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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning

"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

Tickets and Groceries

Attention Scalpers: The TU is reporting today that the county has dumped Ticketmaster as the vendor for tickets at the Knickerbocker Pepsi Arena. Apparently, tickets.com outbid Ticketmaster for the contract:
Tickets.com, in beating out its chief competition, Ticketmaster, offered to provide the Pepsi with a revenue share of nearly $900,000 more over the term of the contract.
Two thoughts here:

1) My god the Internet is great for business competition: Wasn't it just last decade that Ticketmaster- after it shoved out Ticketron - was quickly becoming a monopoly? Now it's being outbid by an outfit called Tickets.com? I thought the dot-com bubble burst like 6 years ago. I wonder if this will mean fewer surcharges. Paging Eddie Vedder!

Tickets.com is owned by...Major League Baseball? Who knew!

2) The Price Chopper angle: Apparently, you will also be able to buy Pepsi Arena tickets at Price Chopper:
The Golub Corp., owner of Price Chopper, negotiated its own contract with Tickets.com. Supermarket spokeswoman Mona Golub said the stores will receive a commission to cover the costs of selling tickets. She declined to say how much.

"We at Price Chopper are very excited about this partnership," she said. "It's safe to say it will happen by the end of the month."

The company will profit in the long run "from having customers and traffic roll into stores," Golub said.

Eventually, ticket sales could be extended from the initial 20 stores to all 37 Price Choppers in the greater Capital Region, five stores in the Berkshires and one in Bennington, Vt., Golub said.

In some ways this is quite a surprise. Not to harp on the "back in the 90's" theme, but this would have been huge news in, say, 1992. I can remember when the Bookmark bookstore in Newtown Plaza on Route 9 became a ticketmaster outlet around 1991. For a while, it was the big secret for getting great concert tickets. All the suckers would be down in long lines at the arena or trying to get through on the phone, and meanwhile there would be 7 people in line at the Bookmark, all of whom would have their tickets 2 minutes after they went on sale. It was great. I remember going there with my dad to get tickets to the Siena-Tulane NIT game, getting pretty darn good downstairs seats, and then watching the news that night show all the disappointed people who couldn't get a ticket down at the arena.

But the point, of course, is that the Internet has rendered such secrets - and the whole concept of going somewhere to buy a concert ticket - totally moot. It really doesn't matter if you can buy tickets at Price Chopper, since you can buy tickets now (and print them out) sitting in your bedroom in your underwear. I'm actually surprised that Price Chopper is getting into the ticket business now - it seems like a service that was basically designed for the internet to completely swallow.

P.S. According to the TU article, Tickets.com is promising an easier to navigate website than the Ticketmaster one. That's kind of surprising - I always thought that Ticketmaster did a good job with their online sales division.

P.P.S. That's a real tearjerker in the above paragraph, eh? Siena in the NIT and selling out the Pepsi! God, that seems like ages ago...

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