The Best Ticket Sites
Ultimate Buyers Guide

Best Ticket Sites for 2017

The best ticket sites have revolutionized the way we think about attending concerts, sports events and practically any other event that charges an admission fee. No longer must you wait in box office lines for hours on end, just to find out that the section you wanted is sold out.

In my research, I looked at the best online ticket sites that were user-friendly, convenient, and hassle-free. I've reviewed some of the best ticket websites that make it a snap to never miss your favorite events ever again.

Best Ticket Sites: What to Consider

Bear in mind the following considerations when selecting a concert ticket website:

1. Ease of Use

How user-friendly is the site? Is it inundated with ads and promotional banners which redirect you to external pages? It's always good to measure its general friendliness, including the ability to search for events and tickets either by city or venue.

2. Seating Charts

Many ticket sites have an interactive seating chart, which is a great feature to gauge where the seats are in relation to the main stage. So many times consumers purchase seats, not knowing exactly where they're located, only to realize when they arrive at the amphitheater or stadium that they don't have a good view. Avoid the temptation to pick the cheapest seats without first clicking on the interactive seating chart.

3. Service Fees and Pricing

In exchange for the convenience of purchasing your tickets online, these sites usually charge a service fee. Standard fees can start at 10 percent and range up to 25 percent or more. Other fees may include shipping (to receive the tickets at your physical address), Will Call fees, and resell fees.

4. Site Security/Privacy

The site's security and privacy policy are very important factors. Anytime you submit your credit card information or personal details online it's crucial you check the retailer's security features.

The site's security and privacy policy are very important factors.

What Is an E-Ticket?

An e-ticket, otherwise known as an electronic ticket, is a digital ticket. Though it is mostly associated with airlines, e-tickets can also apply to concert venues, sports arenas, and even Broadway musicals. Since the advent of the online ticket market, demand for tickets, in general, has only grown. Concert ticket sales revenue has exponentially increased from $1.1 billion in 1990 to $6.9 billion in 2013."

What Are Resale Tickets?

Just like e-tickets, resale tickets have their own place in the virtual world. Resale tickets are simply tickets that have been purchased from a licensed seller and then sold for a price determined by the new seller. These prices are typically higher than the face value of the ticket. But are resale tickets safe?

Certain venues for resale tickets are completely safe, but others may not be so trustworthy. Secure sites like Ticketmaster will verify and reissue every ticket sold by fans. Just be wary when a resale ticket is not from a trusted vendor. Unfortunately, resale tickets often fall into the virtual hands of bots, known for grabbing tickets within seconds of the sale going live. According to Money Inc., it is presumed that bots account for roughly 90 percent of traffic and 60 percent of total ticket sales on Ticketmaster alone.

Best Ticket Sites: The Pros and Cons

E-tickets and the sites that sell these tickets prove to be of great benefit for the consumer, but unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks. Here are the benefits and downfalls of ticket sites.

The Pros of Ticket Sites

  1. Convenience - This the main reason why people prefer to purchase tickets online. Ticket sites provide what people desire most - convenience. Who wants to wait in lines for hours? Before the advent of online ticket sites, people either had to wait a good while in line, purchase from local scalpers at ridiculous prices or hopefully win them in a contest. Buying tickets online is a way for buyers to eliminate the time wasted in lines, which would otherwise be spent on relaxing or being productive.
  2. Pricing - Online ticket shopping allows you to explore more than one venue in search for the best deals. And saving money is always a good thing, isn't it?
  3. Ease of Cancellation - Cancelling tickets is easy to do online. In the case that you cannot make an event, you can always cancel the ticket with a few clicks of a button.
  4. Security With Resale - Most people can be skeptical of the idea of resale tickets existing on online ticket venues. Fortunately, many sites, like Ticketmaster, verify the ticket before allowing them to be resold.

