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A first look at the booming market for scalpers outside the Barclays Center; arena staffer says it's "impossible to regulate" counterfeit tickets (really?)

The Fort Greene/Clinton Hill Local deserves credit for being the first, to my knowledge, to cover this phenomenon: Ticket Scalpers Shadow Barclays Center Events. After all, those of us wandering around the perimeter of the arena frequently get asked if we want to buy tickets, or have any extras to sell.

But I don't buy this passage:
Thanks to these online ticket vendors, [scalper] Lamar said he has been lucky just to get face value for most tickets, unless it’s a major game against the Miami Heat or New York Knicks. However, Justin Bieber and Jay-Z concert tickets can sell for an additional 10 to 20 percent on top of the original ticket price, he said.
Actually, online sites like StubHub are already selling tickets for many events well over face value.

Also, I don't think that, as described in the article, the resale market is the same as scalping. 

But let's hope others take a deeper look, especially since the police have recorded exactly two arrests.

A counterfeit tale

A reader, Scott Salmon, sent the following report:
I purchased the [Nets game] ticket on the corner of 5th Ave. and Flatbush from a scalper. The ticket appeared to be a real ticketmaster ticket (and was not one of those PDF computer print-outs). I was aware of the potential of a counterfeit ticket and asked the vendor to assure me it was real and he went into a 5 minute tirade about how he would never sell fake tickets and assured me it was legitimate.
I went up to the gate and the ticket would not scan. They referred me to the customer service line. After waiting about 5 minutes, I spoke to a rep at the window. He took the ticket and they tried to scan it on one of their scanners and it again failed. The rep showed it to his supervisor who seemed to be able to confirm visually that the ticket was a fake. The supervisor did not come to the window to address me personally. I was told by the rep that they had to confiscate the ticket but they offered to give me a photocopy of the ticket which I declined.
They then offered me an available ticket for that night's game for the price of $80. I declined. I asked them if they were making any effort to curb the practice of counterfeit tickets and the rep said it was "impossible to regulate". I did not follow-up with any police officers and I was unable to locate the guy who sold me the ticket.
It may not be easy to regulate, but it's not "impossible to regulate." I suspect that some undercover buyers would cut down on this.

According to, New York has numerous laws that regulate re-selling, including license requirements, a prohibition on resale within 1500 feet of a venue seating more than 5,000 people, and a guarantee of refunds if the ticket does not conform to its advertised description.


  1. MANY tickets are on resale sites like Stubhub are BELOW face value, less than what you'd pay directly to Ticketmaster.

    1. Upper deck seats on StubHub for tmrw night start at $34-38--well above face, right?

    2. Tomorrow night's game looks to be an outlier - most games start at $10 or $15. It varies wildly by opponent, though, as you'd expect.

      Meanwhile, a friend who lives near the arena who's been scoping out the scalper market reports that the best place to find scalped tickets looks to be "inside the subway station, at the base of the escalators, right in front of the cops."

  2. Anonymous10:07 AM

    Plenty of tickets on stubhub are listed at well over face value. That doesn't mean those tickets will ultimately sell at the asking price. There is a bit of adverse selection involved - tickets listed for less than face are more likely to get sold and are removed from the site at a quicker pace. Tickets selling for greater than face are less likely to get sold and then remain listed on the site for a longer time. In reality, there is no where to compare the ratio of tickets actually sold for less than face to tickets actially sold for more than face without access to stubhubs data. If you want to do a much deserved write up on ticket scalping or resale sites, look into the hurricane sandy benefit at MSG.

  3. One buys a ticket on the street at one's own (very high) risk. With the advent of StubHub and other online marketplaces, someone who sells his or her ticket electronically will still be in possession of the paper ticket -- which is an actual, real ticket, except it then sports a barcode that has been electronically voided. The only way one should even consider buying a ticket on the street is if the seller is willing to accompany the purchaser to the turnstile.

  4. Anonymous4:44 PM

    As a person who has scalped and been scalped...I feel your pain....although the characterization by the barclays staff that its impossible to regulate is an overstatement. The police and arena staff have protocols to stop and curb scalping surrounding the arena. You should have been advised to file a police report and the arena staff should have directed you to do so. I was taken for about $300.00 some time ago by a sophisticated scalping scam where tickets were almost indistinguishable from real ones. It took a specially trained eye to determine its illegitimacy. Although. I was out my money I did get satisfaction in knowing that my police report led to arrests and criminal fines for a third party printer who contracted with ticketmaster and illegally copied ticket templates. These operations are more sophisticated then ever and include elements of organized crime. In the future use stubhub or buy from sellers who are willing to walk to the gate with you. It may be still possible for you to file a police report and if so I would encourage you to do so. Good Luck


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