Owen, Messi, O’Sullivan. Of course, we expect no less from sportainment promoters in the post-pandemic time. It’s game time. But as the popularity of names rises, so do the ticket prices inflate – if not skyrocket. Lo and behold, let us provide just a little more context about why expensive tickets are so worth it, as somebody who’s been on the crew side and obviously on the fan side.
It’s 2024. Life’s back, game’s back. Michael Owen and Paul Scholes World Football Masters Cup, $280-$980, not too bad. The David Beckham’s Lionel Messi Jordi Alba Sergio Busquets Inter Miami CF vs HK Team, $4,800? Oh, it’s sold out anyways… okay, same for the $780 pre-match open training. And we have our home hero Marco Fu and no surprise world’s favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Snooker All-Star Challenge, $3,380 – wait, I remember it was $580 for the Hong Kong Masters 2022?
We totally feel for you. Post pandemic, there is rethinking about where to spend discretionary income, even you’ve already known that there are “five major players” responsible for the fluctuation of ticket costs.
1. Your Idols/Favs
It’s the stars, celebrities, or sports legends who set the prices, or have them set. Why Lamborghini or Hermès? Everyone pays a price for being a fan. A LIKEable image on Instagram to brag has a price, too. You may say with streamers and networks it’s too old school and tiring to stand in the stands, but you know nothing compares to the gathering, cheering, chanting, and seeing the action unfolded in front of you in a stadium.
The organisers “officially” set the ticket prices, but they also swallow the loss if the event doesn’t generate enough ticket sales to cover all the expenses. They don’t only pay for the players and venue, but everything from ideation to production. There are countless unsung heroes in the industry who take care of stage, audio, visual, video, logistics and transportation, public safety, online and offline marketing and promotions, crisis management… even liaison has a time cost.
While promoters are paid by ticket sales, venues are paid by the promoters. There’s the facility fee, not to mention the sanitisation, maintenance, crowd control, manpower of booking and promotions, ushers, security guards, etc.
4. Ticketing Companies
The online ticketing system, the cost of your convenience of not having to go to the box office counter, the miscellaneous expenses associated with processing, and the generation of emails with QR code or printing of a physical ticket and its delivery fee.
They are not necessarily the “yellow cow” scalpers. In many cases, tickets are snapped up by professional brokers, often in teams or software bots, whose tickets are actually distributed by the promoters to create a higher secondary market price. This is also where tkt prices spike, because the resale prices are set by the seller and the sites don’t limit how much a seller can charge.
At the end of the day, it's simple demand and supply. Last but not least, a quality experience is not born; it’s made.