DENVER (KDVR) — Concert tickets have been going up in price for years, but a Data Desk analysis found that in some cases, the biggest part of the increase comes from fees associated with ticket sellers.
The difference is especially noticeable when you compare the fees tacked on to a ticket sold for the first time and the fees charged when a ticket is resold through an official dealer.
That’s the case at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which is gearing up for what organizers hope will be the first pandemic-free season since 2019.
Red Rocks’ reputation and capacity have made it one of the country’s premier concert venues. In 2021, Billboard Magazine ranked it the number one most-attended venue of any size in the world, with just under a million total attendees.
The venue’s popularity means a vibrant market for ticket resale. Instead of a physical ticket line, the online ticket line begins the moment tickets go on sale and stretches far beyond the Denver metro. Around one-third of the tickets sold for any given Red Rocks show is from out-of-state, according to Brian Kitts, marketing and communications director for Denver Arts and Venues.
That demand comes at a sometimes frustrating cost. Tickets to shows at Red Rocks are usually scooped up in a matter of days. Sometimes it only takes minutes for a show to sell out, only to be resold.
Three of the 2022 season’s shows — Goo Goo Dolls, Nine Inch Nails and Glass Animals — only have tickets that were sold back to Red Rocks’ online ticket purchasing platform that have now become available again.
A Data Desk analysis of 17 of this season’s concerts shows that resale fees are considerably less of the final ticket price than the fees for a new ticket. When combined, new-ticket fees can double the final cost of a ticket.
Ticket sales company AXS has a contract with Denver to manage its performance sales. The company has a variety of options, but one thing is consistent — the convenience fee. There isn’t a set rate for this, but over the 17 shows Data Desk analyzed, it generally accounts for about a quarter of the final ticket price.
Then there are the add-ons, such as physical tickets and souvenir tickets. Concertgoers who want a physical ticket before the show can pay $20 for a mailed ticket or for a physical ticket at will call. They can also pay for a souvenir ticket to be sent to them after the show for $14.
Concertgoers who buy previously-purchased tickets from Red Rocks’ online platform are charged a resale fee that is always 22.5% of the ticket’s face value but can range in cost based on the value of the ticket itself.
This means the resale fees come out to 18.4% of the final purchase price.
Gorgon City is performing April 14. The ticket price cost at its base is $40. A resale fee bumps the final price to $49, but an AXS convenience fee bumps it to $55.95.
With physical ticket options, the price will rise as high as $75.95 — nearly twice as much as the base price of the ticket itself.