How To Buy Tickets on Ticketmaster Introduction:

Buying tickets on Ticketmaster isn’t rocket science, but when you’re racing against the clock and thousands of passionate fans and brokers are vying for the same tickets as you, knowing how to navigate the event page and conduct your search will give you a huge advantage. A little preparation (and practice) goes a long way in learning how to become a ticket broker.

First, let’s dissect the anatomy of the Ticketmaster event page and see how we can use the seating map, and search filters to our advantage to score better tickets.

To follow along with this tutorial, choose any event on Ticketmaster that’s already on sale. This will allow you to get familiar with the event page with no pressure or time restrictions.

First, a few things to consider:

  1. The event page is designed in a way that makes it extremely hard to automate your search, ie. use a ticket bot.
    1. A ticket bot is a computer program that uses illegal technology to unfairly buy blocks of tickets.
  2. Refreshing the page constantly is unnecessary and will get you temporarily blocked from searching tickets on Ticketmaster. The page will reload automatically when it’s time to buy tickets.

Ok, let’s jump and take a look at the information available to us on the event page:

The Ticketmaster Event Page

The Ticketmaster Event Page

Ticketmaster event info.

Event Basics

You can see this info on the top left corner of the screen. Click “More Info” to view the supporting acts and more.

  1. Name
  2. Venue
  3. City
  4. State
  5. Date/day of the week
  6. Supporting acts

Ticket Prices

You may notice that if the event is already on sale, a range of face value ticket prices is not available. Ticketmaster wants to keep you in the dark about how much face value tickets cost so you’ll be more enticed to buy Verified Fan Resale tickets at a markup.

This is where good note taking comes in for future research. Before tickets go on sale for an event, always write down the face value ticket prices for each section. This will help you price your tickets later on and calculate the markup and profit percentage, and analyze price breaks. Look for tickets close to a price break. A neighboring section could be much cheaper than the one beside it. Price breaks are important to be aware of.

Ticketmaster ticket limits.

Ticketmaster Ticket Limits

How many tickets are you allowed to buy for this event? Pay attention to the ticket limits, because if you go over, your order will be cancelled. This info is generally in the top right corner of the event page.

Ticketmaster Transfer Restrictions

Are there transfer restrictions on the event? Some high profile events won’t allow you to transfer tickets, rendering them much harder to sell. Confirm there are no restrictions before investing. This information is available in the top right corner of the screen. If you don’t see any restrictions, then you’re good to go!

Interactive Seating Chart

Ticketmaster’s interactive seating chart allows you to see at a glance how many tickets are available. By zooming in you can get a detailed view of exactly what tickets are available and what types of tickets they are.

Use your mouse and scroll wheel to pan, zoom in and zoom out of the seating chart, or use the +/- buttons on the right.

What Do The Different Colored Sections In The Seating Chart Mean?

  1. Darker colored sections indicate more tickets are available.
  2. Lighter colored sections indicate less tickets are available.
  3. Greyed out sections indicate no tickets are available.
Zoomed in view of the Ticketmaster seating chart to select your seats.

Zoomed in view of the Ticketmaster seating chart to select your seats.

What Do The Different Colored Dots (Seats) On The Seating Chart Mean?

  1. Blue, solid: Standard price tickets (face value) are available.
  2. Blue, light: Standard price tickets are available, but don’t match your search criteria. Clear your search filters to make these available.
  3. Blue, locked: Presale code required. You’ll need to unlock the presale with the correct code to access these.
  4. Blue, accessible: Wheelchair accessible standard price tickets are available.
  5. Pink arrows, solid: Verified resale tickets (secondary market prices) are available.
  6. Pink arrows, light: Verified resale tickets (secondary market prices) are available, but don’t match your search criteria. Clear your search filters to make these available.
  7. Yellow star: VIP package tickets. These are premium tickets that may dynamically change price based on demand.
  8. Green checkmark: Your selected seat(s).
  9. Light grey: Tickets not available and/or sold.

Different Types of Event Seating (Know Your Venue)

  1. Lawn seating: Grass seating at the very back of the venue. General admission, first come first serve seating. Attendees may bring their own chairs or rent them from the venue.
  2. General admission: First come, first serve entrance, standing room tickets near the front of the stage. Things can get wild here.

Warning: Both lawn and general admission seats are highly sensitive to price undercutting on the secondary market because everyone has the same ticket.

