How does a country superstar like Eric Church invalidate 25,000 tickets he believes are being resold on secondary market sites? By going through hundreds of pages of sales reports and weeding out scalpers, one ticket at a time.
Church will kick off a 63-date tour across North America on Thursday (Feb. 23) at Bankers Life Arena in Indianapolis and has released 25,000 tickets to fans that allegedly had been bought by scalpers.
“We’ve been doing this for a while, but not quite on this scale,” Church’s manager Fielding Logan with Q Prime South tell Billboard. Working with a team of employees and interns, Logan looked for purchase patterns that matched scalper buying habits. That included multiple purchases on the same credit card or out-of-state ticket buys—like a purchase for a show in Lincoln. Neb., from a credit card tied to a buyer in New York, Las Vegas or Southern California.
“Occasionally we catch someone who we thought was a scalper, but turned out to be a dedicated fan,” Logan said. When that happens, Logan instructed the buyer to show up in person and pick up their tickets at will-call with a valid ID.
“When most of the big brokers heard about those in-person requirements, they just walked away,” he said.
It’s unclear how the cancelations will impact secondary ticket sales on sites like StubHub — company officials wouldn’t tell Billboard how many Eric Church tickets had already been sold on the e-Bay owned platform.
“In the rare occurrence a buyer runs into an issue, StubHub will find replacement tickets or offer a full refund,” StubHub spokesman Glenn Lehrman told Billboard. “We are confident in our ability to get people who bought tickets on StubHub into his shows.”
The attempts to circumvent the secondary market certainly haven’t hit StubHub’s bottom line. In January, the company released its Q4 earnings showing record revenues of $279 million, up 20% from the same period last year.