The Anatomy Of An On-Sale

The way tickets are sold for events isn’t a big secret but there are some things we can tell you that will help you understand how the process works.

Remember these two things: patience is a virtue and a solid plan is your best friend.

Three Things To Do Before Tickets Go On-Sale

  1. Create an account with the ticketing company: save all your information including your credit card details
  2. Carefully review the seating chart in advance (for a reserved seating event)
  3. Decide which tickets/sections are your first, second and third choice.

If tickets go on-sale for an event at 10:00:00 a.m., it is possible (depending on a ticketing system’s bandwidth) that within a couple of seconds ALL tickets are accounted for and in people’s shopping carts.

By 10:00:01 a.m. all tickets could be accounted for and any one else looking will receive a message that there are ‘currently‘ no tickets available.

‘Currently’ is a very important word. It DOES NOT mean the event is sold out.

It DOES mean that at 10:00:02 a.m. (2 seconds after tickets went on-sale) there are no tickets currently available.

It DOES NOT mean that at 10:00:02 a.m. the event is SOLD OUT.

More tickets might become available shortly and NOT because more tickets were released.

In our example below, let’s assume that ALL 4,000 tickets for our event are released at the same time.

In this article, we’ll explain how tickets become available LONG AFTER the first “No Tickets Currently Available” message is displayed.

TIMELINE
10:00:00 a.m. 4,000 tickets are released for sale.
Hundreds or thousands of people put tickets in their shopping cart and start to check out.
Remember: some ticketing companies give you as long as 15 minutes to complete your transaction.
10:00:01 a.m. It’s a huge show and all 4,000 tickets for the event are placed in people’s shopping carts immediately.
Anyone looking for tickets now will see a message: “Currently, there are NO tickets available.”
Our event appears to be ‘Sold Out’ but it isn’t. Rather, there are currently NO tickets available.
Don’t give up and don’t stop trying!
10:01:00 a.m. (1 minute) Our husband and wife team attending the event are about to release some of the tickets they have in their shopping cart.
John Doe calls Jane Doe at work to her know he has two tickets to the show in his shopping cart.
Jane tells John she has tickets in her shopping cart too.
After discussing this for 3 minutes, it appears John’s seats are better then Jane’s so she cancels her transaction and puts her ticket back into the pool.
10:04:00 a.m. (4 minutes) Jane’s tickets are now available for sale again. So, even though the show appeared to be “sold out” at 10:00:02am, tickets are once again available.
10:04:01 a.m. Someone who was patient and kept trying snags the tickets.
10:04:02 a.m. Everyone else still trying sees the ‘Currently, No Tickets are Available’ message again.
10:14:00 a.m. Fast forward 10 minutes: John (who was distracted) finally gets to the point where he enters his credit card information, but his card is declined due to lack of funds.
He runs out of time and his tickets are released back in to the pool. His wife is probably going to throw him in the pool when she finds out.
10:15:00 a.m. (15 minutes) John’s tickets are now available for sale again. Even though the show appeared to be sold out twice before, tickets are once again available.
10:15:04 a.m. Enter Bob. Bob snaps up John’s tickets. But Bob is a slow typist.
10:30:00 a.m. (30 minutes) Bob gets to the point where he enters his credit card information, but he can’t find his credit card.
He didn’t create an account in advance. His credit card is in his jeans upstairs. Tick tock. Tick tock.
10:30:45 a.m. He runs out of time and his tickets are released back in to the pool.
10:30:46 a.m. Bob’s tickets are now available for sale and tickets are once again available
As you can see, even though the show appeared to be sold out multiple times, tickets become available over and over again until every transaction has been completed and every ticket is accounted for a ‘sold’.

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