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Eric Church recently gave the investigative team of Nashville TV station WTVF access to the ticketing process during his tour stop in Music City. What the station found is that the odds are actually stacked against fans who want to get good, affordable seats, owing to the work of professional scalpers.
"Real fans are getting beat to the punch when tickets go on sale," Eric's manager Fielding Logan told WTVF. "They are there trying to buy tickets at the price we set and they are getting beat out."
The station found that tickets for the show at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena were purchased by people and companies from 41 states. Out of 14,000 seats, 495 went to California, 353 to Massachusetts and 248 to New York. Additionally, a single scalper in North Carolina acquired at least 175 tickets. In total, it was discovered that 75 percent of the floor seats for the tour stop had gone to professional scalpers.
Interestingly enough, Eric's manager found that some of those scalpers have actually been landing tickets legally. One way to do that is by accessing artist's fan clubs and using their presale codes, which is a problem that actually occurred with the country star's group.
"We tried to make our tickets very accessible to fans, we kept the ticket prices low," Eric told Billboard.com back in February. "What we didn't count on was all these big ticket brokers would join our fan club, infiltrate our system, take advantage of our system, and buy up all these tickets. Now, at a lot of these buildings that are selling out, there's 500-600 tickets left to sell, and we don't have any of 'em. Ticket brokers are [asking] $200, $300, $400 a ticket. It penalizes the fans; that was gonna be their pit ticket, their front row ticket."
That being said, there are also scalpers who are using illegal means to obtain tickets. Ticketmaster even provided Eric's managers with data that shows an unknown source was using an automated bot to buy tickets. This software, which is illegal in Tennessee, circumvents the security protocols of a website such as Ticketmaster, and allows the user to jump ahead of fans.
No matter the means, the result is that fans, like one interviewed by WTVF, are left paying $150 for a seat that was intended to be only $40. And fans aren't the only ones who are upset.
"Scalpers piss me off," Eric admits. "I've never encountered this in my life, we've never been at this level, and, quite frankly, we were unprepared."
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