Does Face Value Even Exist Anymore?

Is it possible to buy a ticket for any event at face value anymore? Case in point:

My girlfriend has never been to a hockey game. I was raised on the sport. I grew up in the suburbs of L.A., and my pops used to take me to see the L.A. Kings on a regular basis. Started out back in the purple and gold days watching guys like Tiger Williams (who still holds the world record for most penalty minutes). As I got older, the colors changed to silver and black, and the old goon squad got replaced by a crop of very talented players like Wayne Gretzky, Rob Blake, Luc Robataille, Paul Coffey, and Marty McSorley (yes, Marty was talented, if not a little hot-headed).

The L.A. Kings are now a horrible, horrible team, but I still miss them dearly. Needless to say, when I moved to Portland, I was very excited about the Winterhawks, and Junior Hockey in general. These kids hustle, they play hard, and they play some very exciting games. Moreover, tickets are relatively inexpensive. I’d like to share this stuff with my girl.

So, I looked at the team schedule and decided to attend Friday’s game against Swift Current. Tickets near the ice were listed as $17.25 per. A bargain. Well, until you click the “buy tickets” link and are taken to Ticketmaster, who adds a $3.75 “convenience fee” on each ticket, bringing the total up to $21 per ticket. To hell with that. I’m still reeling from the $13.00 “convenience fee” added onto my Springsteen ticket.

So, I decided to drive over to the box office and get my tickets at face value. No such luck. Here, tickets are listed at $21 per ticket. The price “includes credit card fee”, the helpful sign tells me. What the sign does not tell me is if I can avoid the “credit card fee” by paying cash. What is apparent, however, is that this is a blatant rip-off. There is simply no justification to add service fees at the box office. And it’s a trend I’ve been seeing more and more. It’s happened to me at concerts (the Street Dogs show a couple of months back), and now my beloved ‘hawks are screwing me, as well.

Try as I might, I just can’t wrap my head around the reasoning for a service charge at the box office.

10 Comments so far

  1. Steve (unregistered) on December 13th, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

    Don’t blame the Winter Hawks (two words); it’s Ticketmaster that charges the fees. And never, ever buy WH tickets through the Ticketmaster Web site. That’s the most expensive way to get them.

    Your best bet for the Hawks is to do walk ups day-of-game, or call the Winter Hawks box office ahead of time. 503-236-HAWK

    I give kudos to the Hawks for advertising the actual price on the box office window. The truly disgusting thing is that for kids tickets in the cheap seats, the total price is $5. The Hawks get $2 of that.


  2. Wacky Mommy (unregistered) on December 13th, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

    The coupon books also run two-fers for the Hawks.


  3. jim (unregistered) on December 13th, 2007 @ 2:18 pm

    I hear that.

    I am going to buy my nephew a pair of tickets for the Blazers/Celtics game in Feb. or Mar. I go online and select 2 of the $11 seats. Get to the checkout and see there is a $5 service charge per ticket plus $14.95 for shipping! $25 in service charges for $22 worth of ticket. There is something seriously wrong with that.


  4. pdxrocket (unregistered) on December 13th, 2007 @ 2:26 pm

    TicketMaster needs a good whoopin’! Convenience charges for having a ticket sent via email when you know darn well it’s not costing them a thing. This is what happens when major companies take control.


  5. divebarwife (unregistered) on December 13th, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

    What I love is when they charge you to print the tickets at home using your own printer, ink and paper.


  6. Meghan H (unregistered) on December 13th, 2007 @ 3:51 pm

    I have used ONE good ticket service recently, called “Brown Paper Tickets”. A good number of grassroots community events all over the country use this service, and I think it’s the cheapest out there. I wish more major touring bands and sports arenas would seek out more affordable services (like Brown Paper) rather than bending their fans over the Ticketmaster barrel.


  7. Carley (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 10:08 am

    Hey there!

    I actually work for Brown Paper Tickets. As Meghan said, there are plenty of grassroots community events all over the country who use us, as well as many theaters, venues, etc. To my knowledge, we also have the lowest service charge of any ticketing company in the industry.

    It looks like the Winterhawks play at Memorial Coliseum, which is an exclusive Ticketmaster venue. (Unfortunately.) I’ll shoot the Coliseum an email, and maybe we can coax them away from Ticketmaster when their contract expires. Hopefully we’ll be saving you headaches (and cash!) in the future!

    Have fun at the game!


  8. Carley (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 10:09 am

    Hey there!

    I actually work for Brown Paper Tickets. As Meghan said, there are plenty of grassroots community events all over the country who use us, as well as many theaters, venues, etc. To my knowledge, we also have the lowest service charge of any ticketing company in the industry.

    It looks like the Winter Hawks play at Memorial Coliseum, which is an exclusive Ticketmaster venue. (Unfortunately.) I’ll shoot the Coliseum an email, and maybe we can coax them away from Ticketmaster when their contract expires. Hopefully we’ll be saving you headaches (and cash!) in the future!

    Have fun at the game!


  9. plm (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 11:01 am

    Isn’t Paul Allen a major investor in Ticketmaster? That would explain Coliseum and Rose Garden ties.


  10. Steve (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 11:22 am

    Actually, the Winter Hawks had to sue Allen’s arena management company to keep using Ticket Master and keep control of their own ticket sales. The blazers and Rose Garden are using a different ticket service now, and tried to force the Hawks into it when Allen bought back the RG.

    I’m not sure what the contractual obligations are with TM, but it would sure be cool if the Hawks could switch to Brown Paper Tickets and either pocket more of the final ticket price, or pass some savings on to us fans.



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