The 25 Hardest-To-Score Tickets of 2018
You'll never believe the ticket that costs a million dollars.
The least expensive ticket of 2018, according to eBay-owed ticket reseller StubHub, went for a mere $6, for a Harry Styles concert this summer in Indianapolis. A lucky fan snatched up the deal, which was a pretty impressive markdown from the average price of around $75 to see Styles in concert.
But don’t be fooled, discounts like this are a rarity. Tickets this year have more often been in the astronomical range, whether it’s seeing your favorite artist on stage or scoring seats to a hot new Broadway show or cheering on your favorite sports team. People may grumble about it, but the insane price tags haven’t slowed down demand. If anything, the more ridiculously expensive and difficult to find a ticket is, the more people seem to covet it. We want something the rest of the world can’t have, even if paying for it means we can’t afford food and clothing for the rest of the year.
Here are the top 25 most sought-after tickets this year, which might make you roll your eyes while simultaneously salivating with ticket envy.
Average secondhand price: $478.98
In a year when they became the first-ever Korean performers to top the Billboard 200 album chart, K-pop boy band BTS—or the Bangtan Boys—also became the biggest touring act in the world. Tickets for last summer’s “Love Yourself” U.S. tour went for an average of $478.98, according to ticket marketplace TickPick. And the price demand is only rising. For an upcoming show in Singapore, tickets are long gone, unless you’re willing to fork over $12,888 for so-so seats.
Average secondhand price: $1,450
A sequel to J.K. Rowling’s best selling boy-wizard series—the play takes place 19 years after the book ends, following Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s kids as they enter Hogwarts—it was guaranteed to be a hit on Broadway before anyone had even seen it. Despite attempts to control scalpers with Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan system, tickets were soon being sold at sites like StubHub for upwards of $5,600. The price eventually came down, and you can now score a pair of tickets for a more reasonable…. gulp… $1,450. At least you’re getting a lot for your money—”Cursed Child” is a two-part play that runs a total of six hours.
Average secondhand price: $6,140.50
The New Yorker called it “the biggest fight in boxing,” so of course tickets—which ranged in price from $77 to $1,553—went predictably fast at the Staples Center website. If you weren’t one of the lucky few and still wanted to see British heavyweight Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury take on world champion (and Alabama native) Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, a few tickets popped up on sites like StubHub, going for a jaw-dropping $6,140.50.
Average secondhand price: $444
Even though L.A. hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2013, the Lakers have been one of the hottest tickets in basketball, with average resale prices ($444) just slightly less than tickets for two-time defending NBA champions the Golden State Warriors ($463). And during the offseason, Laker tickets were selling for 48% more on the secondary market than they were last year. It’s mostly because of LeBron James, who left the Cavaliers this summer to join the Lakers, and anticipation is high that he could turn the team around, just like he did for Cleveland by helping to break their 50-year sports curse.
Average secondhand price: $238
The classic rockers’ “An Evening with the Eagles” tour, their first since founding member Glenn Frey died in 2016 didn’t exactly sound like the most anticipated live act of the year. And yet according to TickPick, the average resale price for an Eagles tickets was $238, beating out younger and more Millennial-friendly acts like Ed Sheeran ($228) and Taylor Swift ($208). And as some fans have complained online, an “Official Platinum Seat” can fetch closer to $1,000. That’s pretty darn high to hear “Hotel California” for the one-millionth time!
Average secondhand price: $4,000
The championship game between longtime rivals University of Georgia and University of Alabama was “one of the hottest tickets in college football history,” according to ESPN. On StubHub, the prices ranged from $2,319 all the way up to $4,000, which is 41 percent higher than the last six title games. If you really had some money to burn, the top price was $94,000, which included a suite, parking passes, and plenty of food and grub. Yes, somebody actually forked over that amount on StubHub.
Average secondhand price: $1,500
It wasn’t easy to catch the former First Lady on her 12-city book tour, to promote her new memoir Becoming, even though she mostly spoke at gigantic auditoriums. The most sought-after and impossible-to-get ticket on her tour was for the Chicago appearance, at the United Center with host Oprah Winfrey.