The Cons of Ticket Sites

Bots - Unfortunately, what comes with online ticket selling comes bots. According to NPR, tickets for the most popular events are becoming more difficult to find thanks to abusive vendors who implements software (known as "bots") that will snatch tickets immediately. In one particular case, one vendor was able to purchase 1,012 tickets for a U2 concert at Madison Square Garden literally a minute after the sale went live, despite the fact that the venue allowed only four seats per customer.

It is presumed that bots account for roughly 90 percent of traffic and 60 percent of total ticket sales

Ease of Scalping - This ties in with bots. Scalping is the act of buying tickets and reselling them for sky high prices. This action tends to upset buyers, for a completely good reason - no one wants to spend more than the face value of a ticket. Bots usually swipe a good amount of tickets, providing the vendor the opportunity to resell for a hefty profit. NPR's report mentions that one unlicensed ticket vendor sold nearly $31 million worth of tickets on StubHub in 2013, clearing a profit of a whopping $16 million.

The Best Ticket Websites

Ticketmaster Review

  • Pros
  • Purchase tickets at face value
  • Full refund within 72 hours
  • Fan Guarantee
  • Primary distributor
  • Range of retail partners
  • Cons
  • Service fees vary

Anyone who has ever searched for tickets online has likely heard of Ticketmaster. In 2010, Live Nation and Ticketmaster joined forces to create Live Nation Entertainment. Thanks to the formation of this partnership, Ticketmaster is able to offer an enormous selection of event tickets for venues across the country.

Organized by calendar days, Ticketmaster allows you to shop for a show by location, artist, venue or category. Since it's not considered a secondary market site, you do have to jump on the tickets fast because popular events often sell out in the first few minutes. However, since that's the case, you won't have to pay more than face value, which is a distinct possibility with other ticket sites.

Ticketmaster's Fan Guarantee is pretty easy to understand. They sell 100% official tickets, which means that every ticket sold is verified and checked for its authenticity. If you buy a ticket from another fan, then Ticketmaster will reissue a new one instead of sending you their old one.

In the event that you want to purchase your ticket in person, the company has a list of retail partners which include Publix, Walmart, Kroger, and more. You have a total of three days from the time of purchase to receive a full refund if you change your mind about an event.

Be aware that the service fee does vary depending on your purchase so don't count on a flat service fee. I really like the fact that Ticketmaster has a mobile app to make purchasing tickets on-the-go easy. Plus, their customer guarantee offers a little peace-of-mind in a world of uncertainty.

Vivid Seats Review

  • Pros
  • Search by city, date, or venue
  • 100% buyer guarantee
  • Secondary ticket marketplace
  • Customer service available by phone, email or chat
  • Certified privacy seal
  • Cons
  • Doesn't display seat numbers upon purchase
  • Service fees vary

Vividseats.com is your one-stop-shop for event tickets from those must-see bands, artists, teams, orchestras, and productions. This site acts as a marketplace so the tickets you pick have already been purchased once before - either by an event fan or a ticket broker. The great thing about the marketplace is that it allows you to find tickets for even sold-out events. You can quickly search for the event of your choice by selecting the city, date or artist. Once you find the event you'd like to attend, you can browse the interactive seating chart to identify a suitable section.

A service fee does apply to tickets purchased through the site. This fee covers the cost of operations including finding and listing the tickets, staffing the customer call center, maintaining the website and coordinating the delivery of tickets.

What some customers find unusual is that the total price charged by Vivid Seats may be higher or lower than the cost printed on the actual tickets. According to the website, this occurs because they sell tickets from a network of resellers who price the tickets based on their current market value, not necessarily the amount printed on the face of the ticket. So for example, if an event is in especially high demand and seats are almost sold out, you may end up paying a higher per-ticket price.

The site does charge a 10 percent commission fee for individuals selling their private tickets. However, this is on the lower end of the commission scale.

