VERIFY: Are real Hamilton tickets already for sale in Houston?

The Hobby Center box office says the general public won't get access to tickets to see the famous play until next March, so how are some ticket resellers already offering seats online?

By the time Hamilton hits Houston next spring, tickets will be long gone, according to Ticket Stop broker Jack Stopnicki.

“It’s going to be hard for everyone to get tickets,” he says. “It’s all going to go on sale and everyone’s going to be trying.”

The Hobby Center box office says the general public won’t get access to those tickets until March 2, 2018. So how are some ticket resellers already offering seats online?

You can buy tickets for opening night, which is April 24, 2018, on Vivid Seats for anywhere from $414 up to nearly $3,500.

Box Office Tickets go up to about $4,000 for a coveted spot in the Orchestra Center section.

“There are some brokers who will spec tickets,” Stopnicki says. “They’ll just put a seat on there. They’re just trying to feel the market to see what it is.”

How can brokers get access to those seats before you? Some use Ticket BOTs. Those are software programs designed to pick up as many tickets as possible – and as of December, they’re illegal.

“This is a new act, but it’s one we’re taking seriously,” says Melissa Dickey, an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission. “We do understand that this is a very frustrating issue for many consumers.”

BOTs are one of the reasons the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo introduced its “Waiting Room.”

In a statement, President and CEO Joel Cowley says that “creates the opportunity to monitor and subsequently evaluate any fraudulent or questionable buyers in the purchase flow and remove them prior to the event becoming available to purchase.”

Another issue: there just might not be as many tickets available as you think.

“The tickets are being reserved for promoters, sponsors, sometimes brokers or for fan club members or holders of certain types of credit cards,” Dickey says.

That can eat up a big chunk of the ticket pool and promoters and venues don’t usually tell us how many are left when it’s our turn.

"They need to tell the public how many seats they’re putting on sale,” says Stopnicki. “That gives everyone a fair chance.”

You might feel like the odds are stacked against you – and sometimes they are – but here are a few tips from the FTC to score the tickets you’re after:

  • Join fan clubs for early access to tickets
  • Know when they go on sale and be ready
  • If possible, use multiple computers or devices to try to buy them

If you suspect someone is buying tickets illegally, report them here.

VERIFY: Sources

Melissa Dickey, Federal Trade Commission attorney
Jack Stopnicki, Ticket Stop ticket broker
Joel Cowley, HLSR president & CEO

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© 2017 KHOU-TV


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