Hockey fans have eagerly snapped up seats to the NHL pre-season game dubbed the Nova Scotia Showdown, with some of those tickets now reselling for more than $2,500 each.
The Senators, who will also be playing a pre-season game against the Florida Panthers at Centre 200 in Sydney, have a lineup that includes Nova Scotia’s Drake Batherson.
Events East, which operates Scotiabank Centre, confirmed demand was high — as expected.
A limited number of presale tickets were made available to Halifax Mooseheads season ticket holders on Monday.
Regular ticket sales opened at 11 a.m. Tuesday, with prices ranging from around $69.50 for upper bowl tickets to just under $200 for lower bowl.
The tickets appeared to be a hot commodity because within 30 minutes, the only ones available on Ticketmaster for the event were “verified resale tickets.”
The option on the website allows Ticketmaster customers to set their own prices and sell their tickets, so long as the event organizer allows it. In these transactions, Ticketmaster facilitates the resale and charges both the seller and buyer fees.
Gillian Stanton was among those logged on to the Ticketmaster site Tuesday morning, and was in the queue 10 minutes before the 11 a.m. availability.
“But when 11 hits, there’s 2,000-plus people waiting in line before me. So I just kind of casually waited to see what would happen and then my phone refreshed, I found out all the tickets were sold out,” she said.
“And then I looked at the resale because there’s already tickets up for resale and they’re already up by hundreds of dollars.”
By the afternoon, resale prices ranged from $581.59 ($84.49 of which were fees and taxes) for upper bowl seats to a whopping $2,632.50 ($382.50 of which were fees and taxes) for a lower bowl seat in Section 22.
Last month, Scotiabank Centre announced it would no longer sell its tickets exclusively through Ticket Atlantic, and switch to Ticketmaster instead.
Both Ticket Atlantic and Scotiabank Centre are managed and operated by Events East, a special-purpose government agency created between the province of Nova Scotia and Halifax Regional Municipality.
When the change was first announced, there were already concerns among Nova Scotians about ticket pricing and resale inflation.
Stanton, who is an avid eventgoer, was immediately leery about the switch and was interested in testing out the ticketing system when the Penguins-Senators tickets went on sale. She said Ticketmaster’s resale option incentivizes reselling, and makes inflating prices easier due to anonymity.
“With the digital market, that enables a bunch of people across the world to come over and buy tickets, raise the prices,” she said.
Adria Young, a communications advisor for Events East, told Global News in June that Scotiabank Centre had worked with Ticketmaster to “ensure minimal impact.”
“Scotiabank Centre continues to work closely with event organizers and our ticketing provider to ensure ticket prices are consistent with the industry and our market.”
Young added that ticket fees are determined on an event-by-event basis and are “in line with industry standards.”
But Stanton worries she’ll be priced out of more concerts and events down the road.
“I think it’s worth raising awareness because it’s hurting Nova Scotians overall. We’re already stressed. We’re already financially down,” said Stanton.
“The most we can do is staycations, and if our staycations are overpriced already — like if I’m looking at five grand to go see Sidney Crosby, that’s ridiculous.”