Pros / It’s a primary market retailer, so ticket prices are generally lower.
Cons / The site’s selling fees vary and aren’t available upfront.
Verdict / Ticketmaster has a fantastic ticket return policy and ticket guarantee program.
Ticketmaster is a primary retailer, which means it sells tickets directly from certain leagues to the public. This eliminates markup that often happens on secondary market websites, where the tickets come from the public, season ticket holders and licensed ticket brokers. Some tickets on Ticketmaster are sold as second market though, so if you notice a few that cost more than face value, that’s why. Ticketmaster is also an official ticketing partner with the NFL, making it a great place to look if you’re a pigskin fan.
The website looks a little cluttered but overall is pretty easy to use. It automatically searches in the area of your IP address, so if you're traveling to an event, you need to specify the city it’s in. Once you're in the website’s sports section, you can search by category, date, location and sport, all of which are listed on the left side of the page. Again, we were a little disappointed with the website design because the large "Entertainment Guides" section in the center of the page was largely empty.
Despite its mediocre design, Ticketmaster is a great place to shop for tickets because of its return policy. The site gives you three days after your purchase to change your mind when you purchase tickets for events at venues participating in the website’s Fan Guarantee program. This list is available online and included 355 venues at the time of our review. You can even get a refund if you find less expensive tickets elsewhere at participating venues, up to one week before the event. This singularly impressive policy makes Ticketmaster stand out. Almost every website we looked at only fully refunds you if an event is canceled outright – you don’t get a refund if the event is rescheduled, which can be frustrating if you’re already traveling across the country to get to the game. This could mean buying another plane ticket, and if that’s not worth it, you’re stuck with a ticket you have to resell and may possibly lose money on the transaction.
To see how affordable the sports ticket websites we reviewed are, we looked at the cost of the base-price tickets for three specific events and compared our findings. Ticketmaster earned a B+ in this test – while it had some of the most affordable base-price tickets, they weren’t the least expensive of the websites we looked at. It’s still a great option though because the fees on a $25 ticket were a mere $9. While TicketIQ did better in the fee department, Ticketmaster held its own against websites like Vivid Seats and Ticket City, both of which charged more than $10 in fees.
Ticketmaster has an interactive seating map, and you can zoom in on it a lot to see exactly how many seats are in each row and which one you’ll be sitting in. The handicap-accessible seats are easy to find with a large slider at the top of the page, something unique to Ticketmaster. However, the filter options are a lacking, as you can only sort by lowest price or best seat. Still, it’s a really intuitive website overall. There is also a free mobile app you can use to buy and sell your tickets.
And speaking of selling, Ticketmaster’s information page says they don’t charge any fees to sell tickets. However, reading the fine print reveals you’re charged a service fee from your total selling price, which varies depending on how much you charge for the ticket. Once it sells, you're paid in seven to 10 business days.