We’ve been around the ticket industry for well over a decade. The marketplace has evolved a lot and will continue to do so. We will now share a Vivid Seats vs. SeatGeek vs. StubHub breakdown and try to help you pick the best site when it comes to buying and selling tickets.
Are you having trouble navigating the ticketing world and its transparency? Buying tickets used to be a lot different back in the day. In today’s world with modern technology concertgoers and sports fans have a lot to decide on when it comes to purchasing their tickets.
➜ SEE OUR PICK – The Best Site For You!
The goal is to help you figure out which site will provide you with the best service. We will go over such things as pros and cons, pricing of tickets, fees, selling tickets, and much much more.
We’ll also discuss several other things that you may not know about in the ticketing world. There is a lot more than just buying and selling tickets. Make sure you use the table of contents to help navigate.
Let’s get into the three main sites we want to discuss. Vivid Seats, StubHub, and SeatGeek are some of the biggest ticket sites in the world. Be sure to read our SeatGeek vs. StubHub article as well. It provides even more information.
***Note – We’ll discuss Ticketmaster throughout this article.
A Brief Look at Vivid Seats
This will not be a full review of Vivid Seats as we have an article written right here. They were founded in 2001. The company has grown over the years through customer service and providing tickets for almost every event.
They have several partners backing them including companies such as ESPN, Rolling Stone, and major sports teams like the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. This lets you know that other big companies respect Vivid Seats.
Get to Know StubHub
Since 2000, StubHub has provided ticket buyers and sellers a platform for people to go to events. We discuss this in a StubHub review in more detail. There are several things about StubHub that we do like and a few things that we don’t. Some of the important items are mentioned in our pros and cons section.
StubHub gets a lot of respect from multiple leagues and teams due to the fact that they help sell out their stadiums. Major league baseball, NFL, NBA and much more have signed partnerships with StubHub. How does this help the fan? They provide fan protection guarantees which give a 100% guarantee on your ticket purchase. Being a secondary market reseller things have a tendency to go sideways sometimes. This isn’t always the case and mistakes do happen. StubHub believes they will take care of their customers no matter the event.
We’ll discuss more StubHub features, fees, and everything else below.
SeatGeek is the Fresh Kid
One of the newest players in the resale ticket market is the company called SeatGeek. They were created in 2009 and haven’t stopped growing since. They are considered the biggest ticket search engine in the marketplace. Not only do they operate with their own tickets they also seek out tickets from other resellers and add them to their platform. We provide a whole SeatGeek review right here.
SeatGeek is our favorite ticket resale marketplace right now. There are many great things that SeatGeek provides including guarantees on tickets, customer service, and prices.
You will also find many different partnerships that SeatGeek has. New partnerships get added all the time.
Let’s Get into Some Pros and Cons
- They provide tickets for every event in the country
- Simple search navigation.
- Hundred percent buyer guarantee.
- Mobile push notifications on exclusive deals
- Simple transfer of tickets to other buyers.
- Sometimes fees can be high.
- The mobile app can sometimes be a buggy.
- VIP packages aren’t as strong as other sites
- Customer service is available when needed.
- Tickets from all over the world are available.
- The mobile app continues to get better.
- Sell your tickets with confidence. – The fee is a little high.
- Receives a bad reputation for ticket prices.
- The size of the company lacks a mom-and-pop feel.
- Website platform can be a little clunky
- The largest search engine of tickets.
- Reselling tickets is simple.
- Multiple ticket delivery options.
- A strong mobile ticket app. It makes purchasing easier.
- Notifications of price changes in section. Always stay updated.
- Save money with SeaKGeek using the deal score system.
- The map feature isn’t as clean as Ticketmaster.
- Ticket fees can add up fast.
Pricing of Tickets – Transparency
Let’s Get Something Off Our Chest – Vivid Seats, StubHub, and SeatGeek will provide very similar ticket prices for any particular event. Sometimes, StubHub has the ability to lower the ticket prices just enough to beat out the competition. Having an extremely large volume allows them to lower their margins. This isn’t always the case and sites like Vivid Seats and Seat Geek will have their opportunity to provide cheaper tickets as well.
