You say you’re dying to see the Rolling Stones play in Ralph Wilson Stadium on July 11, you want the best tickets, and money is no object?
Have we got a deal for you.
Early Monday afternoon, about three hours after Rolling Stones tickets went on sale to the general public at ticketmaster.com, StubHub still was offering a pair of seats in the front row, center stage, for a mere $10,756.60 apiece. That’s more than $21,500 for the pair.
For that price, you ought to get a preconcert dinner with Mick Jagger with all the fixings. It must be emphasized, though, that these are asking prices; it doesn’t mean the tickets will sell for that price.
Ticket sales for the general public opened at 10 a.m. Monday, and there was both good and bad news for those with limited budgets.
The bad news: seats in the two most inexpensive price ranges – $88.30 and $118.85 (including fees) – were long gone on the official Ticketmaster site by early Monday afternoon. Tickets remained available in the pricier sections, for $170.35 and $420.15 apiece.
But even in those more-expensive price ranges, the pickings at box office prices remained fairly slim by early afternoon.
The best available $420 seats appeared to be in the back rows of Sections A and F, the sections closest to the stage on the field, but way off to the side. And the best $170 seats were in the top rows of the 100 Level at the scoreboard end of the stadium, farthest from the stage.
The good news is that plenty of seats still remained available – for the right price.
The most astounding thing about ticket sales for the Rolling Stones’ “ZIP CODE” tour stop here was the number of tickets for sale on the secondary market, both before and after the 10 a.m. Ticketmaster starting time.
Three ticket sites alone – stubhub.com, ticketprocess.com and ticketofficesales.com – listed a combined total of more than 10,000 available tickets between 9 and 10 a.m., although it’s not certain whether some of those seats could have been counted twice.
A quick check of seven ticket-selling sites, both before and after 10 a.m., found thousands of available seats in the cheapest price range – but with a significant markup.
So those $88.30 box office seats had their lowest asking price of between $93 and $124 apiece on the seven secondary sites. That’s anywhere from roughly 5 to 40 percent above the box office price.
At the other end of the spectrum, most of those ticket brokers listed their top asking prices at between $4,664 and $6,010 per seat for the most expensive seats.
And then there was StubHub, which still advertised 4,542 tickets for sale at midafternoon Monday. While $10,756 was the most outrageous asking price, there were 36 seats offered at more than $5,000 apiece and more than 400 seats total with asking prices of over $1,000.
So where did these tickets come from, if sales to the general public hadn’t even started yet?
At least two groups, people with American Express cards and Buffalo Bills season-ticket holders, could buy tickets earlier, Wednesday for American Express and Friday for Bills season-ticket holders.
Presumably, plenty of ticket brokers have American Express cards, and many also buy Bills season tickets, especially with all the optimism over the 2015 Bills suggesting a strong demand for football tickets on the secondary market this coming season.
The brisk ticket sales notwithstanding, the presence of thousands of Rolling Stones tickets on the secondary market late Monday once again proved an age-old truism:
There always are tickets available – if you’re willing to pay the price.
And that price doesn’t have to be $10,756, unless you’re dead set on sitting close enough to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to see the sweat pouring from their foreheads.