Make money from reselling hot tickets? Investors get cheated

US musician Bruce Springsteen performing in Paris. Prime tickets to Bruce Springsteen On Broadway are now going for as much as US$10,000.
US musician Bruce Springsteen performing in Paris. Prime tickets to Bruce Springsteen On Broadway are now going for as much as US$10,000. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) - Prime tickets to Bruce Springsteen On Broadway are now going for as much as US$10,000 (S$13,500) on StubHub.

Even a cheap seat will cost you US$1,400. Never mind that it says US$75 on the ticket.

The Boss' run at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre is just the latest example of how today's ticket resellers, also known as scalpers, help drive prices to giddy levels.

No wonder Wall Streeters want in on this action.

Tickets, whether to Springsteen, Adele or Hamilton, seem like a sure thing.

And the business is huge: an estimated US$15 billion a year.

That, anyway, is the thinking. Because now a few big-money types were allegedly snookered like out-of-towners in Times Square.

The pitch is an old one. The supposed fraudsters typically tell their marks they have the inside track on an investment, in this case, hot tickets.

The marks hand over money and - poof! - it is gone.

The latest case involves a popular New York sports radio shock jock.

He was arrested earlier this month, accused of taking part in a scam involving tickets to Adele, Barbra Streisand and Justin Bieber.

The cases highlight the dark underside of the largely unregulated resale business.

While fans complain that tickets are scarce and expensive on popular sites like StubHub, TicketIQ and SeatGeek, the potential for investor fraud lies more on the broker side of the industry, where money is raised from investors to finance ticket purchases.

"Because of what's happened in the last six months, if you're a hedge fund and you're investing in ticket brokers, shame on you," said Mr Jesse Lawrence, founder of resale marketplace TicketIQ.

"Just don't do it, unless you can 100 per cent verify how they're getting tickets."