Thursday, October 11, 2007

Boycott Higs Tickets

Word-of-Mouth is a powerful tool, especially on the blogesphere. So fellow bloggers, it's time to use that power and spread the word about Higs Tickets to our readers.

Let me take a step back.

The subject of ticket scalping isn't a new one. As long as there is a demand for a product (Red Sox Tickets) there will be someone out there trying to capitalize on that demand. This is something we, as fans, all understand. Sometimes there is a game which really is important enough to spend the rent money on and there is no other option other than to visit your local scalper. What? I'm not the only one who's done it! Plus, I used MLB's preferred scalper so it was ok, right? Other times you can't help but feel disgusted during a game in which you emptied your savings just to see the home team lose. But, hey, scalpers are people too and they're just trying to earn a (dis)honest living like the rest of us. *snort*

Sure I get annoyed at the nasty old b@stard outside of the park trying to rip me off on a pair of tickets, but what annoys me more are these companies (StubHub, Ace Tickets, Higs Tickets, just to name a few) whose business it is to do nothing but scalp tickets, AT RIDICULOUS prices! I have often wondered how they can get away with this and today I was pointed to a blog post by Sean Caulfield at RedSoxSuperFan.com and I found the answer. He wrote:

The fact that the state (MA Dept. of Public Safety) lets them get away with it that pisses me off too, as detailed in this report by Boston.com report (State Sets Rare Anti Scalping Hearing).

According to the article, “the state’s anti-scalping law, which dates to 1924, doesn’t prohibit ticket purchases above face value, but it requires anyone in the business of reselling tickets in Massachusetts to obtain a license from Public Safety and limits markups to $2 above face value plus certain service charges. Public Safety has never disciplined or audited the books of any of the ticket resellers it licenses.”

The city of Boston more often or not arrested these guys up until 5 years ago, when they stopped because the police had to relocate resources for bigger things to worry about (like murder). Even my father, who has been a Boston cop for 27 years, often said that “the only reason we arrested these guys wasn’t for the ticket scalping, but it was because we knew they were such lowlifes they would often have contraband like cocaine/heroin, stolen items, and even weapons on them as well.”

You know why this pisses me off more than words? This season they have supposedly "cracked down" on the scalping outside of Fenway Park. A friend of mine is a season ticket holder and he had two tickets to a game he wasn't interested in going to that night. When he got to the park the weather was bad, and he just didn't feel like sticking it out. The two tickets he had were $27 each. He found a guy who wanted to buy the tickets and said he'd give them to him for $30 - total. All of the sudden a second guy enters the picture and said "is he selling those tickets to you for $30 a piece?" and before my friend knows it he's being cuffed and read his rights. THEY ARRESTED HIM FOR SCALPING! Even if he was going to sell the tickets at $30 each, that is only $3 above face value which doesn't cover the fees he paid on them! Yet these "companies" are marking tickets up as much as 3,000x the face value of the ticket with no ramifications!

If you've stuck with me this long, I'm sure you're wondering why I titled this post "Boycott Higs Tickets" and have singled them out among the other scum, er, scalpers. Well here's the reason. An employee from Higs actually responded to RSSF post with this email:
I hope this email finds you, not well. I recently had your blog posting on RedSoxSuperFan.com forwarded to me and just got through reading your overly derogatory remarks regarding our operation here at Higs Tickets. I’m not sure why of all ticket scalpers you singled us out. Calling me brazzen? We facilitate dreams buddy. We sell to those who want and can afford. So f*** you, F*** your contributor Sean Caulfield, and f*** your blog, it sucks.

Best,
Jim

Say what?!?!

I find it amusing that a Higs employee felt the need to respond to a random blog posting. I mean honestly, if they were a company really interested in garnering more business in the Boston area and felt they HAD to respond to the blog post, I'm sure they would have responded in a way to defend what they do, not say "We sell to those who want and can afford. So f*** you, F*** your contributor Sean Caulfield, and f*** your blog, it sucks", right?

