When Louis C.K. announced on June 25 in a detailed e-mail and website post that he’d be selling tickets to his upcoming national tour exclusively through LouisCK.com for $45, he answered an important question before anyone even had a chance to ask it: What happens if someone buys the inexpensive ticket and tries to sell it at an inflated price? Here was his preemptive words:
You’ll see that if you try to sell the ticket anywhere for anything above the original price, we have the right to cancel your ticket (and refund your money). This is something I intend to enforce. There are some other rules you may find annoying but they are meant to prevent someone who has no intention of seeing the show from buying the ticket and just flipping it for twice the price from a thousand miles away.
The next night, C.K. appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to explain it a little further. “It won’t work 100 percent of the time, but if you buy a ticket for more than 45 bucks, it might die before you get to the show,” he told Kimmel. “It’s a risk. When you get to the venue they might say, ‘That’s no good.’” He also added that he’s got people working for him monitoring ticket purchases online to help enforce these rules.
However, five days later, it seems there are a lot of people willing to take the risk C.K. mentions. As of this writing, ticket broker sites SeatGeek, StubHub, CoastToCoastTickets and BigInTheGame have multiple Louis C.K. tickets for sale, with the most expensive ticket listed at $518. I asked Louis to respond to the scalping. And here’s his statement to Laughspin:
Here’s where we are with the scalpers as of now…I’m doing 67 shows on this tour and we’ve sold 135,600 tickets to those shows after one week on sale.In addition to the tour, I’m doing two shows in one city that are on sale through traditional ticketing.*So as a comparison…There are 1100 tickets available on stubhub alone for those two traditionally ticketed shows out of 4,400 available ( Almost exactly 25%). ** and these shows aren’t sold out yet.There are less than 500 tickets available on all scalper sites (including stubhub) out of the entire 135,600 tickets that have already been sold, from the tour sold exclusively on my site, louisck.com (substantially less than 1%)So it’s working. So far.Also, we are learning that, of these few tickets being scalped for my tour, some are the same tickets across a bunch of different sites. They are sharing tickets.Our goal is to get even these 500 or less tickets back into the hands of fans at their original price. How we are doing that is our business that I won’t share right now. But so far our plan is working and we have learned a lot. The main message I’d like to convey to ticket-buyers out there is that buying a scalper ticket to one of my shows is a tremendous risk (well, a risk equal to how much you paid for it)Contact with these scalpers has been enlightening. They tend to respond with indignance and a defensive posture “Hey man! Scalping is NOT a crime!” We’re not treating it as a crime or even a wrong-doing. We are just competing with them, on behalf of my fans, to enforce the terms and conditions of our ticket sales and to keep the prices down. It’s worth the effort, it’s working and it’s even been kind of fun.Jesus christ, these shows better be fucking good.*(these shows were booked before the tour was launched. I am, by the way, looking forward to those shows as much as any on my tour and am happy as always to do business with all involved. My tour is simply a separate and very different venture)**I’ve found that almost any concert being sold through the usual channels has this same ratio, about 1/4 of the tickets end up with scalpers. So less than 1% for us is pretty good.