Unless you’re purchasing tickets to a music concert or sporting event that is expected to sell out, buying ADA accessible seats direct from the box office could end up costing you a lot of money.
The majority of ticketed events do not sell out, and large numbers of ticket holders turn to third-party resellers like StubHub to offload surplus tickets at deep discounts. For nearly every Major League Baseball game this season, you’ll find a thousand tickets or more listed on resale websites — for whatever reason, the owners of those tickets can’t attend or make use of them, and want to recoup a portion of their investment. You should take the discount.
I know, I know, you use a wheelchair and the tickets being sold on StubHub probably aren’t for ADA accessible seating locations. 9 times out of 10, that doesn’t matter.
To ensure the disabled fans have an equal opportunity to benefit from resale markets, the U.S. Department of Justice requires sports teams and concert venues to exchange standard tickets for accessible ones. In its accessible seating and ticket sales fact sheet, the DoJ advises that “an individual who has purchased a non-accessible seat through the secondary market but needs an accessible seat must be permitted to exchange the ticket for a comparable accessible seat, if one is available.”
Before purchasing a ticket through an online resale marketplace, it’s important to make sure that the team or venue has ADA accessible seating available in the same or better section — you don’t want to buy a high price ticket (even at a discount), only to be relocated to the bleachers.
I purchase most of my event tickets through StubHub and this was the case during my recent trip to Fenway Park, where I watched the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Boston Red Sox. Via StubHub, I found a great deal on a ticket in section 164 — the price was $43 including all fees. To purchase an ADA accessible seat in that same section from the Red Sox ticket office, I would have had to pay $91 plus a ticketing fee — more than double the price.
I purchased a ticket through StubHub, then visited the guest services desk at Fenway Park to exchange it for an accessible seat — within a few minutes, I had a new ticket for an ADA accessible wheelchair space in the same section and enjoyed an exciting baseball game while saving more than 50% off the ticket’s face value.
Disabled fans have an equal right to take advantage of the discounts offered in the resale ticket market, and I encourage you to pursue that opportunity! Don’t pay full price unless you have to.