So while Higs continues to "facilitate dreams" to corporate clients, a bunch of asshats who really don't care about the Red Sox or the little suckers who spend their rent money on a pair of seats, the RSN blogesphere is going to facilitate our own dream and get the word out there about these jerks. Each time we buy tickets from someone like Higs we're driving the price on all tickets up for all Red Sox fans.

I'm not naive enough to think that buy a few of us posting, or reaching out to the local media that we're going to put these scalpers out of business. I also know that because Fenway Park is one of the smallest and we have one of the biggest fan bases there are still people out there who are going to pay whatever they have to in order to see a game.

So what can we do?

I'd like to offer a few suggestions on how to get Sox tickets at, or close to face value. I'm not gonna lie, it takes some work (maybe a little luck) and a bit of patience but it IS possible.

How to buy Red Sox tickets Legally
  1. There is a Scalp free Zone at Fenway, it's located at Gate B near the Ted Williams Statue. The Red Sox have done a HORRIBLE job at promoting this option. Season ticket holders are allowed to sell their tickets at face value in this area. If you buy them, you must enter the park immediately to ensure you're not going to turn around and sell them again.
  2. Red Sox Replay is an online interface which allows season ticket holders to resell their seats for games they are unable to attend. All tickets sold through Replay are at face value.
  3. Stop by the Fenway Ticket Office (in person) at a random time during the week. it is located at the corner of Brookline Avenue and Yawkey Way. They often have tickets for future games that are listed as sold out. I've had a few friends get great tickets this way, even to Yankees games!
  4. Go to the park the day of the game a few hours early (five hours is the earliest you are allowed to line up) and wait in line at the Ticket Window at Gate E for the day-of ticket sales. The tickets are usually standing room and scattered single seats.
  5. Sign up to be entered in every single Red Sox Lottery to buy tickets. It's annoying...if you win a shot at the lottery you still aren't guaranteed tickets, but through the lottery I've been able to sit on the Right Field Roof Deck AND I'm going to Game 6 of this years ALCS (if there is a game six) - so it works
  6. Try, try and try again the day tickets go on sale on RedSox.com
Remember, if you're buying tickets from a season ticket holder behave while you're in the park. You don't want them to lose their seats because you're being a jerk....UNLESS you got your tickets from Higs (StubHub, Ace Tickets, etc) because who really cares if they lose their seats.

Goodluck and Godspeed.

P.S. I am hereby pledging never to buy tickets from a broker again. There, happy?
P.P.S. Thank you to Derek at SawxBlog.com for bringing this to my attention!

13 comments:

Kelsdad said...

major league rules dictate a certain percentage of tickets be available for walkup sales at every game. A game announced as a sellout a week beforehand is technically true, all tickets they are allowed to sell have, this does not include the 2-3000 available for walkup.

Teams will also resell any will call tickets after, I believe, the top of the third inning. This includes any tickets pre-purchased by the public, and any team tickets not used. This includes tickets players have left for families/friends, and team or major league issued passes for executives, scouts, or otherwise another employees.

I have shown up at a game an hour beforehand, found nothing acceptable through the boxoffice, and ended up two rows behind the plate sitting next to the dude with the radar gun. So what I missed a couple innings?

The Pip said...

Maybe we should buy from those places and start a get kicked out campaign? Because I'm sure these corporate scalpers are selling there own season tickets...or they have deal selling an entire season's worth of someone's season tickets.

DNL said...

I have no problem with buying from "scalpers" and have done so many times. (One time, we arrived late, and the "scalpers" we met had good tickets and were hungry, so we gave them a slice of pizza each for tickets at 50% off face. Scalping indeed!)

As a general rule, though, I don't use online ticket resellers like StubHub, because the prices they charge are much higher than similar prices one would get from a random "scalper" guy at the stadium. But even if I did, I'd not use Higs after this -- if that's what they believe to be a fair reply, they're not worth doing business with.

EB said...

I think I rememeber seeing that Higs asshole walking up and down the sidewalk himself: "Tickets...need tickets, selling tickets?" I hate those guys.