Point – Ticket prices will vary from site to site but most of the time they will fall real close to each other.
We mentioned transparency in the ticket marketplace. This is something customers have wanted for a very long time. To understand what is happening in the back is really hard to determine what is happening in the front. Let us break this down for you.
A lot of times ticket sellers will place their tickets on one or all of these platforms. The seller will be able to set the price with markup or a markdown. The prices will vary from site to site. One thing is certain if the seller put the tickets up for sale on one site it will most likely be the same price on another. You may see Vivid Seats showing tickets to Justin Bieber for $200 and you may see Justin Bieber for $225 on StubHub. How does this happen?
Grabbing your attention from the competition.
A lot of times sites will mark up or mark down the tickets to get you to the point of check out. This isn’t always favorable for the customer but company to company it’s a must-have to compete. Fees, which we will discuss next are the biggest part of how the ticket prices and transparency are involved.
Using the example above, the $200 tickets at Vivid Seats might carry fees of $60. On StubHub, since the prices are marked up to $225, you may see the fees only at 15%. If you do the math, these prices will equal about the same. One will be $260 while the other will be around $259. One way or another the price set by the seller gets met.
The “Check Out” is something you need to keep an eye out for. If you can gain an understanding of ticket prices, fees and the seat location you can start to understand how these companies come to a certain price. The original seller or ticket broker sets the price. How it is displayed is set by the ticket marketplace site.
Things have been changing in the industry and we’ll most likely see a lot more transparency on ticket prices and fees going forward. It may take some time to implement but you can be sure that the first company that implements positive transparency to their customers will gain the most amount of customers going forward. It’s up to them to provide us with a valuable service for a reasonable cost.
The Story About Ticket Fees
The worst part about buying tickets is the fees. There is no doubt this is what makes the customer the most frustrated. You finally find seats with a decent price only to be deceived at checkout. Some sites like SeatGeek allow you to apply fees to their platform. This allows you to see how much you’re actually going to pay when it’s time to pay.
The advantage of applying the fees is knowing how much you will have to spend on tickets. This will avoid situations of being in the dark.
StubHub adds on the fees at checkout and they average between 15% and 30% of the ticket price. This will, of course, vary from event to event. You don’t have anything else to do other than log in to see how much your seats will cost at checkout.
Sites like Vivid Seats will only show you the fees after you fill out certain data at checkout. You either need to log into your account or provide credit card information. Although your credit card will not be charged you will not see the actual ticket price fees until after you enter it. Their reasoning behind doing this is to provide that competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Vivid Seats thinks this is a way they can compete against certain companies. Although this is understandable we are not sure if this is the way they should push going forward.
Fees are a dirty word in the ticket industry. Unfortunately, this will always be part of buying tickets. With potential new legislation coming out, the question is, will these fees diminish?
Fees will definitely not go away but they could change in the favor of the customer. Keep an eye out for which of these three companies modifies their system to give their customers a better advantage.
The Process of Buying Tickets – Case Study
Now that we’ve gone through the different things about pricing and fees let’s get into how you would buy tickets.
We show you the pre-purchases of tickets for the same event using all three sites. We will also show you how the prices will change for both the price of the ticket and the fees. There are good times to buy NBA tickets but we went ahead and selected a random event.
Vivid Seats Purchasing
- From image one to image two for Vivid Seats the price of the tickets exploded at checkout. We went from $201 a ticket to $268 a ticket. Pretty shocking.
- Definitely not always the case but StubHub is more expensive all around for this event. Will this happen all the time, NO WAY!
- SeatGeek is our favorite site to work with. For one dollar more we would suggest you try them out.
Final Breakdown – Two Tickets in the Same Section
We mentioned this above, sometimes one side wins over the other while others will be really close. In this case, StubHub took the short end of it by costing around $88 more than the others. However, if we choose a random event and section again it could be the total opposite.
