Best Ticketing Platforms

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Wes R. Kasik

Updated Nov 13, 2018

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Best for Sports

SeatGeek

Best for Smaller Events

Eventbrite

Best for Concerts

Ticketmaster

Best for Peer to Peer Tickets

Stubhub

The List Of The Best Ticket Platforms Of 2018

6 Ticket Platforms Considered 6 Top Picks
Name Rating Fees Transfer Policy Events
SeatGeek Buying fee averages 25%
Selling fee=15%
Delivery fee varies
Allowed Sports
Live music
Comedy
Theatre
Secondary ticket market
Eventbrite Buying fee varies
Selling fee=2.5% + $.99
Fee cap=$19.95
Varies Conferences
Food festivals
Local music and sports
Ticketmaster Buying fee averages 19% Allowed Big ticket live music
Professional sports
High profile tours and speakers
Stubhub Buying fee averages 25%
Selling fee=15%
Delivery fee varies
Not allowed Secondary ticket market
Vivid Seats Selling fee=15%
Buying fee varies between 20-40%
Delivery fee varies
“Flash Seats” app to transfer Secondary ticket market
Resident Advisor Set per event Allowed via email Dance music

Intro

Gone are the days of visiting a box office to secure entry to an upcoming concert or sporting event, mostly. In a day and age where most of us are comfortable paying a little extra for just about any level of convenience, online ticketing services are par for the course.

That isn’t to say that buyers have much of a choice in the platform presented to them for any given event. This decision is usually made in the months prior, as part of a larger collaboration between the talent, venue, and promotional teams. The differences do matter, though, when you’re browsing future dates without a specific event in mind. Either way, it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into when it comes time to enter your banking information and click buy.

While most platforms feature the same basic digital functionality, some are more buyer-friendly than others. In this post, we review some of the industry's most trusted buying and selling services, in addition to one you can use to host anything bigger than a barbeque. Although, if your barbecue does warrant one of the major league services, be sure to invite us!

Best for Sports

SeatGeek

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SeatGeek has one of the most polished digital box offices on the market. The site’s expansive sort and search tool pulls tickets from Elton John to John Elway... or his team anyway. The main ingredient to SeatGeek’s usefulness lies in the platform’s ability to scour other ticketing sites and integrate with them for available stubs. This gives you the ultimate power to find seats for the big game.

That third-party agility provides great value to a sporting world where buyers and sellers are accustomed to, well, unpredictable reselling terms. More than sports, you’ll find tickets to comedy shows, plays and musicals, speakers, and of course, chart topping music on SeatGeek’s secure user-friendly platform.

Pros

  • Account will show tickets from other vendors
  • Home page loads local events automatically
  • Ticket delivery options
  • Toggle fees on advertised price
  • List resales for free
  • Create a buyer account to save interests
  • Recommendations and price alerts

Cons

  • Fees can get heavy
  • No map integration
  • Very limited community-level selection
  • Mobile app has some limitations
  • No refunds

Best for Smaller Events

Eventbrite

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Eventbrite is a smaller name in the ticketing game that locally active folks may have come across in their weekend travels. It boasts the essential features needed to function in today’s digital space, including support and planning services if you need them. Transfer policies are set per event, providing valuable flexibility, and code for an embedded Eventbrite ticket widget is made available for use on websites and in press releases.

They don’t charge you to host free events, which is a common theme for most second-tier ticketing platforms. Eventbrite, though, offers the most complete package of professionalism, functionality, and security, of the bunch.

Pros

  • 24/7 access to data analytics and reporting
  • Mobile optimized environment
  • Ticket widget
  • Mobile management for day-of
  • Built-in social sharing and invitations
  • Audience targeting tools

Cons

  • Fee structure may not be ideal for local paid events
  • Requires tech savvy planner
  • Designs and layouts aren’t full customizable

Best for Concerts

Ticketmaster

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Ticketmaster is and has been the undisputed king of digital ticketing services. Its merger with Live Nation about a decade ago, granted the platform unique omnipotence over the domain of live music. You’d be hard pressed to find an even somewhat successful performer that hasn’t been featured in a Ticketmaster-partnered event. That kind of industry relevance comes hard-earned and well-deserved.

Buyers enjoy multiple ticket delivery options, wide-reaching and easily sorted event listings, and secure encrypted checkout. Select from a live seating chart or have Ticketmaster fetch the ‘best available’ tickets. In many respects, its feature set is the industry standard.

Pros

  • Multiple ticket delivery options
  • Mobile app
  • Interactive seating charts
  • Ticket insurance
  • Centralized transaction is more secure
  • Three day return policy
  • Encrypted transactions
  • No third-party sellers

Cons

  • Fees can get heavy
  • Events can sell out quickly
  • No refunds week of the event
  • Limited DIY hosting options
  • No reselling outside the platform
  • Corporate giant in a community driven market
  • Use typically comes with a wave of spammy promo emails

Best for Peer to Peer Tickets

Stubhub

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A branch of the E-Bay empire as of 2007, Stubhub also has the backing of corporate cyber security and identity protections. Its claimed a large piece of the digital ticketing pie by focusing on reselling, helping to legitimize, and cashing-in on, the online ticket scalping community.

