How Scalpers Make More Money Off Broadway’s ‘Hamilton’ Than The Show’s Producers

There’s good news for impatient theater fans who want to see the hit Broadway show “Hamilton.” After ticket prices peaked between this year’s Tony awards on June 12 and the departure of some original cast members a month later, they’ve now plummeted… to only about six to ten times their original face value.

Back in 2007, New York repealed many of its laws against ticket scalping, though people in the industry prefer the more politically correct and respectable-sounding term “broker” now. Instead of standing in a line and buying up as many tickets as they can, brokers create bots to virtually scoop up those tickets much faster.

The problem is that now that Ticketmaster lists resale tickets right on the page where customers would buy tickets directly from the theater if any were available. Sites like StubHub also seem much more legitimate than buying a ticket for cash from around the corner from the theater.

The result is that there’s a frenzy over tickets to this show, and Broadway hasn’t really had to deal with this situation before. The New York Times calls each performance of the show a mini-Super Bowl in terms of getting tickets and prices rising and falling at the last minute.

The Times built its own ticket bot to track prices, though the team could have added features that would have let them scoop up tickets to resell, too. While a possible solution to the problem of revenue streams in the news industry, that would have been extremely unethical. What the bot let the Times do was track prices over time across multiple resale sites and box-office sales on the original site through Ticketmaster.

The bot calculated that the show earned many times what they originally spent on the tickets, earning money for using some software instead of actually producing a show.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has increased the penalties for buyers caught using ticketing bots, and has proposed capping the prices of tickets on the resale market. That change would also probably have unintended consequences.

How Scalpers Make Their Millions With ‘Hamilton’ [New York Times]