*** Always consider this when price shopping.
Selling Your Tickets for the Best Price
All three companies provide a selling platform. Whether your are a ticket broker or a season-ticket holder, Vivid Seats, StubHub and SeatGeek provide a way of selling your tickets. You get to upload your tickets on their platform relatively easily. Depending on the event transferring your seats should not take long. There are times where tickets are provided by certain promoters that require an extra step.
One of the best ways of transferring your tickets is through a mobile transfer. This is probably the easiest way about getting your tickets to the buyer. StubHub, Vivid Seats, and SeatGeek all provide the same methods of transfer. They also take care of it when it comes down to your event.
You may see lines such as tickets that will be delivered to you within two days of the event. This is mainly for security reasons and avoids fraudulent activity. Most tickets use a barcode that changes. This tries to avoid situations of fraud.
Make sure you read methods of transfer when you purchase your tickets. These can vary across the board. Of course instant delivery is the best way of getting your tickets.
Below you will see images of the different platforms and how you can sell your tickets. Of course, you will need your own login. Once that’s created you can start uploading your tickets. We highly recommend you don’t list your tickets on multiple platforms at the same time. You may run into a situation where your seats get purchased at multiple platforms at the same time. If this should happen and there is a double sale you will be forced to pay back the customer.
If you plan to sell multiple tickets throughout the year consider a point-of-sale system to help you navigate selling your tickets. This gives you the best opportunity to sell to all locations. There are plenty of companies out there that will do this for a nominal fee.
Remember, there are always fees when buying tickets but there are also fees for selling tickets. Currently, StubHub has a 15% fee for selling your tickets. An example would be if you sold a ticket for $100. A 15% fee would make the gross revenue at $85. If your original price of the purchase was $50 you would have a profit of $35.
Don’t forget if you make a ton of sales you will receive a 1099 from the companies. You will have to pay taxes on the gains you’ve made. Keep track by using a spreadsheet or other means if you plan on buying and selling tickets in the future.
Vivid Seats provide a full refund for events that are canceled and not rescheduled. If you receive an invalid ticket you will be refunded 100% of your purchase. This makes their 100% buyer guarantee a feasible option when purchasing your tickets.
StubHub provides fan protection. This is a fancy word for saying they will help you should you have a problem. They also have a 100% guarantee on your tickets. You can also expect good customer service until your event is over. Refunds are available on canceled and non-rescheduled events.
SeekGeek has its own guarantee. Receive authentic tickets on time or your money back. The other great thing about SeatGeek is their price match guarantee. Just like in every marketplace if you find a better deal you can come back to the original company and show them. This will allow you to get that particular price on those tickets. This is something we think all companies in the ticket industry should strive for. Keep an eye out for new great things from SeatGeek.
Searching for Events
When it comes to finding tickets the search feature is probably the most important part of the site. This section will break down which site provides the best search features.
SeatGeek provides a pretty basic search engine with deep underworkings. You can consider them as a Google of ticket search. They really focus on giving you the best results based on the term you are searching for.
In this case, you can see we typed in Boston Celtics. We have the option of selecting the Boston Celtics or even the Boston Celtic Music Festival. I guess they wanted to make sure you weren’t actually seeking that particular event. They also list a couple of different events below that.
Vivid Seats provide similar results but more based on the Celtics alone. As you can see we have Boston Celtics and Boston Celtics parking. Parking passes are very important when buying your tickets. Notice the games below. Sunday, April 5 is slated to be one of the top games of the year. This is probably the most sought-after game for the Boston Celtics at home.
StubHub goes a little bit further with their search. They provide a live look-in of how many people are actually viewing a particular team or event. In this case, you can see there are over 1800 people viewing Boston Celtics information. You can also see that they offer parking passes and VIP packages as well. The other sites did not do that. The games listed below are also an interesting piece because they are both away. One is in Toronto and one is in Detroit. Obviously, you can select the more events button and the results will show Boston Celtics on StubHub.