Steel Town said...

I certainly don't have this problem with my Pirates her in Pittsburgh, But, I have never and definately will not use a broker for a number of reasons for Steelers or Pens tix. But now I have another reason to avoid these businesses.

Trizz said...

Most undercover cops usually try to make as much conversation to catch you a real scalper is real quick if u catch them making convo try to cancel the transaction n get away

Joel said...

All of these are great suggestions!!! You can also join Red Sox Nation and check the message board daily for "ticket drops." I have been to 20 games this year and the majority of those tickets I got through ticket drops posted on the RSN message board. A few day to a week before a game they will release a limited number of tickets to a game via the Internet or the phone IE. (877)REDSOX9. You usually have to wait on hold for 30 minutes, that's why I like to check the message board because there are people who will tell you what's available through what Avenue. The only option that won't be available next year is Red Sox Replay because MLB is now in Bed with Stubhub. Good luck on the ticket quest.

Anonymous said...

Kelsdad? I have no idea where you are getting your facts, or sell proclaimed facts that is from!? MLB has NOTHING to do with dictating how many tickets are sold game days (especially at Fenway). And reselling unused will call tickets? Are you high!?! So if a bus full of fans get stuck in traffic or breaks down and arrives at Fenway in the 4th inning looking to pick up the ticket bought and OWN, they are out of luck. DO NOT BELIEVE THIS FOR A MINUTE! The team has sold the ticket, and thats the end of it. If John Q doesnt show, so what. And if he does in the 8th innning, well here is YOUR ticket John Q. Proper business ops. Any ticket you buy out of a will call window I would question the persons ethics.
AND Unused tickets by the players, that are set aside and allocated FOR THEM, aprox 10 per player and coach, that go unused or really unSOLD to them end up at Gate E for sale to the general public who line up for them. And for whatever its worth the Gate E tickets are generally standing room and seats TOGETHER. Sure at the end of the night, they end up being singles but there is ALWAYS pairs within the 1st aprox 100 tickets. And the aprox 100 SRO. Avg about 250 per night total. Face value. All the other posted suggestions are very accurate and a very good way to get tickets. Most scalpers around the ballpark are drug addicts btw, I would NEVER trust them...or consider my mortgage / car insurance payments / bills more important than being AT the game..a bar room in the area is just as fun! peace

higstickets.com said...

Comments
Holy. Crap.
I will be reposting this on my blog, to get the word out, if you don't mind.

Posted by: SoxyLady | October 11, 2007 at 12:05 PM

Please do, I just sent you an e-mail too, I think we need to unite on this one, completely unprofessional on their part...

Posted by: Derek Hixon | October 11, 2007 at 12:07 PM

I agree, so much. But Derek, this is nothing new, is it? I go back way too many years! Peter

Posted by: Peter N. | October 11, 2007 at 12:29 PM

This is pretty ridiculous. I'd would love to see someone in the Globe or even better yet...Fox25 undercover or something lol... a hold of this stuff. Could be a pretty awesome article/story.

This schmuck is just lucky that it was a little blog running the story and not a massive media organization.

Posted by: Chuck | October 11, 2007 at 01:00 PM

Well that may change, I sent this out to a lot of blogs and major media...

Posted by: Derek Hixon | October 11, 2007 at 01:06 PM

I would recommend sending this to Fox, I watch their news getting ready in the morning, after work and at sometimes night. All day yesterday (and this morning) their poll question was "How much would you pay for tickets?" and ran several 5 minute stories about brokers and how much tickets were. You may want to check out myfoxboston.com and find the section on their website that talked about the tickets.

Posted by: Chuck | October 11, 2007 at 01:44 PM

Sent a link to the story to them....we'll see.

Posted by: Derek Hixon | October 11, 2007 at 02:05 PM

So long as there is a demand for tickets there will always be someone willing to sell them for a profit, no matter how much legal trouble they could get themselves into, I mean just look at drug dealers. (of course right now for ticket re-sellers there really appears to be no legal worry what so ever.)

