52nd Annual CMA Awards - Show

Luke Bryan, from left, Luke Combs and Chris Janson perform at the 52nd annual CMA Awards last year. Combs will bring his "What You See is What You Get Tour" to Broadmoor World Arena April 19. Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Let’s say you want to hear Luke Combs sing “Beer Never Broke My Heart” at The Broadmoor World Arena in April and don’t have tickets.

Well, what I’m about to say might break your heart.

When tickets went on sale in September, you could snatch one for $25.

You’d have to pay about six times that now: $150 will get you some of the worst seats left in the house. Prices go up to $499.99 on AXS.com, the ticketing website used by the World Arena.

The price jump isn’t unique to the Luke Combs show or the World Arena. It’s, unfortunately, a common tale when it comes to buying concert tickets.

Here’s what happens.

First, the show sold out

Combs is probably having a bigger moment right now than any other country star.

Booking Combs’ What You See Is What You Get Tour — which features openers Ashley McBryde and Drew Parker — was a big get for the World Arena.

Sales reflected that. Tickets, originally set by the tour promoters at between $25 and $65, sold out in less than five minutes back in September.

When those roughly 8,000 tickets were purchased, they didn’t all go away forever. A portion showed up on the resale market.

The risky resale market

Search “Luke Combs in Colorado Springs” online and links will come up to third-party sites such as StubHub, VividSeats and SeatGeek. On Stubhub, for example, you could pay up to $697.50 for a ticket.

Should you buy from those or other sites? Probably not, says Kyle Hamman, director of ticketing at the World Arena. And not just to save your money.

“There’s no way for us to validate these tickets. There’s no way for us to track these tickets,” he said. “To us, these are the sites we don’t want people to go to.”

At least once or twice per event, the World Arena has to turn someone away because they bought a phony ticket.

And if the show gets postponed or canceled?

“Luke Combs hopefully never gets sick, but if he were to and you bought through StubHub, you might not get your money back,” Hamman said.

He says your safest bet is AXS.com, which has its own resale program. Prices, determined by the seller, are still really high. But you can trust them.

“People are going to resell tickets regardless, so we’re trying to provide a safe and secure outlet,” Hamman said.

‘It’s frustrating’

Part of Hamman’s job is to scope out online scalpers. He calls it a “constant struggle.”

“It’s a battle everywhere, not just our venue,” he said. “It’s tough to determine, but some people definitely buy with the plan to sell them at a higher price. It’s frustrating that people take advantage of the system.”

As Denise Abbott, the venue’s director of marketing, said, it gets worse when demand is high. She offered this example: You might pay $250 for a regular season Los Angeles Lakers game and then $5,000 for a playoff game. “People will go and buy those tickets,” she said. “That’s what happens if it’s a really popular game. And it’s not the building or the team doing it. It’s the people that own the tickets. But we get the bad name. ‘(People say) how could you sell them for that?’ But we don’t have any control.’”

What you should do

To avoid paying crazy prices for a concert ticket, what is one to do? The folks at the World Arena have some simple advice. And it applies to other popular concerts at other venues.

“If you want to go to a show, buy early,” Hamman said. “Don’t wait, because those tickets might sell out and then you’re playing with the resale game.”

And, he says, “buy them from us.”

If you still want to see Combs, your options aren’t great. As Dot Lischick, the World Arena’s general manager, says, “that’s going to happen” with a popular show like his.

“I’m sure there are some people who say, ‘It’s not worth it to me,’” she said, about paying at least $130 for a seat that could’ve cost $25. “The true fan, it might be worth it to them.”

Load comments