A pair of “Springsteen on Broadway” tickets for $17,000, anybody? Anybody?
Don’t be surprised if someone somewhere with their own private island plunks down that kind of scratch for The Boss. That was the amount some nervy (can we say avaricious?) prospector was seeking on Friday on the resale site stubhub.com for two tickets to the Jan. 17, 2018, performance of Bruce Springsteen’s five-performance-a-week residency at Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre — an engagement that has sparked the latest surge of consumer outrage and mouth-agape exclamations of: “They’re going for what?”
The sale of Springsteen’s Broadway concerts was always going to cause a stampede, given the vastness of the singer-songwriter’s fan base and, for a star of his magnitude, the meager capacity of the Walter Kerr. (It’s just under 1,000 seats, for a musician who normally fills football stadiums.) Tickets with a face value ranging from $75 to $850 for the initial run went on sale Aug. 30, and were gone in the blink of an Asbury Park traffic light. Almost immediately, a 10-week extension of the run, to Feb. 3, 2018, was announced on ticketmaster.com, the show’s official ticketing agent, and buyers scooped up those tickets, too, in a flash.
Many Springsteen lovers were destined to be disappointed. But even an effort by Springsteen and Ticketmaster to ward off scalpers and ticket-buying bots — through an online “verified fan” mechanism — has not stopped the rampant re-selling of tickets at prices that approximate those at the height of the “Hamilton” frenzy. (Resellers in some cases still have asking prices in the thousands for that show.) And now, some Springsteen fans (not surprisingly) are taking to the Web to criticize the way Springsteen and Ticketmaster have handled the process.
In one widely discussed post on medium.com, Steve Milton, who said he’s been buying tickets to Springsteen concerts for 35 years, wrote: “I’ve never seen so many Springsteen fans as frustrated as I have this week.”
“Springsteen and Ticketmaster knew they would extend the run,” Milton wrote, “so why did they not simply announce it early to placate fans and relieve the tension for those trying to score tickets?”
The star’s desire for a space “as personal and as intimate as possible” is certainly an intriguing goal, and what his performance at the Walter Kerr would freshly reveal is exciting to contemplate. It’s depressing, though, to watch as the running-up of prices ushers in an era of hard feelings.