Friday, January 1, 2010

Wynn v Scalpers, Round Deux

Psst! Want some Garth tix?


Tonight begins the second weekend of Garth Brooks mania at Wynn Las Vegas. You might recall, Wynn has declared war on ticket brokers (aka scalpers) and instituted Draconian ticketing policies. Entire jobs at Wynn have been devoted to stamping out this evil and making sure that everyone at the show has paid $125 plus taxes and fees and not a penny more to Wynn Las Vegas and nobody else.

Except do a little Googling. My niece, Courtney, did. First thing that pops up when you search "Garth Brooks Las Vegas" is a site owned by

$385 a seat! And they're not even being shy about it! It comes up even before Garth's Wikipedia page!

The further out the show dates are, the more they cost. This is from VividSeats.Com:

These aren't shady outfits, either. Both companies boast being members of the National Association of Ticket Brokers and the Better Business Bureau. And check out VividSeats.Com's BBB rating:

Over on eBay, two "Top Rated Sellers" are hawking seats, too, at vastly inflated prices:

That's surprising because Wynn had specifically asked eBay to stop allowing such sales. Oh well.

So here's the thing: The suckers who buy those seats will not be able to use them. Folks coming tonight -- myself included because I missed media night with the flu -- must pick up the tickets with all members of their parties present and showing ID. They'll get wristbands that can't be removed until the show starts. The tickets say the names of the attendees on them. And there'll be random checks at the showroom door.

And any legit ticket broker knows this.

I'm not fond of the anti-scalping policy -- it smacks of anti-capitalism to me and seems a recipe for customer service disasters -- but this is the plan and it's no secret to people in the business. What happens when someone buys seats from eSeats.Com or Vividseats.Com or an eBay Top-Rated Seller unaware of the Wynn measures? Do these companies that are knowingly trying to skirt the venue's rules lose their A+'s from the BBB or their Top-Rated Seller privileges? Will they be sanctioned by the National Association of Ticket Brokers, whose president told me for my Portfolio.Com piece on the topic last month: "It’s Garth’s show and Steve’s show and they certainly have the right to place terms and restrictions as they so desire.”

Jennifer Dunne, the Wynn spokesqueen, said the resort is bracing for problems on this, the second weekend, even though the first weekend went real smooth. She figures folks who heard how ticketing was handled in December will think they can circumvent the system -- they didn't do the wristband thing for the first show, for example -- but that the Wynn team will keep shuffling the deck to make keep their nemeses off the scent.

"What they’re going to find out when they pick up today is that there's wristbands this time," said Dunne of folks who buy via scalpers. "This is what leads to unfortunate situations."

Wynn has taken some smart measures to help fans and ticketholders who might not be able use their seats. They give full refunds until an hour before the show, resell those tickets in a stand-by line and have been releasing tickets they've canceled (because they found scalpers had bought them) days before shows. And the most interesting approach is a section of the Wynn website under entertainment where fans can enter their information -- their names, when they want to see the shows -- and they get on a waiting list. Those people get dibs when tickets come available. Dunne said there are 40,000 people in that database.

I must run to get our seats and grab dinner. I'll be Tweeting what I find -- including images of our tickets and wristbands -- later, so follow if you care. And, of course, I'll be reviewing the show on the podcast, which we'll record live tomorrow from 4-6 pm PT at LVRocks.Com.


Anonymous said...


You mean people in Las Vegas are actually willing to spend their hard-earned money on...Garth Brooks?...

...and you take time outta your busy schedule to research the prices for your blog?...
...for...Garth Brooks????....
Too funny!


This post isn't actually about Garth Brooks tickets and their prices. It's about a novel approach by a venue to restrict resale and how that's going. But you're entitled to your opinion, even if it shows you don't actually read what you're reacting to.

Anonymous said...

If a Garth fan wants to buy tickets to the show, and that show is sold-out, exactly how do they get tickets? The Wynn won't sell them to you, and brokers can't sell them. This just seems like poor customer service, no matter what the intentions are.

This is also Vegas, people are dropping money left and right. Who cares if they are dropping money on the secondary market for tickets, there is still plenty for Steve and his casino.