Ticket Liquidator Review

  • Pros
  • 125% Money Back Guarantee
  • Range of events available
  • Interactive seating chart
  • Secure purchasing platform
  • Order by phone or online
  • Cons
  • Slightly higher service fee

Ticket Liquidator functions as a marketplace for buyers and sellers to offer cheap concert tickets, as well as cheap sports tickets and cheap theater event tickets. This site lists event tickets that come from certified companies and trusted professionals, whose identities are revealed upon purchase. This type of transparency allows customers to know exactly who they're dealing with. Furthermore, they have someone to accept accountability if they are not completely satisfied with their order.

On that note, Ticket Liquidator upholds a worry-free guarantee. This 125% Money-Back Guarantee applies if your order is not delivered by the seller with whom you made the transaction with. It also applies if the order is shipped but doesn't arrive in time for your event or if you are completely denied entry into the venue because the tickets are not valid. You'll also receive your money back if the event is canceled with no intended reschedule date.

To start your event ticket search, you can browse by state, artists, or team. These convenient filter tools help you quickly zero in on the event and venue you'd like to attend. The site charges a higher service fee (25 percent of the ticket price) than some of our other providers, which is a big drawback. A delivery fee will also apply to your purchase; however, this tends to be standard with all online purchases.

On the other hand, if you are interested in selling your event tickets, the process is a little different. You can begin by creating your free account and filling out your personal details. From there, your tickets will be displayed on over 400 sites in a number of languages including German, French, and Spanish. When your tickets are sold, Ticket Liquidator will take a 10 percent commission fee.

I really appreciate how easy it is to navigate this site, whether you're buying or selling tickets! On-time delivery is guaranteed, you have a range of games, shows, and events at your fingertips and every transaction is backed by the 125% Money-Back Guarantee. It doesn't get much better than that!

TicketNetwork Review

  • Pros
  • 125% satisfaction guarantee
  • Google Wallet accepted
  • Email alerts and discounts
  • Free shipping on qualifying orders
  • Free to create account
  • Cons
  • Some negative reviews with customer service

TicketNetwork delivers the tickets you want, when you want them, and at great prices. Structured much in the same way as the other providers, with a search bar at the top of the page followed by main categories, this website is designed in an easy to read layout with minimal ad interruptions.

When you land on the homepage, what immediately stands out is their free standard shipping offer. Orders over $150 qualify for this promotion which is a nice value. Below that offer is a list of the top-selling concerts, Broadway shows, and sports events. Some of these events include popular shows like Hamilton and The Lion King.

There's an extensive list of offerings, to say the least. Creating an account is absolutely free and you'll receive exclusive offers, event alerts, and discounts when you provide an email address.

With any ticket purchase made on the site, you can rest easy knowing that they honor a 125% satisfaction guarantee. Throughout my research, I stumbled across some less-than-pleasant customer reviews, however. Many of them mentioned issues with customer service agents on the phone. While I don't know the extent to which these issues were resolved, I would like to note that there have been many satisfied buyers.

TicketNetwork boasts many features we find commendable. It has a secure and safe platform to shop on, offers an interactive seating map, honors a 125% satisfaction guarantee and even runs promotional offers like free shipping. Overall, the positive aspects of the site outweigh the occasional negative reviews.

StubHub Review

  • Pros
  • Exceptional customer service
  • Fast shipping
  • A wide selection of tickets
  • Easy-to-use site
  • Secure reselling
  • Cons
  • Buying fee is 10 percent
  • High shipping fees
  • No returns or refunds unless event is canceled

StubHub, which is owned by eBay, is my last pick, but that doesn't mean it's a bad pick. The site offers a great selection of events to choose from. If you plan on purchasing from the site, please note that the service charges you for everything all at once, including buyer fees, so expect your ticket price to be a lot higher by the time you check out. The good news is that there are several options of obtaining your ticket when you purchase from StubHub: e-mail of a PDF, physical delivery, Will Call, or pick up at a ticket center.

