06/06/2012 4:13PM

Belmont Stakes tickets get big markup online


If you thought tickets were sold out for the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, as has been reported, you’d be right. You’d also be so far behind the times you’re planning on taking a carriage to the race.

Though 21,500 reserved-seat tickets for the Belmont officially sold out weeks ago, plenty of tickets are available for purchase on internet sites, though the vast majority of those tickets are being offered for premiums that run from the merely ridiculous to the ridiculously unconscionable.

On Wednesday afternoon, scalpers on StubHub, the internet’s dominant ticket-reselling site, were offering 1,350 tickets for reserved seats for this year’s Belmont. Ambitious resellers – or shameless exploiters, depending on your point of view – were offering another 1,000 tickets on the site for general admission at premiums that were in some cases 25 times the $10 price of walk-up grandstand tickets, which, for all intents and purposes, are unlimited. You also can buy clubhouse walk-up tickets on Saturday for $20.

According to Dan Silver, a spokesman for NYRA, approximately 15,500 of the available seats for the Belmont were sold through NYRA and Ticketmaster prior to the Preakness Stakes on May 19. Another 2,250 seats were sold in the 24 hours after I’ll Have Another won the second leg of the Triple Crown through NYRA. Then, on Monday, May 21, the association offered another 3,000 tickets on Ticketmaster, and those sold out in less than five minutes, with the vast majority presumably sold to ticket resellers. Another 750 were offered later in the week to Belmont’s ontrack customers.

[BELMONT STAKES: Past performances, video updates, contender profiles, odds]

When the tickets were sold, NYRA was charging $20 to $65 for seats in the grandstand. On StubHub on Wednesday, those same tickets were being offered at prices from $86 to $625, depending on proximity to the finish line. NYRA sold preferred seats in the grandstand for $65 to $120; sellers on StubHub on Wednesday were offering those tickets from $199 to $2,250. In the clubhouse, tickets that sold for $50 to $120 through NYRA were being offered by StubHub sellers for $225 to $1,500.

Of course, those prices are being listed by sellers who are hoping to get the highest possible price under the tried-and-true early-adopter pricing model, usually by extracting an additional degree of premium from impatient, unsophisticated, or carefree buyers. Relief, however, could be on the way for the budget-conscious.

In many cases for events in which walk-up tickets are widely available, such as the Belmont, prices on StubHub drop dramatically as the time for the event approaches and sellers get anxious to unload inventory. Of course, it could go the other way if eager buyers snatch up tickets in the next couple of days, leading to sellers bumping up the prices for the seats that remain. During Wednesday, selling did not appear to be particularly brisk.

Ticket reselling in New York was once legally restricted to $5 above the ticket’s face value, at least to buyers who resided in New York, but the state legislature erased those restrictions over the past decade as the growth of online auction resellers such as eBay and StubHub dramatically changed the market. Now, there’s no limit but what the market will bear.

Also, for the first time this year, NYRA is offering general-admission tickets through Ticketmaster, though those tickets carry a $1.75 fee, bringing the price up to $11.75. That’s still a bargain over the offerings on StubHub: the cheapest general-admission ticket being offered Wednesday was $16 – not counting a $4.95 per ticket fee.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm doing Clubhouse walk-up for $20. That's a steal when you consider Churchill charges $30 for the Oaks general admission (infield), and $50 for Derby general admission (infield). And they still get 160,000 people. Think about it. You pay 3 times more to get into the Oaks than to get into the Belmont with a Triple Crown on the line. Say what???
jim samson More than 1 year ago
I suspect they will be quite a few bagholding scalpers come b-day. if you must have a seat, wait until the last possible minute to buy.
Bwell More than 1 year ago
StubHub, rips off concert goers, and sports fans. This article is so funny. Horse racing is just happy to be included in the rip off.
Nick Arden More than 1 year ago
Hopefully the track will handle the crowd this time as the Big Brown Belmont was a disaster.
David G. More than 1 year ago
Yes, and hopefully all the ladies bathrooms do not over-flood this time like they all did in 2008.. Would hate to be urinating in the men's room with woman sporadically coming in an out. (Although I wouldn't mind the cute ones heading in)
Bwell More than 1 year ago
Won't be as hot as '08 Belmont was. Hopefully, that helps
MJP More than 1 year ago
I think some of the would be grifters are going to get stuck with their tickets. One thing that used to drive the huge attendance in prior years was the big groups of 20-somethings who would come out with a suitcase of beer each. There were still be a big crowd but a lot of the casual fans who were attracted by the party atmosphere are not gonna show up and pay $7 for a Bud. Sorry NYRA.
Jim Pitura More than 1 year ago
Always buy a return ticket on the LIRR as Belmont can empty your pockets rather quickly
Allan Goldberg More than 1 year ago
I love it!!! That means there will be plenty of empty seats available for people like me that just pay $10 Grandstand admission and proceed to take escalator to the 3rd floor
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'll do that too now. At Derby and Oaks thay have people everywhere making sure you don't go anywhere you're not supposed to. If they're not checking tickets/wristbands, I'll get the best seat I can.
Allan Goldberg More than 1 year ago
I love it!!! That means there will be plenty of empty seats available for people like me that just pay $10 Grandstand admission and proceed to take escalator to the 3rd floor
David Rose More than 1 year ago
That's exactly what I'm intending to do! :-)