RodeoHouston reissuing thousands of tickets that were resold at higher prices

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by Courtney Zubowski & Drew Karedes / KHOU 11 NEWS

khou.com

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 7 at 11:44 AM

HOUSTON -- Thanks to a KHOU 11 News I-Team investigation, thousands of rodeo tickets will go back on sale for face value.

As we reported last month, some tickets were being sold for hundreds, even thousands of dollars more than face value, leaving frustrated country music fans out in the cold.

The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo started their investigation after we showed them that tickets to their hottest acts were being resold online at prices that put them out of the reach of most music fans.

“If it’s a season ticket holder and we can prove that they are selling our tickets, reselling our tickets for higher than face value, we’ll revoke their rights to sell tickets,” Leroy Shafer, the Chief Operating Officer of the HLSR told KHOU 11 News in January.

More than 900,000 tickets were sold before the public had access to them.

How did that happen?

KHOU 11 News learned that season ticket holders, volunteers and rodeo insiders had access to the tickets early.

Some bought them and turned around and sold the tickets for a lot more than they paid.

For instance, a George Strait tickets was priced at $11,000 online. We found a Bruno Mars ticket valued at $24 being sold on an online ticket site for $60.

“It not only concerns me, it infuriates me,” said Shafer.

Shafer says he’s now identified 5,000 tickets he believes were going to be resold for a lot more than their face value.

He says he’s identified at least nine season ticket holders and believes some rodeo members were doing the selling. When they’re identified, Shafer says their membership will be revoked.

"We had one person in New York get 100 tickets to our show -- 10 tickets at a time, when they should've only been able to buy 10,” said HLS&R Chief Operating Officer Leroy Shafer.

So what does that mean for the public?

The rodeo is putting 4,000 tickets for some of the hottest shows back in circulation. The tickets will be on sale by the weekend and resold at face value.

But the remaining 1,000 tickets are for the very popular George Strait concert. Those won’t be going back to Ticketmaster.

Instead, the Rodeo will go through emails and phone messages they received from people asking for seats to the concert and then will personally sell them to those fans so scalpers can’t get their hands on them.

"If you're online right now buying tickets, you may be buying tickets from a broker who's expecting to get these tickets and he's never going to get them," Shafer said.

Shafer suggests only buing tickets from Ticketmaster or at Reliant Stadium.

And Shafer told us something else the Rodeo’s investigation discovered. He said that one of KHOU’s own employees, not in the news division, bought ten tickets from a rodeo staff member and then tried to resell them on Craigslist for more money.

Our employee has since apologized to the Rodeo.

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