Based on the images and searches we’ve done we think StubHub provides a little bit more of an advantage over SeatGeek and Vivid Seats in the search criteria. SeatGeek is known as a ticket search engine but they seem limited on some of the little things that people may want to see. If you know what you are searching for you shouldn’t have any problems.
A lot is going to change over the next couple of years in the ticket industry. This is very important for consumers and all businesses associated with ticketing. Based on our results SeatGeek provides a little bit more transparency upfront than the rest. Vivid Seats actually makes you verify your account before you see your fees. StubHub provides the fees at checkout as well.
What will change in the future? This is still hard to determine since each site is competing for your business. Sites will show prices that may be less than the other but at the same time markup fees on the back end.
Finding that middle ground of the same price ticket is going to be quite difficult. Big companies such as Ticketmaster and StubHub will always have an advantage over the small guys because of their margins and volume. We’ll see how things evolve over the next year or two.
Something we want to bring up that will be discussed in a future article is the Ticketmaster and Live Nation conglomerate. Ticketmaster has been in the game the longest and will most likely be here for a very long time to come. When it comes to purchasing tickets on the primary market 75% of purchases are made at Ticketmaster or Live Nation. Most promoters select Ticketmaster and Live Nation.
This leaves everyone else in the dark waiting to buy tickets from Ticketmaster only to resell them on the sites mentioned here today.
Why should Ticketmaster and Live Nation have such a stronghold on all the tickets?
This is a question millions of people of been asking for years. Yes, Ticketmaster provides the seats we all wish to get. Sometimes it’s best to let everyone have an option and not let TM have it all for themselves. There are plenty of opinions about Ticketmaster and in due time recourse will be had.
We would not be discussing these other sites today if it wasn’t for the Ticketmaster situation. Resellers like StubHub are dependent on people purchasing their tickets using Ticketmaster pre-sales and on-sales. The public has a hard time getting the best seats available because of ticket brokers buying the best tickets from Ticketmaster.
If we look at this from an unbiased perspective of Ticketmaster and Live Nation what is the best possible solution? Somehow a marketplace needs to be created for tickets to get purchased. With so many different sites going after the initial offerings it’s quite difficult if Ticketmaster has the majority of the seats.
Ticketmaster will also resell certified tickets on their own site which competes with sites like Vivid Seats, StubHub, and SeatGeek. This is something that legislation needs to make sure is watched and hopefully change. They play both the primary and secondary markets.
This isn’t a post about Ticketmaster but it’s important that we share our opinion about how these other sites are getting left out. Let us know your opinion about Ticketmaster.
Other Ways to Get Tickets
There are other ways to get tickets to events. These can be a little bit riskier. Most likely, you’ve heard of the site Craigslist. This is a huge marketplace for all cities around the nation.
Tickets are definitely one of the big items for people to buy and sell. People who don’t want to use the sites listed here will use other resources such as Craigslist.org and hopefully get a good deal. Buyers, on the other hand, hope the person they are buying from is legit.
Craigslist is also used by multiple ticket brokers. You will likely be driven to sites that are similar to Vivid Seats and get similar ticket options.
Sites like eBay work in a very similar way as Craigslist. People will list their tickets and buyers can act on the listing. The prices that you will see will be the prices that you will have to pay. This is a lot different than if you were to go to a ticket reseller like StubHub or SeatGeek. Usually the price you see on the eBay listing is the final price at checkout. So if you see tickets costing more on eBay it may be because the fees and everything else is included.
Things you need to look out for are shipping costs. Look for a mobile ticket transfer. This will be the easiest way to get your tickets. eBay does provide some security in which Craigslist does not. Should you have a problem receiving your tickets on eBay you can contact the consumer conflict support program. It’s almost like having the 100% money-back guarantee the other providers have. eBay will make sure that the person that sold you the tickets gives you a full refund if necessary.
There is nothing like peace of mind when it comes to ticket purchasing. There are a lot of sites out there trying to gain your trust. Sometimes you need to take a chance on them and hopefully get a good result.
Gift Cards and Promotions
Some sites offer different kinds of promotions and gift cards. We noticed SeatGeek does not provide gift cards. This isn’t the end of the world but it would be a nice feature. This will allow someone to provide gifts for their friends and family.
