5 Ways to Score Big Event Tickets

Quick reflexes, plenty of preparation, and an iron will are just a few of the qualities you'll need to score tickets to ultra-high-demand events like the Super Bowl, the Olympics, and massive-headliner concerts. Here are five tips (plus a contingency plan for sold-out events) for securing the kind of seats worth traveling the world for.

Jump Through Hoops, and Do It Early

To manage the intense demand to events like the Olympics or Super Bowl, sellers come up with complicated pre-sale hoops for aspiring ticket holders to jump through. For instance, Super Bowl tickets are available through a random drawing that you must sign up for a year in advance. In the early phases of Olympic ticket sales, hopefuls must submit a request that, depending on demand, results in either secured tickets or in a place in a ticket lottery. And at the Sundance Film Festival, you must register two months in advance for a purchase time slot, then wait to see if you get one, and then, weeks later, purchase your tickets.

If you're serious about attending a high-profile event, research the ticketing process well in advance and take appropriate steps before deadlines.

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Make the Most of Memberships

Have my people call your people. Even if you've never uttered this sentence, you may still have an in when it comes to hard-to-get tickets. Fan-club members, season-ticket holders, and other loyal followers often get early access to tickets. Sometimes credit card programs offer exclusive advance ticket sales as a perk, and even credit-card concierges can sometimes score in-demand seats.

Keep Checking Back

If at first you don't succeed, press refresh (or redial). Sometimes ticket sellers don't release all their tickets at once, so with a little perseverance you may find yourself at the front of a line for a new stockpile.

Buy Right When Tickets Go on Sale

Being ready for the big moment when tickets go on sale requires a fair amount of advance planning. To help you remember, many sellers (and performers) offer alerts via email and social media. Also important: making sure you know the time zone of the venue, since that most often determines the start time for ticketing.

If you're buying online, make sure you've set up a user account and logged in before tickets go on sale. Broaden your search to "best available" so you don't have to waste precious seconds searching section by section for available seats. Ticketmaster also advises that buyers use only one browser window at a time (the service bars multiple windows to stop automated programs) and to not refresh your browser more often than every two to three seconds (or risk getting blocked as an automated program).

Have Modest Demands

Sure, you may want to share the moment with 15 of your closest friends, but trying to buy a bunch of tickets at once dramatically lowers your chance of success. Instead, try just a few tickets; you'll be more likely to find availability.

Bonus Tip

If tickets sell out before you get yours, all is not lost. Try a seller such as StubHub, a marketplace for people to buy directly from individuals, ticket brokers, fan-club members, contest winners, and the like. Buyers in search of seats to sold-out events can also try Ebay or Craigslist, or secondary ticket sellers such as TicketFeeder and Viagogo.

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(Photo: Concert via Shutterstock)

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