In the wake of an ongoing furor over “dynamic pricing” for Bruce Springsteen’s tour, Ticketmaster took the unusual step Sunday afternoon of releasing some statistics about costs and percentages for the dates that went on sale last week. Downplaying the number of controversial “platinum” tickets with variable prices that reached as high as $5,000 apiece on the first day of on-sales, Ticketmaster says those represent only 11.2% of the overall tickets sold.
By the ticketing service’s calculations, that left the other 88.2% of tickets sold at fixed prices that ranged from $59.50 to $399 before added service fees.
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Ticketmaster further says that the average price of all tickets sold so far is $262, with 56% being sold for under $200 face value.
Although the service does not dispute reports of tickets being priced through the platinum program for as high as $4-5K, Ticketmaster is claiming that only 1.3% of total tickets so far have gone for more than $1,000.
Ticketmaster is releasing this information after five days’ worth of popular outrage over the priciest ducats, and in advance of a majority of cities on the tour going on sale later this week. On-sales for the 2023 US tour are being staggered over 10 days, and the company has a big interest in making sure upset fans aren’t dissuaded by believing all the hundreds of thousands of tickets yet to go on sale will be sold for the amounts that have been making headlines.
The service further broke down the percentages on the 56% of tickets it says were sold for under $200. It said that 18% were sold under $99, 27% went for between $100-150, and 11% sold for between $150-200.
“Prices and formats are consistent with industry standards for top performers,” the company said in a statement.
Springsteen has not released any statements himself on the controversy. Both he and Ticketmaster have been under pressure to provide an explanation for the tickets that were priced in the four-figures, with the $5,000 figure being held up by some detractors as proof that the artist is not actually a “man of the people.”
Ticketmaster and the singer had previously not revealed any fixed costs for tickets, although fans quickly figured out that the first ones to get through the queue each day were able to buy in the $60-400 range… only to have those immediately snapped up, leaving the more exorbitantly priced ducats — with values inflated as much as 10 times the original value — as what most would-be buyers see when they log in.
Ticketmaster is highly unlikely to dump the “platinum” program that has proved so unpopular this week, designed as it is to devalue secondary ticketing sites like StubHub and put extra money in the hands of the artist and promoter. It did appear by the third day of on-sales Friday that caps were being put on the highest platinum values, as a survey of seating charts in different cities showed those tickets maxing out in the low-to-mid 2000s instead of $4,000-5000 . But it’s also possible those seats were being priced lower in response to perceiving less heated demand after the huge surge of national interest the first day.
While there was speculation that the highest prices being disseminated were determined by an algorithm, sources say the dynamic pricing is not actually rooted in an algorithm but set by promoter pricing teams, which would explain some of the big differences in pricing for platinum tickets from city to city.
The majority of dates hit the market this Tuesday through Friday.
On Tuesday, shows go on sale for Washington, DC, Baltimore, State College, Penn., Cleveland and Philadelphia, although the latter two are among the few shows on the tour not going through Ticketmaster. On Wednesday, Detroit goes on sale. On Thursday, tickets become available for Atlanta, Kansas City, Seattle, Milwaukee, Columbus and Buffalo.
On Friday, the two New York City dates — Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center — go on sale (with the latter Brooklyn show also not being handled by Ticketmaster). Also on sale Friday are the tour finale in Newark, NJ and a two-night stand in Belmont Park, NY.
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