In the last couple of years, it's been awesome to once again be able to see concerts, sporting events, comedy shows, and other live entertainment in a live, in-person capacity.

Since the return of entertainment events after the world stopped due to the pandemic, Minnesota (like everywhere else) has seen an explosion of shows, and people continue to be hungry for them. Taylor Swift's tour, including the two dates in Minnesota, saw massive attendance as fans clamored to see her in concert. That's just one of the more notable examples from this year.

As fans look to grab tickets for their favorite show or event, technology is playing a bigger role than ever before in how we buy our tickets. In many cases, people tend to quickly conduct a web search for (insert band/team/comedian) and the name of the town or the venue.

When doing that, you're usually served up a pile of links that aren't related to the venue, the act, or even the promoter/primary ticket provider. That can lead to some considerable problems for the consumer. An employee at one of Minnesota's bigger event venues warns of some issues with this and what you can do to protect yourself.

A word of warning

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER | @LGNWVR on Unsplash
Photo by LOGAN WEAVER | @LGNWVR on Unsplash

A friend of mine works at the DECC in Duluth, which is one of Northern Minnesota's biggest event venues. From NCAA Division I UMD Bulldogs hockey to big national names in comedy shows and concerts, they have a lot of premiere entertainment each year - all of which require getting tickets.

While some people go directly to the venue, team, or performer to buy their tickets via their website (or in person), a lot of people do what I described above - just doing a quick web search and tapping on one of the first links that pop up.

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The problem with that, as my friend warns, is that several of these links are often for third-party ticket websites and not the website of the performer, team, venue, or even the official online ticket platform (like Ticketmaster). You usually have to scroll quite a bit before even seeing the official venue, performer, team, or promoter website. This is true not only in Duluth, but other venues and events in Minnesota and all around the country.

This leads a lot of people to buy secondhand tickets via these third-party websites. As my friend explains, these tickets can often end up costing you more than they would by buying them directly, and sometimes can even be fraudulent, which can make for a miserable experience if you arrive at the venue only to find out your tickets aren't going to get you in.

While running into counterfeit tickets is an obvious problem, spotting legit secondhand tickets that might end up costing you more can be hard to spot unless you shop around.

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I've seen many instances where tickets for a concert or sporting event are listed as cheaper on a third-party ticket reseller, but by the time you end up paying all of the associated fees the reseller applies, you end up paying more - and sometimes a lot more than you would have if you had purchased your tickets directly.

What can you do?

Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash
Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash

The best recommendation is, as you probably guessed, to go directly to the source. If you know the name of the venue, go directly to their website. If you don't, go to the team, band, or performer's website. Their website will lead you in the right direction to get the tickets you're looking for from the official source.

Don't get me wrong, there is room for ticket reselling in the world. People buy tickets and can't go to things, and we need a way to do something with them. But when looking to buy tickets for the next event, shop around and do some research. Check out the official ticket platform from the venue/act/team/promoter.

If you want to also check out a reseller site, be smart and be sure to factor in the fees and charges tagged onto your ticket price. Also, know that you're taking more of a risk than you would be in buying your tickets directly from the official source. While many of the major reseller sites offer "verified" tickets and have protections in place, it is still possible to run into a scammer or to pay more than you might otherwise have had you just gone directly to the source.

In the end, tickets you bought directly from a venue/team/performer are something they will all stand by. If there's a problem, the venue will work to resolve the issue. If you buy tickets from a third party, whether through a reseller website or over things like Facebook Marketplace, etc., know you are taking more of a risk.

It isn't the venue's fault if you purchased fraudulent tickets from a third party - or even tickets that you paid more for than you should have from a non-official source. Yes, it can be very frustrating having spent the money and made the trip in anticipation of seeing your event, but don't take out your frustrations on the poor employee at the venue who is just doing their job if they inform you that your tickets aren't valid.

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