Unfortunately this will never change and while it pisses me off to see tickets at 1000%+ mark up, if people are going to buy them what can you do. Maybe if the legal process got involved and capped ticket profits at 100% mark-up, then the most a $100 ticket could cost is $200. You are now not putting these hardworking scalpers out of business and you are allowing more "true" fans access. but who knows this city has more important things to do such as monitoring the Aqua Teen Hunger Force's infiltration into this cities core infrastructure.

The part of this that really annoyed me from a professional point of view is the attitude of one of Higs employees Jim. For one you are in a business that probably 90% of the populace considers shady, you need to have tougher skin and not strike back like a scared little child, I guess you skipped the part of pre-school where they taught you "sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me." It's ok little guy they are just words, but now here is where you screwed up quite badly, your clients are the public and you just did the most unprofessional thing an employee could do which was verbally attack (in writing no less) a potential client base.

Not sure what type of fallout will happen to poor Jim, a screw up like that in most lines of work result in someone looking for a new job, or in some sad companies a promotion. I don't fault Higs's company for re-selling tickets at an obscene cost, if it wasn't him it would be someone else, and I've seen his commercials.. look at all those happy smiling kids in the background who get to go to fenway and that's without tapping into their trust fund.

Posted by: da boss | October 11, 2007 at 02:17 PM

Well put boss.

If there's a demand, and if people are willing to pay, then people will be selling. There does have to be some sort of cap, and the people who sell tickets (some for the W.S. as you pointed out are going for over $15,000!!!) for an exorbitant profit can't feel that great about it.

There needs to be a legal cap to allow the people the right to attend events that are now very white collar.

Red Sox games aren't meant for just Senators and Business owners, it's also meant for the guys that build the buildings these people work in. The blue collar, the cranks, the fans. Not the Jake Gyllenhaal's of the world...

Posted by: Derek Hixon | October 11, 2007 at 02:29 PM

Thanks for the support, guys.

I have to say "da boss" made some excellent points. His post was articulate and further demonstrates my point in the initial writing about relating getting tickets from brokers is akin to a person's choice to gamble; and the fact that why they do is questionable, but not illegal or even wrong when it comes to our society....sort of like Rick Ankiel taking HGH before it was outlawed by MLB, or the fact people still celebrated Barry Bonds' record even after what was revealed about him. Its wasn't illegal to take at the time for both, but it still is shady (and cheating).

Actually, the whole ticket brokering thing is QUITE capitalistic and even somewhat American (although I'm talking bad American values here; the kind that made Bill Gates a gazillionaire)!

The thing that irks me the most (and it's not Baghdad Higs) is the fact that it seems as if the state wants nothing to do with helping consumers out and putting more pressure on the issue. The Pats have been doing their best with this, but understand the loopholes involved in the legislature as well as the strong lawyers on the other side (which are paid for by those who buy tickets on these sites).

Plus the fact that sporting event tickets are viewed as a luxury doesn't help the public cause either. We arn't talking about water or electricity, here. I don't even mind that white collar fans can get to the ballpark; I just want them to be paying EMC prices for EMC tickets, not EMC prices FOR grandstand seats. Because then it affects the price for the standing room/bleacher/pole in the face seat guy (i.e, us).

I wrote that article not only to point a little fun at the commerical (which is silly), but also the whole fiasco that is ticket "brokering".

And ticket reselling isn't even a totally bad thing, as evidenced by scalp-free zones as well by individual ppl over at the CL, even if its for a little profit.

Tickets in general need to regulated more so fans, blue and white collar, have a chance to get tickets at a REASONABLE price; don't sell tickets at 2625% more than what they should be. Plus, if you read the Boston.com article, when discussing the Green Monster ticket on the stand, one of the Higs people claimed it wasn't on them because they were just a "buffer" between the seller and the buyer. The guy claimed they didn't actually KNOW the seller.

