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Why Is Ticketmaster Service Fee So Expensive?

Buying a ticket to an event is usually exciting, but the excitement sometimes turns into frustration when the final amount to be paid is higher than expected due to the service fee charged by Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster is an online marketplace that facilitates the purchase of tickets to various events like sports, concerts, theater, and others. While the platform connects buyers with tickets, the service fee charged by Ticketmaster has always been a subject of debate among event-goers. This blog post addresses why Ticketmaster service fee is expensive.

Ticketmaster: A brief Overview

Ticketmaster is the world’s leading ticketing company, founded in 1976, and presently owned by Live Nation Entertainment. The platform processes millions of ticket transactions daily and serves as the primary ticketing outlet for several events. The company’s business model relies on the commission it charges on each ticket sold, including the cost of the ticket and additional service fees that often accounts for a significant chunk of the final price paid by the event-goer.

The Factors Contributing to Ticketmaster Service Fee

There are several reasons why Ticketmaster charges a service fee. Some of these reasons include

Third-Party Payment Processing Fees

Ticketmaster accepts multiple payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal. However, Ticketmaster has to pay an interchange fee for each transaction processed on any of these payment methods. The interchange fee is a percentage of the transaction amount paid by the merchant’s bank to the cardholder’s bank for processing the transaction. Therefore, Ticketmaster adds a service fee to cover these payment processing fees to avoid incurring losses.

Infrastructure and Operating Costs

Ticketmaster operates several data centers capable of processing millions of transactions daily, and these data centers require a huge investment in hardware and software infrastructure. The company also needs to maintain several support teams to cater to clients’ needs and maintain software systems. Additionally, Ticketmaster spends a lot of money on advertising to reach potential ticket buyers. All these costs contribute to the service fee charged by Ticketmaster.

Supply and Demand

The ticket marketplace is always determined by supply and demand economics. Ticketmaster operates based on demand, and sometimes the demand for a particular event is higher than the available tickets. When demand for tickets is high, the prices go up as the event-goer is willing to pay more to attend the event. Therefore, Ticketmaster increases its service fee when they anticipate a surge in demand for a particular event.

The Impact of Ticketmaster’s Service Fee

Ticketmaster’s service charge has faced significant criticism over the years, with many event-goers complaining that the service fee inflates the price of admission and prevents them from attending events due to affordability issues. In some cases, the service fee accounts for up to 50% of the ticket price. Critics argue that this pricing model is unfair and exploits customers who have no other option but to buy tickets through the platform.

However, Ticketmaster argues that the service fee is vital for maintaining the platform’s infrastructure, providing customer service and promoting events. Ticketmaster also has a Price Disclosure policy that displays the final price of the ticket upfront, including service fees, to avoid misleading customers. This policy has been implemented in compliance with the 2010 Federal Trade Commission regulations, which require businesses to display the final price of ads upfront.


The Ticketmaster service fee debate might go on for a long time as both sides of the argument have justifiable reasons to support their position. Nevertheless, it is clear that the company’s service fee is mainly attributed to its infrastructure and operating costs, dealing with third-party payment processing fees, and the supply and demand economics of the ticket marketplace. Customers concerned with the Ticketmaster service fee can purchase tickets directly from the event organizers or third-party sellers. However, they should ensure that they purchase tickets from a reputable source that offers buyer protection and avoids scams associated with buying tickets from unauthorized sources.