Monday, March 31, 2014

7th and 33rd

By 1:30 yesterday the scene at 7th and 33rd had changed considerably from the way it had looked just a couple of hours earlier.  When I walked by there then I had been asked several times if I "needed any" meaning did I need any tickets. My sense then was that the scalpers might be holding onto a lot of tickets come game time.

At 130 I still believed that some tickets for the 220 start would not have any takers.  The change, however, was eye opening.  At 130 the area from 7th and 33rd to the Garden was just swarming with scalpers.  I walked from the intersection and told myself to count how many people asked me if I needed tickets.  I lost count.  I can count to one hundred for those who are snickering, but the inquiries from the salesfolks were coming from all sides and I just could not keep track. In addition to those blatantly blurting "who needs any" or "who wants 'em" there were at least ten others just standing in place holding tickets in the air.  Occasionally, such holders would be approached and asked about price.  I saw a couple of transactions, but more often the would be buyers walked away from the holders without a ticket.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I'd gone to the ticket window at about 1130 to inquire about buying a ticket legitimately.  At that time I was told that the only tickets I could purchase were behind the hoop in a seat in an enclosed suite or seats in a similar suite at center court. The former was selling for 100 dollars, the latter at about 150.  Afterwards I went on stub hub and the cheapest seat was selling for 140 something.

So, the only tickets sold at the box office were for suite seats in an enclosed space at a minimum of 100.  But on the street no more than a couple of hundred strides away, at least 200 seats were available being sold by scalpers. And there were a bunch being sold on stubhub.

I stood on the corner of 7th and 33rd for a half hour watching the dynamics.  Two holders were standing right near the street sign. One had a single ticket, another had two tickets.  Another scalper came up to the holders and offered to buy the tickets--each with a face value of 100.00 for 40. They laughed at him.

But, there were not many who approached the holders on the corner.  At one point a wave of UConn and MSU fans crossed the street on their way into the arena.  This prospect seemed promising, but nobody stopped. Every one of the fans appeared to have a ticket. .

A few minutes later at about 2 a potential buyer approached the holder with the single ticket.  He asked how much.  The holder said, "240.00"

"240?" the customer said incredulously. "the face value is 100."

The holder responded with a composite of indignation and incredulity himself. "Hey, I'm a scalper." as if to say, (a) were you born yesterday buster and (b) this is my line of work.

Something wrong here. At 1130 you cant buy tickets at the box office. At 130 you can buy tickets right outside the box office for over two times the face value.

I should have stayed around to see what would happen at 220 when the game started.  But it was cold and I had to get to the airport.

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