Well if you claim to NOT know the seller, then how can you verify the validity of said ticket you are overselling? What if the ticket is fake, or stolen; and you don't offer a refund? Can we just sit there and let Red Sox consumers take eventual rollings for tickets? My friend's grandfather bought tickets from a scalper years ago to take us to a game and paid the price and embarrassment of learning the bad news. And it was a good thing he was with little kids, otherwise the Sox wouldn't have been as nice to us to still let us in the ballpark.

It's wrong and thats how I feel, and someone telling me to go F*ck myself won't change my view.

Posted by: Sean a.k.a Shizz | October 11, 2007 at 03:46 PM

Well said Sean.

Posted by: Peter N. | October 12, 2007 at 07:56 AM

Limited supply, Higher demand. Please check your basic supply and demand graph to find results. This is America not USSR, socialists. A ticket is a luxury item not a neccessity. Just as Nike sneakers are made for $2.00 and sold for $75-100. Think about your jobs, if yours paid 35K/year, then came time for a raise and your employer figured well his output isnt worth 35K, but 20K is, you would be angry. On the flip side, if you think your output is worth 55K, you would find an employer who agrees and hires you for that much. Now you are happy. Now apply that to tickets, a luxury item not a neccessity. If there are 31000 tickets available and 2 million people want to go, what do you think will happen. The people who are most willing to pay the highest to satisfy their wants will get the ticket. Look at oil, America, China, India love oil and will continue to buy it. As supply decreases, demand is still high, prices rise. Free Market Economics, a beautiful thing.

Posted by: This is America | October 24, 2007 at 01:52 PM

I am writing in response to an email from "Jim" at Higs Tickets. I am the owner of Higs Cityside Tickets and have never employed anyone named "Jim". No one from my office knew of this email nor of the blog until I brought it to their attention. It is unfortunate that this email was sent and that the sender lied about his affilitation with Higs Tickets. The only Jim that I know in this industry is the owner of Ace Ticket, which is a sponsor of your website. I feel confident that he would not send a bogus email but somedbody obviously did. I agree that there are some very "shady" characters in our industry. Higs Cityside Tickets' primary concern is customer service and satisfaction and we take pride in our company's reputation.

I, as well as many of you, am frustrated with the current laws being so outdated. This year we spent tens of thousands of dollars to succesfully represent ourselves in a frivolous lawsuit.

It is interesting to note that Higs Cityside Tickets(a company with four employees) is being compared to the likes of Stub Hub and Ace Ticket which employ over 2,500 & 75 employees, respectively. I believe this points to the fact that we have grown as a company due to, in part, our high rate of repeat customers.

I welcome any comments or questions and am easily accessible by email or phone 1-877-SOX-TIXX. I wish someone had called or emailed me to verify the source of the email before running it.

Sincerely,
John J. Higgins
Owner
Higs Cityside Tickets

Anonymous said...

This guy is a complete scumbag, hes ripped off lots of folks

Anonymous said...

This is really funny. I work in the ticket industry too. The only person who compares Higs to stubhub/acetickets is John Higs. Keep up the good work facilitating dreams!

CousinErin said...

How much do you wanna bet that the comment by "this is America" followed by the official "John J. Higgins" response is written by the same guy?
C'mon, John J. Higgins, we're not stupid. Saying how you really feel under an anonymous name of sorts and then following up with your official statement is not fooling anyone. You have no supporters, deal with it. You are a crook!

Jay Pinsonnault said...

I met John Higgins back in 2002 and have been going back to Higs Tickets, now Higs/Cityside Tickets ever since. I too have met some "shady" people in the ticket industry over the years and John and his staff couldnt be anymore the opposite of that. John, his brother Patrick and their staff have been nothing but professional and helpful when I want/need tickets to a pats/celts/sox game or a concert. In fact, I was in charge of getting auction items for a benefit golf tournament last summer and John donated two right field box seats to a game later that summer. I always refer my friends and colleagues to Higs/Cityside Tickets, and for those who have written negatively about him and his company truly dont know him.