If you've ever tried to get tickets to a concert, only to find them sold out three minutes after they went on sale, look no further than a ticket broker. With legions of employees both in line and online, ticket brokers have the resources to buy more tickets and buy them faster than an individual. If you can't find tickets to an event, chances are a broker has them.
Many states have laws prohibiting the sale of tickets for more than face value. Some states have laws that specifically forbid ticket brokerages to do business. With the worldwide access of the Internet, ticket brokers can operate in a state that allows them to do business, and sell tickets to concerts, shows, and events from all over the world.
A ticket broker makes money based on supply and demand. There is an artificially small supply of event tickets, because a show only plays so many dates and there are only so many seats at a venue. This allows the broker to control a significant portion of the supply of tickets, and charge ten times the ticket price or more.
Ticket brokerages employs a group of buyers to purchase tickets for a particular event. The buyers stand in line at points of sale or use the Internet to make online purchases. The employees deliver the tickets to the broker, who then resells them, usually through a website, at a huge markup. When people are unable to find tickets to the event, they turn to the ticket broker.
Of course, there are multiple sides to the discussion. Ticket brokers claim to be providing a service. They say that by purchasing a large number of tickets and selling them at an extreme markup, they are only providing a true market economy. Their claim is that if people want to see a show badly enough to pay ten times the face value of the ticket, the ticket broker is justified in selling the ticket for that price.
Opponents of ticket brokers claim that because there is a very limited number of tickets, the brokers are providing unfair competition. They say that the brokerage is cornering the market. These opponents do not believe that it is ethical of the brokers to act as middlemen, hoarding tickets and demanding an artificially high price without providing any significant service.