The inherent risk with Stubhub doesn’t involve the platform itself. Ticket transactions are slightly more complicated when dealing with any third-party. That’s why Stubhub offers a FanProtect guarantee, ensuring refunds for any unfortunate invalid ticket purchases and for shows that are cancelled and not rescheduled. It’s as good as it gets for reselling, especially when some of the alternatives are a stairwell in the parking garage next to the venue and a Craigslist ad.

Pros

  • 24/7 live chat
  • Mobile app with price alerts
  • Free to list tickets
  • Sales assistance when needed
  • Charity payout options
  • Refund for invalid tickets
  • FanProtect guarantee
  • Fees included in advertised price
  • Ticket delivery options

Cons

  • Can’t view total available tickets
  • Pricing can be inconsistent
  • Very limited community-level selection
  • Tickets can be scarce for some events
  • Inherent risk of dealing with a third-party

Best Discount Tickets

Vivid Seats

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VividSeats is one of our favorites for two reasons. It’s a well executed platform, with just as diverse an event search feature as the major players, while also managing to offer lower prices in most cases. Like Stubhub, its sweet spot is the reselling market. And like their biggest competitor, they refund fraudulent tickets and try to secure replacements if they can. With lower web traffic, they can get away with undercutting the competition for some events.

That said, you’ll want to shop around to find the best price for any given show or game. Vivid Seats saves their fee surprises till the very end of the transaction, meaning that killer advertised price could potentially end up breaking your budget once all is said and done.

Pros

  • Powerful sorting and search feature
  • Great customer support
  • Ticket delivery options
  • Rewards program
  • Great for multiple seat buys
  • Mobile app
  • Professional and secure website
  • Fake ticket and cancellation refund guarantee

Cons

  • Fees aren’t added until checkout
  • Less traffic means less buyers
  • Fees can get heavy
  • Pricing can be inconsistent
  • Single tickets sometimes hard to find

Best for Dance Music

Resident Advisor

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Club gigs can provide some of the most convoluted ticketing experiences out there. Resident Advisor provides the closest thing to a one-stop-shop for dance music that you’ll find in the Western world. Browse tour dates of your favorite global DJ or host a local party of your own, Resident Advisor checks all the necessary boxes, carrying a gold-plated reputation in the music industry for professionalism and depth of coverage.

RA buyers can swiftly transfer tickets via email, fan-to-fan. Search by artist, city, or venue, and don’t miss exclusive festival partnerships for those fast-selling weekend passes. A clean and efficient web experience smoothes the process even further.

Pros

  • Professional and secure website
  • Vast European listings
  • Sales reporting tools
  • Trusting fan-to-fan community
  • RA Guide App and RA Ticket Scanner App
  • Accessible DIY event partnerships
  • Secure reselling option
  • Refund for cancellations
  • Excellent niche selection
  • Insider news coverage, reviews, and interviews

Cons

  • Limited to dance music
  • Fees are non-refundable
  • Fee total can be exorbitant in some cases
  • Website only available in English and Japanese

Buying Guide

Fees
Fees are an unfortunate side effect that shoppers have had to endure in parallel to the rise of online box offices. A reasonable advertised price can blow past your budget if you’re not careful to watch the fees that are applied in the buying process. Event organizers will usually have the option to pass these costs onto the customer at checkout or include them in the overall ticket cost.

Either way, they’re mostly unavoidable, especially for larger events, but some platforms will offer methods to slightly reduce the total. Plus, box offices aren’t completely dead! You can still skip all this fee nonsense at most small venues and local events by paying a visit in-person.

Ticket Transferring
The power to transfer a ticket to a complete stranger with the click of a mouse is a massive benefit. Unfortunately, not all events or platforms offer this feature due to security concerns or other market-specific limitations. Being aware of a platform’s transfer policy can make all the difference if you’re considering a hot ticket without assurance you’d be able to attend. On the flip side, knowing how locked-in you are with a buy can motivate you to double check dates and availability before confirming a purchase.

Security
As with any online transaction, security of your banking and personal information is of utmost importance when buying concert tickets. The platforms we’ve listed above check-out in this regard, but you should still be wary to confirm trademarks, proper legal call outs, and other legitimizing factors and features when making your way through a purchase.

Insurance
Ticket insurance is sometimes made available for high-end events for an added fee. Once again, if you’re not one-hundred percent assured you can make said event, insurance, or the ability to transfer, will be a key determining factor.

About the Author

Wes R. Kasik

Wes is a creator and consumer living in Southern California. He knows that the best things in life are free, but accepts that they're often better enjoyed with things that aren't. He can be found hiking a trail or lost in an Amazon cart near you.

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About the Author

Wes R. Kasik

Wes is a creator and consumer living in Southern California. He knows that the best things in life are free, but accepts that they're often better enjoyed with things that aren't. He can be found hiking a trail or lost in an Amazon cart near you.

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share this

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