Does Ticketmaster Undercount Tickets Sold To Underpay?

from the concert-accounting dept

Over the years, we've noticed some questionable "accounting" practices in various parts of the entertainment industry. There's recording industry accounting, where labels make a ton of money and most musicians end up in debt. There's Hollywood accounting, where some of the most successful movies of all time are somehow declared "not profitable" so they can avoid paying actors any residuals. Then there is music performance rights accounting, where only the top 200 touring acts get to collect royalty money.

So what about ticket sales for events? Eric Goldman points us to an ongoing lawsuit, in which a producer of events, Club Escapade 2000, is suing Ticketmaster for severely undercounting ticket sales at an event. The event was a soccer match held at the University of Texas El Paso's stadium between two Mexico City soccer teams.
According to Plaintiff, the event was “extremely popular” — traffic was backed up on the highways and news outlets reported large crowds of twenty to forty thousand people attending... Much to Plaintiff’s surprise, Defendant reported that it had sold only 13,151 tickets.... These numbers seemed too low to Plaintiff, and Plaintiff began an investigation of Defendant’s audit reports... Plaintiff allegedly found that on the day before the event, March 24, 2009, Defendant reported that the number of tickets sold was 14,408... The very next day, though, the reported number of sales dropped to 11,098... According to Plaintiff, this was suspicious because there were no refunds or exchanges... Based on this suspicion, Plaintiff hired an expert in digital imaging who examined the video footage of the soccer match... The expert estimated that attendance was likely as high as 24,311.
Kinda makes you wonder if this is standard practice... and if this is why the legacy entertainment guys seem to assume that all fans want to screw them over. Perhaps they're just used to every one else they run into trying to screw them over.
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Filed Under: accounting, booking, concerts
Companies: ticketmaster


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  1. identicon
    tom, 8 Dec 2011 @ 5:45am

    Director of Systems Support at Ticketmaster - probably right, but i watched Risky Business in the 80s

    Risky Business stated that there is always someone else who will be desparate enough to do something illegal, therefore you have to always do everything, however illegal it is, to win. Afterall its only when Tom Cruise tries to bribe the interviewer from Harvard Business School with prostitutes that Harvard Business School deems Tom good enough to get in.
    Also, that however much you may be working for a business enterprise the important person is yourself.
    Therefore all businesses have to do as much as they can however illegal - in the name of the shareholders - but actually to get as much money for their own directors pocket.
    I am told i am cynical - but i keep getting proven right.
    The rule of Risky Business seems to work. Sorry.

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