  1. Pit: The pit is a standing room only area closest to the stage. These tickets are unreserved, and can get pretty wild if there is a mosh pit!
  2. Floor/Orchestra: Reserved Seats on the floor. Seating is not tiered, so the closer to the stage, the better.
  3. Lower bowl/Mezzanine: Lower bowl seats are reserved seats off the floor. These seats offer a slightly elevated view of the stage.
  4. Upper bowl/Mezzanine: Upper bowl seats are reserved seats in the upper concourse. These seats offer an elevated view of the stage.
  5. Other venue features listed on the seating chart:
    1. Mix: This is the sound booth generally at the back of the floor. All of the event’s sound production happens here and is the best seat in the house for acoustics. However, be aware that seats near the mix booth don’t have obstructed views.
    2. Stage/performance area: Where the action happens obviously!

Know The Venue

Get the Venue Capacity

A quick Google search can go a long way. You can always find the venue capacity by doing a quick search “{insert venue name} capacity”. This is important if you’re reselling tickets so make sure to document it in your notes. You’ll be able to better judge the demand for tickets by knowing the venue size and comparing it to other tour stops and/or similar artists.

Location, Location, Location

  1. Is it an outdoor or indoor venue? Will there be covered seating if it’s outdoors? Covered seating will be more desired as attendees won’t have to worry about the weather.
  2. Is it in a big city or a small town? Big cities will have lots of transportation (subway/train, Uber etc.) and can handle the volume for a big concert. However, if a big act comes to a small town, hailing an Uber,  or even trying to find parking and booking a hotel can turn into a nightmare.

Do your research and plan accordingly!

Ticket Onsale Times

Ticket onsale times are visible before the presale and general sales go on sale, but are removed after all presales and the general onsale have started.

I’d strongly recommend writing down the onsale times before the event goes on sale for good record keeping/research purposes/future reference. It can be very useful to check back on how tickets are selling and know how long they’ve been on sale for if you are reselling.

Search Filters

There are several search filters you can use to narrow down your ticket search:

  1. Quantity: Use the +/- buttons to search for different quantities of tickets. Most people search for 2 tickets at a time, but Ticketmaster’s algorithm is designed to not leave single seats open. Searching for different quantities of tickets instead may improve your odds. Try in combinations of 3,4 or 5.
  2. Price slider: The price slider includes Verified Resale Tickets by default, which is why you might see some crazy high prices on the slider. Sometimes it’s useful to search by price if you know the price breaks for each section. Again, this is why it’s important to document the face value ticket prices before tickets go on sale.
  3. Ticket/presale type: You can filter by ticket type or presale. I always like to uncheck “Verified Resale Tickets” from my search because I’m not interested in buying tickets that have already been marked up.
  4. Wheelchair Accessible: You can toggle wheelchair accessible and companion seats on and off.
  5. Lowest price: By default the “Quick Picks” pane on the right side of the screen will show lowest priced tickets first. This is helpful to see ticket prices at a glance.
  6. Best seats: This is just another word for “highest priced” seats. Another good way to see ticket prices at a glance, but in reverse.
  7. Section: Click on a section on the seating map to zoom in and see tickets available in that section.

Presales on Ticketmaster

What is a presale?

A presale happens before tickets go on sale to the general public. They are a specific block of tickets reserved for those with a presale password. Most presale passwords require a generic presale code, such as those put on by credit card companies, radio stations, venues and some artist presales.

Other presales are harder to access and require a one-time only presale code. These types of presales can be for paying fan club members, or a ticket lottery for high profile events.

Having a presale password does not guarantee you tickets, it only allows you to unlock that presale and have a chance to buy those tickets before the general public. Keep in mind that if it’s a generic presale code, you’ll be racing against other fans and brokers to buy tickets, the same way you would during a general onsale.

Presale Onsale Dates and Times

Presale dates and times are listed on the Ticketmaster event page before they go onsale. It’s common to see several different types of presales. If you have the presale codes for one or more of them, you can unlock them all and improve your chances to get tickets.

Where Do I Find Presale Passwords?

If you’re super eager to find presale passwords, consider signing up for as many email mailing lists as you can for fan clubs, teams, radio stations, and venues.

Chase, American Express, Citi Mastercard, and Visa commonly hold presales for their cardmembers as well. They require a generic presale code, but you must pay for the order with the appropriate credit card. I’d strongly recommend applying for these cards to take advantage of their presales as they commonly set aside a decent block of tickets.