What makes StubHub tempting to use, besides its convenience, is its rewards program. For every eligible ticket purchase you make via StubHub, you'll receive credit that can be converted into a Rewards FanCode. That being said, the rewards expire six months after earning them, so the program is best for those who are frequent event attendees.

As for convenience, you can search for events by genres, artists, teams, or venues or simply browse through events. Better yet, you can also filter tickets by price, row, number of tickets, and delivery. Like the other best ticket sites available, interactive seating is available to help you select the best seating.

Like other ticket services, security is important. StubHub is very helpful, offering many options to contact its support services, whether via FAQ, live chat, email, or phone. It's also important to highlight that StubHub doesn't sell its own tickets but instead deals with third-party sellers and buyers.

In case you're wondering if StubHub is safe, the service offers a FanProtect Guarantee, which provides the buyer with a peace of mind that every ticket sold is legitimate. The big drawback of StubHub is that it doesn't offer refunds, but it will allow you to sell your ticket. For every ticket sold, StubHub will charge a 15 percent commission fee.

Overall, StubHub is a great option for ticket resale, offering prices in an all-in-one package. Just be confident in your purchase, as they don't offer refunds.

How to Get Cheap Broadway Tickets

Let's face it,even though you can nab tickets for any show with the best online ticket sites, sometimes Broadway tickets are hard to come by. Even worse, they can be quite expensive, especially in the hands of scalpers. Hamilton, for example, is known to be Broadway's most expensive show of all time, with the average ticket price being around $1,200.

So how can you purchase discount Broadway tickets?

Though the best ticket sites can give you some good deals on Broadway tickets, you may find deeper deals and discount codes on sites such as the following:

  • BroadwayBox
  • Broadway Insider
  • Entertainment-Link
  • NyTix

Sometimes the internet isn't the best option to obtain cheap Broadway tickets. You can always take the classic route - going to the Theatre Development Fund's TKTS Booth, located in Duffy Square at 47th Street and Broadway, on the day of the show. The largest Broadway names are on sale there often, sometimes at 50 percent off. For added convenience, you can always check out the official TKTS Live website or app to see what is available.

Unfortunately, tickets could always sell out beforehand, making the trip to Broadway essentially pointless. Not only that, but it requires a lengthy wait in line.

That being said, you could always become a member of the Theatre Development Fund, which can save you up to 70 percent off of Broadway ticket prices. Unfortunately, there are limits to the eligibility, but most people are eligible. On top of that, you'll gain some additional privileges, such as discounts on food and drink.

How I Found the Best Ticket Sites

Searching for and selecting the best ticket sites is no simple task. There is much to analyze in a site. So how did I put the list together? Well, here is the method to my madness:

First, I compiled a list of sites with help from Google.

Second, I eliminated the sites based on certain criteria such as site friendliness, customer service and support, pricing, features, event offerings, and security. I also had to ask myself the following questions to help whittle down my selection:

  • What is the best site to buy concert tickets?
  • What is the best place to sell tickets?
  • Where can one find the best sports tickets sites?
  • Where can one find cheap concert tickets?
  • Where can one buy cheap NBA tickets?

These questions certainly played a role in my decision.

Finally, I ordered the top five sites by events available, pricing, and more. Ticketmaster came out on top, with its security, customer service support, and the pricing.

Best Ticket Sites Recap

There's no better way to purchase tickets for your favorite band, or musician, sports team, or Broadway musical than through a concert ticket website. These places can help you find nearly any performer and usually at a better price than box offices or ticket venues. Always check what the service fee (before handing over your payment information) as well as their satisfaction guarantee.

If you're planning on attending upcoming events with a camera in hand, why not look into enhancing the quality of your fresh photos with some editing software? Be sure to check out our review of the best photo editing software.

If you're traveling far away to see your event, you might consider staying for a few days at a hotel. To save money while finding the best deals, take a look at our guide to the best hotel booking sites. Planning on flying there? Check out our review of the best flight search engines.

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