact of life, and they have always sold tickets for more than the law would seem to allow. Except, in the old days, they got say 100 or 250 tickets to each game (or event) nowadays it appears that thousands of tickets to each game are resold and the definition of a broker is blurred (since there are no storefronts to identify most of them).

    The issue I see with MLB getting in bed with StubHub is that most of the tickets sold on StubHub are being sold by businesses or individuals who but the tickets from the Phils to profit from them — not to go to the games. Of course, “real fans” sell occasional tickets. But, I see the marketing emphasis on that by StubHub as very misleading. From my conversations with MLB on this, I think they may have bought into the misleading premise themselves.


    Go to StubHub now and take a look at all the Phils tickets posted and tell me if they are from “real fans” or not. The same tickets are offered for sale now (January!) repeatedly. Some full season tickets are being offered for sale at markups of over $1,500 — without playoff rights. Do you think these are “real fans”?