Ticketmaster is one of the top ticketing sites out there, thanks to an impressive guarantee and a wide selection of ticket availability. This is because Ticketmaster sells tickets directly from certain leagues to the public.
Why is this primary seller type a good thing? It means you don't have to pay the middleman fee that most secondary market websites charge. In these cases the tickets come from those who bought tickets already, season ticket holders and licensed ticket brokers.
All that said, there is still a place for second market tickets on Ticketmaster too. So you may notice the price of some as higher than others. This is often the case where all the primary sales are sold out and secondary is the only way to get a ticket. Ticketmaster is an official ticketing partner with the NFL but it also covers everything, from sports to arts and theater. That's why it sits on our lists of both the best concert ticket sites (opens in new tab), and the best sports ticket (opens in new tab) retailers.
Ticketmaster review: Usability
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. You can search by category, date and location, and there’s also a search bar to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. The website is certainly comprehensive, with sections showing new ticket releases, best sellers, family friendly shows and more.
Once you’ve found what you want to see, a calendar automatically brings up dates, times and locations of these events to let you select exactly what you want and compare. There’s an interactive display of the venue in question with the ability to zoom in and see available tickets and whether or not they’re resale listings.
Ticketmaster review: Customer guarantee
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. 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, like Razorgator (opens in new tab) or TicketCity (opens in new tab), 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.
Ticketmaster review: Buying tickets
Despite this major advantage, Ticketmaster didn’t perform so well in our pricing test and we found a lot of the same tickets available for a significant amount less on sites such as StubHub (opens in new tab). In particular, Ticketmaster did badly on our sports ticket price test. However, being a primary retailer means Ticketmaster can get you sought-after tickets without a markup, meaning it performed quite well in our theater ticket test, finding us the cheapest tickets for the popular show ‘Hamilton’. For this reason it’s sometimes worth checking Ticketmaster to gauge if you’re getting a good deal with resale sites such as Coast to Coast Tickets (opens in new tab).
Service fees were comparable to other sites, being priced at around an extra 20% on top of the tickets fees. We didn’t like that you have to create a Ticketmaster account to see how much you’ll be charged as this is a lot less transparent than other sites, but the odds are that, for such a huge company, you’ll have an account anyway. Even if not, it only takes a few minutes.
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 lacking, as you can only sort by lowest price or best seat.
You can have paper tickets delivered to you or have Ticketmaster email you electronic versions which you can print yourself. If you'd rather pick up the tickets, the service not only has will-call options at the venue, but it also allows you to pick up your tickets at participating stores. None of the secondary brokers, such as SeatGeek (opens in new tab) and Vivid Seats (opens in new tab), offer as wide a variety of pickup options because, in that case, tickets are being transferred directly from the seller to a buyer.
Ticketmaster review: Selling tickets
Ticketmaster’s mobile app is easy to use and allows you to buy same-day tickets to events. You can also use the app to transfer tickets to other people who may be arriving at a different time than you. The app can be used to sell tickets, but Ticketmaster’s selling options are restricted to only certain concerts, and the tickets cannot have been bought from any other service.
In order to sell simply enter your ticket details, price your tickets and get paid. Ticketmaster charges a service fee from your total selling price, which varies depending on how much you charge for the ticket. This is pretty standard, but Ticketmaster isn’t very transparent about this and you won’t know how much you’ll get for your ticket until you’ve already listed it. Once it sells, you're paid in seven to ten business days.
Ticketmaster review: Fees and refunds
Ticketmaster does give you face value tickets, direct from the event suppliers. But since these rates are negotiated that can mean the tickets are expensive. But know that you're buying at face value so you can get sought after tickets for less. That said, other sites did offer some other types of tickets for cheaper.
For refunds, Ticketmaster is superb. It offers a Fan Guarantee program where participating venues give you three days after your purchase to change your mind and get your moneyback if you need. You'll also get this back if the event is cancelled at any time. Up to a week before the event you can also get a refund on ticket found cheaper elsewhere.
Should you try Ticketmaster?
Ticketmaster is a well-known and reputable source for almost all ticketed events. As a primary ticket broker, Ticketmaster has initial access to tickets directly from the venue. This exclusive initial access to concert tickets is one of its best features, but it comes with some unique issues. It can sell out quickly, sometimes even minutes after the event's tickets go up for sale. It also doesn’t have a flat service fee, as it negotiates them individually with the entertainers and venues. Nonetheless, it is the only online concert service we reviewed that gives buyers access to tickets at face value.