Prediction: Where there is two there will be twenty.

If you’ve read my recent blog about my trip to London, you know that one of the biggest differences between our sister theater city and ourselves is that half-price tickets booths are everywhere.

The official TKTS booth in London is just one of a hundred options people have to get half price or discounted seats.  Those other half price outlets in Londontown are all brokers, most of whom have legitimate relationships with the theaters to help move inventory (and they not only sell discount tickets, but they’ll sell you full price tickets (and higher) to more in-demand shows as well).

I’ve always wondered why brokers haven’t set up similar shops here.

But now it looks like it’s starting to happen.

Americana, one of the oldest ticket brokers in the city, set up a brick and mortar shop just a few steps away from the actual TKTS booth a couple of years ago now.  I thought that was just an anomaly.

But wouldn’t you know it, just a few weeks ago, I noticed a tourist shop, just a few feet away from Americana that rents bikes and sells walking tours, had a sign in the window advertising “Save up to 50% on Broadway shows!”   They’ve even got a red sign (the color of TKTS) in the window advertising what shows they can get and at what cost, many cheaper than full price.

How are they getting these cheaper tickets?  Pretty easy, actually.  They’re using discount codes they find online, buying them at the box offices, and then reselling them.  In fact, because of their proximity to the box offices, they could literally wait until someone placed an order, and then go buy the tickets, and deliver them within 30 minutes . . . tacking on a service fee to make sure they got a nice hefty profit.  No risk.  No speculation.  And the customer just “saved” money off of the full price ticket.  And unlike TKTS, the customer can order these discount tickets for any day they want, not just day of.

The ease at which it’s possible for a company like this to go into business and make money means one thing . . . we’re going to see more of these in the future.

I’d expect that in ten years we will look like London, with every tourist trinket shop giving up some of their storefront real estate to this low risk, high profit business.

Consumers will love it.  Because they’ll have more choices than standing in the long line at the TKTS booth.

But Producers will hate it . . . because our once big secret about how to get cheap tickets to shows will be as public as Times Square itself.

And you know what that means?

We’ll have to raise ticket prices again, to account for the increased # of discount tickets.

And that’s not good for anyone.

 

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