Kid Rock Tried to Beat the Scalpers. What Happened Next?

When tickets to Kid Rock’s eight shows at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkson, Michigan (Kid Rock’s hometown and where he’s most popular) went on sale on Ticketmaster just over a month ago, fans weren’t surprised to see that prices were much lower than what other artists would charge – $20 a ticket, no matter the section, no matter the row.

Kid Rock has long been a fan of providing tickets to his fans for as cheap as possible. Back in 2013, Kid Rock announced that he would be using the pricing scheme for his “$20 Best Night Ever” Summer tour. With Kid Rock’s announcement, several outlets noted that, while it would be great for fans who could get tickets from Ticketmaster, the low prices would be even better for scalpers who could turn around and sell their tickets on marketplaces like TickPick or StubHub, and because of the low price, be almost guaranteed to make a profit.

This year, while it’s not explicitly stated (as far as I was able to find), Kid Rock is taking fighting scalpers to the next level. In 2013, he played three shows at the DTE Energy Music Theatre. This year, for his 2015 ‘First Kiss’ Tour, he’s playing eight. While there are certainly many reasons to play multiple shows back-to-back at the same venue, one big bonus for performers looking to keep scalpers from profiting off their tickets is that demand for any given night is kept low. It’s basic supply and demand – by increasing the supply, Kid Rock keeps demand (and thereby prices) for any one show lower.

So, if Kid Rock’s goal was to keep ticket prices low, how well did he do? From just looking at his shows at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, we found that ticket prices have soared on the secondary market. Here’s a graph comparing the cheapest and average secondary market prices across all eight nights to the face value price Kid Rock sold them for:

Kid Rock Ticket Prices

As can be seen from the graph, the cheapest ticket on the secondary market is currently going for $48 a pop. That’s 2.5x the face value price, and prices only escalate from there. The average price across all tickets available on the secondary market for all eight nights is a whopping $256, nearly 13x their original price.

Based on this data, it looks like Kid Rock’s plan to keep prices cheap for his fans isn’t working too well. However, looking just at the differences between face value prices and secondary market prices could be misleading. Certainly not every ticket is being resold on the secondary market, so how many tickets are we talking about here? In other words, how large is our dataset?

According to the venue’s website, the capacity of DTE Energy Music Theatre is 15,274. Tellingly, there are only an average of 551 tickets available on the secondary market for each night of Kid Rock’s performance. That’s a paltry 3.6% of the total venue size, meaning over 96% of the tickets to see Kid Rock in Clarkston are not available for resale and went straight to fans for $20 a pop. If all of the tickets on the secondary market were squeezed together, it would barely take up the first two sections:



So, if every ticket on the secondary market were purchased at current prices, how much would the average fan have to pay to attend the show (combining the fans who purchased direct from Ticketmaster, and those who purchased on the secondary)? To find this datapoint, we’d need to use the following equation:

Average cost for each fan = [total cost for fans who purchased through Ticketmaster (and didn’t resell)] + [total cost for fans who purchased from secondary market] / [capacity of DTE Energy Center]

This translates to:

Average cost for each fan = ([number of fans who are going to the show with tickets purchased on Ticketmaster] * [face value price]) + ([average number of tickets available on secondary market per night] * [average cost of a ticket on the secondary market]) / 15,274

Which becomes:

Average cost for each fan = ((15,274 – 551) * $20) + (551 * $256)) / 15,274

And finally, after we run through the above equation, we find that if every ticket on the secondary market were purchased at current prices, the average price for each fan to attend the show would be $28.50, very close to Kid Rock’s original price of $20 per ticket.

Now, this analysis has two very important flaws we must be aware of:

  • The average may be only $28.50, but the range is incredible. As we’ve said, the current average price on the secondary market is nearly 13x the face value price. Yes, in this scenario, the average price may only be $28.50, but there’s a bunch of people who would pay a lot more than that.
  • In the real world, the average purchase price is always less than the average asking price. By how much varies from artist to artist and event to event.

For Kid Rock’s eight upcoming shows at DTE Energy Center, the average purchase price so far has been $65, well below the average asking price. If this purchase-price average holds true, the average cost for each fan would be $21.62, only 8.1% greater than Kid Rock’s intended price of $20.

So, how well did Kid Rock do at keeping prices low for his fans? It’s too early to say for sure, as things can always change before the shows, but so far, it looks like Kid Rock may just pull off his plan to beat the scalpers.

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