If you’re overwhelmed with the shear amount of information you’d need to signup for to access all the available presale codes, you might want to try these services:

Find Presale Passwords at TM Presale

You can get a VIP membership with TM Presale for $19.95/mo. A comprehensive list of presale passwords is posted daily.

Unlock a Database of Tickets Going on Sale Soon at Box Office Fox

You can step it up a notch and sign up with Box Office Fox for $59.95/mo and receive the same presale passwords, plus an onsale database of tickets going on sale soon, complete with venue capacities, ticket prices, and the ability to refine and sort your search based on:

  1. Onsale date
  2. Presale date
  3. Event type
  4. Event name
  5. Venue
  6. City
  7. Presales
  8. Onsales

Common Presale Passwords

Here’s a list of commonly used presale codes to help you out during the next presale.

  1. American Express presale code: 8778770987
  2. Citi Mastercard presale code: 412800
  3. Chase presale code: 541712
  4. Livenation presale code: SINGLE
  5. Livenation mobile app presale code: COVERT
Types of tickets on Ticketmaster.

Types of tickets on Ticketmaster.

Types of Tickets

Standard Price Ticket

Standard price tickets, also called face value tickets are what we’re after! Consider these “wholesale” prices, straight from the source, ie Ticketmaster. As mentioned before, face value ticket prices are listed before tickets go on sale, so take note and write them down before they vanish.

Verified Resale Ticket

These tickets are being resold at secondary market prices. Avoid these if you’re looking to resell tickets. Face value and verified resale tickets show up on the same seating chart on the event page by default. This is great for sellers, but not great if you’re looking to buy tickets.

Presale Tickets

Presale tickets are specific blocks of tickets that are available with a presale code before the general onsale. See above for more info on presales and presale passwords.

Accessible Tickets

These are wheelchair accessible and companion seats. Fans looking for accessible seating at a concert may already face additional challenges in their daily life, things that able-bodied fans take for granted. I would not recommend buying these tickets for resale.

Platinum Tickets

Platinum tickets are the best seats in the house, but dynamically priced. The price fluctuates based on demand, much like how plane tickets are sold. These are still considered face value tickets, as they are being sold for the first time, however, they generally sold at an inflated price.

Ticketmaster and the artist know these are hot seats, so are brokering their own tickets and taking profit margins away from the secondary market.

Steer clear of Platinum tickets for resale. Platinum is just a fancy marketing term to disguise these tickets as face value when they’re not.

VIP Packages

Are VIP Package Tickets worth it for resale? Generally, no. Usually there are purchase restrictions on these types of tickets. The purchaser must bring matching ID to the event. The purchaser’s name must match the ID, otherwise they will be turned away.

VIP Experience ticket prices are inflated and hard to resell at a profit.

VIP Experiences vary by performance and artist. You can always click on the VIP seat in the seating chart on the event page to learn more. Here are some things that might be included:

  1. Premium seats close to the stage.
  2. Collectible gift or concert merchandise (possibly autographed)
  3. A backstage experience
  4. A chance to meet the performer.
  5. Photo opportunities.
  6. Skip the lineup with VIP entrance into the venue.
  7. Early access to the venue.
  8. Laminated concert ticket.
  9. On-site concierge staff.

Lawn 4-Pack

Sometimes lawn tickets are sold as 4-packs for a slight discount. The price listed is per ticket, not for all 4!

The “Quick Picks” Panel

This is the list of tickets available for sale on the right-hand side of the screen. Hover over a ticket to view it on the seating chart. Click on a ticket to select it and get more information about its location (ie reserved seating, covered, aisle, etc).

Each ticket will include detailed information such as:

  1. Section
  2. Row
  3. Seat
  4. Type of ticket
  5. Price (if available for purchase).
    1. Prices do not include taxes/fees at this point.
  6. Type of presale (if applicable)
  7. A lock/unlock icon depending on whether you’ve entered the presale password.
  8. An unlock button if you haven’t entered the presale password to unlock the presale.

Now that we’ve gone over the Event Page in detail, it’s time to select some tickets (any ones will do if you’re following along), and click “Get Tickets” and proceed to the next step.

Sit tight, we’re securing your Verified Tickets…

That’s it for Part 1 of our series: How to Become a Ticket Broker: Tips and Tricks for Buying Tickets on Ticketmaster.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where we talk about some tips and tricks for the Checkout Confirmation Screen, another step in the ticket buying process on Ticketmaster.

Continue to Part 2