Vivid Seats and StubHub both have gift card options available. In fact, you have multiple options at StubHub. You have an e-Gift Card or Plastic Gift Card. You can even make bulk orders. They do have several card policies and terms and conditions. Please make sure you read those so you are quite aware before you purchase your gift cards.
Currently, at StubHub, you can purchase gift cards up to $1000. They do charge a shipping fee “of course” of $2.95. You can then personalize your message and send it off.
Vivid Seats works in a similar fashion so be sure to check their terms and conditions. You can send out an e-gift card or plastic card for any amount of up to $1000.
As for promotions, all three sites offer certain deals throughout the year. As we get closer to major events you can expect certain discounts to pop up. You can get on the email lists, text notification lists, or just check out the site frequently to see how you can save. These don’t come around very often but if they do check out the discount codes and promo codes to help you save money on your purchase.
Tip When Buying at Vivid Seats – If you get to the checkout at Vivid but don’t pull the trigger the odds are pretty good you’ll get an email from them within 24 hours. They will offer you the same seats for a discount of 5-10%. Keep that in mind if you want to save a little more money.
Ticket Affiliate Programs
Vivid Seats, StubHub, and SeatGeek all offer some kind of developer or affiliate program. They allow sites like us to connect to their API ticket information. We can then produce our own content and provide seats to any one of these three locations. A lot of ticket sites use affiliates to help draw business while providing a commission.
We are fortunate to be working with several sites like StubHub and SeatGeek. Sometimes buying tickets can be a little dark and we want to shed some light so you are ready. That leaves us with one more thing.
Who Wins the Ticket Site Battle?
Does it all come down to price? We think customer service is a close second when picking a ticket provider. There are a lot of things to consider when you finally make that purchase.
All three sites have something to provide their customer. We feel like if you purchase your tickets at either one you’ll be in good hands.
Here at ticketsto.org, we think SeatGeek takes the top spot of the three sites. They are the newest site of the three but offer a fresh way of buying tickets. There are several features within their search engine that allow you to find the best prices possible.
We hope this Vivid versus StubHub versus SeatGeek explanation helps you. We know how difficult it can be. Good luck with your next purchase and we look forward to helping you in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions about these Sites
The best way to explain SeatGeek is in the form of a search engine. Their technology digs through all the tickets available on the market and shares the best deals with you.
Yes, but these will be very specific. Once you have an account you’ll most likely get a mailer about Promo Codes when they are ready.
We’ve been working with them for four years and have had some great experiences. We expect them to continue to take market share from the rest.
This is as simple as getting your tickets and uploading them to your account. Assuming you have your tickets in hand.
You would need to create an account and then upload the transfer you received from the site you bought from. This could be a flash seat, mobile transfer or other means.
We go through this in great detail. Make sure you read about creating your account and listing tickets.
StubHub isn’t here to swindle you out of money. They make plenty. They want you to have the best experience of buying and selling tickets. We feel like they are super reliable.
This will most likely depend on your volume but to get started you can expect a fee of 15%.
Think about buying and selling anything. StubHub creates a market place for buyers and sellers to meet on tickets. Purchases are made and StubHub collects a fee on all sales.
StubHub makes it really easy to sell your tickets. Once you have your tickets you can immediately upload them to their site. By using your account you can have them uploaded quickly.
We break this down in great detail. After creating your account, all you would need to do is upload your tickets and fill out the details. It will then be placed on the marketplace for buyers to see.
This will depend on the actual seller. A lot of times you will receive an instant transfer to your mobile device. There are multiple ways but two days out from the event is very common.
We break this down in our fee section. You can expect to pay anywhere between 15-30% on the price of the ticket.
They back their product by a 100% money-back guarantee. Of course, mistakes could happen so be ready for that but rest assured you’ll be taken care of.
You have two options with VS. You can either buy tickets or sell them. They offer a marketplace for buyers and sellers to come together while providing good customer service.