An economic guide to ticket pricing in the entertainment industry
Pascal Courty∗ Department of Economics London Business School
Ticket markets raise a large variety of pricing questions that are of substantial interest for theoretical economists. They also oﬀer a unique laboratory experiment for empiricists because they exhibit rich sources of price variations. Prices vary because seats are diﬀerent, because seats are located in diﬀerent places, because performances take place on diﬀerent dates, because venues oﬀer diﬀerent complementary goods, or because the promoter bundles several tickets together in a season ticket package, to name just a few examples. Some of these pricing issues have received scant attention as applications of broader economic theories. In the last ten to twenty years, however, ticket pricing as such has started to receive more attention. This recent interest has produced a set of papers that cover both theoretical and empirical issues. What will surprise the reader who fancies these issues is that many of them have been studied in isolation. Surprisingly enough, these works rarely reference each other. In fact, there are many disjoint works on ticket pricing but no real literature per se on the topic. One goal of the paper, then, is to establish that there is a topic that one could call ticket pricing with a corresponding literature. This paper systematically goes through the pricing practices observed in ticket markets and reviews the papers that shed some light on them. Another goal is to evaluate how much we understand about ticket pricing. Based on this review,
∗ I would like to thank Gurdeep Stephens, Victor Ginsburgh and two anonymous referees. All errors are my responsibility.
Recherches Économiques de Louvain – Louvain Economic Review 66(1), 2000
I will try to assess whether ticket market outcomes are broadly consistent with existing pricing theories. As a clarifying note, the paper uses the...