If you’ve ever been to any live event, whether it’s a sporting event, concert, or theater performance, the biggest question you have is: when is the best time to buy tickets? The answer can be complex, as there are several variables to consider, such as:
- What type of event is it?
- Is the event sold out?
- How large is the venue?
Here we’ll breakdown all of these different variables for you in order to help you decide when the best time is to buy tickets to the a particular favorite event that you’re looking to attend. Keep in mind that every live event should be treated separately and this is merely a guide to help you make an informed decision.
Will Tickets to the Event Sellout at the Box Office? (Concerts)
This is the most important factor for determining when to purchase a concert ticket. For concerts, it can be fairly easy to know which events will surely be sold-out (Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Jay-Z, etc.). To clarify, when we say “sellout,” we mean that tickets from the primary seller will sell out shortly after they go on sale (Ticketmaster, AXS, etc.).
If you think tickets for the event are going to sellout, then you should scout out the date and time tickets will be released to the public and try to secure tickets through Ticketmaster or the box office. This will afford you the chance to get tickets at face value. We would also recommend checking out our post on how to quickly buy tickets on Ticketmaster.
Once concert tickets hit the resale market, they’ll be priced at market value – which will be higher or lower than the face value – which depends on demand. Here’s where the timing gets tricky, as there are several factors to consider, such as:
- How many tickets are available on the secondary market?
- The more tickets that are available, the more likely prices will drop and your ability to get a cheap ticket can increase as the event gets closer. This is simply the law of supply and demand.
- How many shows are there on the concert tour?
- The more exclusive the tour (the fewer show dates), the more likely concert ticket prices will increase as the event gets closer.
- Is there is an album the artist is promoting in conjunction with the tour. Has it been released yet?
- If the album isn’t released until after the tickets go on sale, you should try to get concert tickets before the album drops (assuming it’s a highly-anticipated release).
If you don’t think the event is going to sellout for the arena or venue, don’t buy tickets from the primary sellers. You can wait until the event gets closer and you should find that tickets are available for below face value on the secondary market. As the event date nears, the ticket price will continue to drop as long as the inventory levels remain steady. Keep in mind that other fans will also be waiting until the last minute, so if you wait too long to buy, there may not be tickets in the locations that you want.
It’s also important to avoid service fees when purchasing tickets. Our major competitor will tack on service fees at checkout, but not TickPick, which will save you 10% on the same seats if you buy with TickPick. TickPick is the only major no-fee ticket marketplace, which gives you an opportunity to purchase a cheaper resale ticket on our exchange. If you haven’t used our ticket site before, you can sign up using the link at the bottom of this blog for $10 off your first purchase.
Best Time to Buy Tickets (Sports)
Buying a ticket to a game is completely different than buying a ticket to a concert, since there are multiple events for each team.
Individual game ticket prices from the teams or primary seller (if available) are going to be more expensive than the secondary market’s because of dynamic pricing, which is when teams raise and lower individual game prices based on the opponent or date of the game.
Season ticket holders (who are often times a ticket broker) are locked into a fixed price per game for their seat or seats, so they can afford to post their seat for sale for less than what the primary sellers are offering for games that are in higher demand. This is especially true if you’re a season ticket holder for MLB and/or NBA basketball, where there are fewer sellouts.
Below we break down the three major factors that affect the ticket pricing for sports games and when those prices can change based upon those factors.
- If you’re searching for a seat to a rivalry game, ticket prices might increase as the event nears, especially if both teams are performing well. If you think it might be a down year for your team, waiting until a few days before the game may be your best bet.
Date of the Game
- The first game of the season for any team is going to command higher prices and see ticket sales go through the roof, as will the last game of the regular season (mainly if has an impact on the playoffs). Games that take place during the holidays will also be priced at a premium with more fans traveling back to their hometowns.
- For the first game of the year, it may be better to wait until the week of the event if inventory levels remain high (same for holiday games). For the last game of the season, you and your guests might want to buy early, since the game could become more meaningful as the season progresses.
- The forecast will always play a factor in ticket prices for football and baseball. Even with basketball or hockey, a heavy rain or snowstorm will keep more people at home, driving prices down. Conversely, prices will spike for an outdoor event that was once expected to be played in bad weather, but ultimately ends up being played on a beautiful day.
Many of these factors are not predictable, which is why pinpointing the best time to buy tickets to any sporting event is so difficult. In general, we find that on average the best time to buy tickets to a game is 3-4 days prior, when the inventory levels are still high, particularly while you can still get a good seat.
It’s also important to note that any live event that is canceled outright with no future makeup date will entitle all ticket buyers to a full refund for their purchase. Postponed events like baseball game rainouts would entitle the ticket holder to their seats for the makeup date, so be sure to hang onto your ticket.
No matter the event for which you’re buying tickets, it’s important to consider all of the aforementioned factors. If you’d like advice specific to the event you want to attend, leave a question in the comments below! If you want to contact one of our ticket support specialists, please feel free to submit a request here.