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Ticketmaster review

Ticketmaster is a favorite for a reason, but we found cheaper tickets on other sites.

Ticketmaster
(Image: © Ticketmaster)

Our Verdict

One of the only primary retailers we found, it's worth checking Ticketmaster to avoid a markup on popular tickets.

For

  • Face-value prices on in-demand tickets
  • A huge variety of tickets
  • App and easy-to-use website

Against

  • For some events we found cheaper elsewhere
  • Fees were higher than some competitors
  • Lack of transparency on pricing

With an impressive customer guarantee, Ticketmaster is one of the best sports ticket sites and best concert ticket sites out there.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 covers everything, from sports to arts and theater, and is also an official ticketing partner with the NFL, making it a great place to look if you’re a pigskin fan. 

Ticketmaster review: Usability

  • Website is relatively easy to use
  • Automatically searches in the area of your IP address
  • Can search by category, date and location

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

  • Great return policy
  • Have 3 days after purchase to change your mind
  • Even get a refund if you find less expensive tickets elsewhere

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 or TicketCity, 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

  • Pricey compared to rivals
  • Can get you sought-after tickets without a markup
  • Service fees were comparable to other sites

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. 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.

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 and Vivid Seats, 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

  • Mobile app is easy to use and allows you to buy same-day tickets
  • Can use the app to transfer tickets to other people
  • Service fee varies

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.

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.