Chicago hadn’t been that voracious for tickets since the Cubs went to the World Series. Ticketmaster required would-be customers to register for the chance of maybe getting tickets. And even those lucky chosen few had price options ranging from $500 (for nosebleed seats) to $2,500 (for seats close enough that you could make out Obama’s face). A few tickets ended up on the resale sites, and they were definitely not for anyone on a budget, with one StubHub seller offering two tickets for $6,700 a piece.
Average price: $0
The tickets are free, but getting into Studio 8H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where Saturday Night Live is taped, is no easy feat. To even qualify for tickets, you have to enter a lottery in late August, by emailing a detailed explanation of “why YOU would like to be a part of our studio audience!”
If you don’t impress them with your answer, you can also try for stand-by tickets, which are released at 7am on Saturday morning on the day of the broadcast. Showing up right at 7 will get you nowhere, as people line up outside 30 Rock hours in advance, sometimes all night. And if you love all things SNL, check out our roundup of the 30 Funniest SNL Skits Ever.
Average secondhand price: $3,750
Amazingly, there were $20 tickets available for Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “On The Run Tour II,” but they were so far back that you’d have a better view of your parked car than hip-hop’s power couple. To be close enough to realize you were at a concert, it cost more in the ballpark of $1,995. And that’s only if you acted fast. The tour sold out quickly, and resale tickets at StubHub were going for $3,750.
Average price: $200,000
If you have $200,000 to spare, spending it on six minutes of weightlessness in actual outer space might sound like a sound investment. Except tickets have been for sale since 2009, and a lot of rich people—and rich famous people, like Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Tom Hanks, and Leonardo DiCaprio—have also bought tickets, and not a single one of them has been to space yet.
Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Galactic, said in October that the inaugural flight is “more than tantalizingly close,” but he’s been saying things like that for a really long time. There are at least 650 ticket holders waiting… and waiting… and waiting, so if you managed to buy a Virgin Atlantic ticket this year, it likely won’t be many, many more years until your flight is ready for boarding. Our advice: Instead of forking out $200,000, simply read this terrific article about what it’s like to take a ride in Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo by the great writer William Langewiesche.
Average secondhand price: $575
Coachella, an annual music and arts festival held every April near Indio, California, has always been a popular ticket, but this year—which featured headliners like Beyoncé, Eminem, and the Weeknd—sold out unusually fast. General admission was gone within 30 minutes, and even the $999 “VIP experience” went quickly. Resale options on Stubhub were going for an average of $575, and that doesn’t include things like food, lodging, and transportation. Time magazine ballparked that it would take, conservatively, $2,347 to attend this year’s Coachella with the bare minimum necessities.
Average secondhand price: $12,000
Brian Talbot, a ticket broker for TickCo, called the Masters “the toughest tickets to get in the world,” and getting your hands on some isn’t just a matter of having a thick bankroll. Like all of the most coveted tickets, at least some of it comes down to luck.
Tickets sell out fast—as in, faster than you even realized they were on sale. But since 2012, fans are able to register online for the chance to be part of a random drawing of extra tickets. Nobody’s really sure how many tickets are released in any given year, but the number is likely very, very small and the odds of getting even one of those tickets is roughly the equivalent of winning the lottery. The other option is to buy from a broker, and those tickets—if they’re even available at all—can go for as high as $12,000.
Average secondhand price: $1,500
The Lin-Manuel Miranda musical has been on Broadway since 2015, and there are now dozens of touring productions across the globe. You’d think ticket demand would have dropped at least slightly, right? Not really. In Seattle, Hamilton tickets that originally cost $69 were selling for $10,149 at resale sites, and tickets for the musical at Boston Opera House were fetching $1,500 apiece. Down in South Carolina, seats for the opening night of a local production of Hamilton sold at SeatGeek.com for $3,500, and that’s for balcony seats. In South Carolina.
Average secondhand price: $1,250
Maybe it’s all the buzz surrounding her Oscar-worthy performance in A Star Is Born, but ticket sales for Lady Gaga’s first-ever concert residency at the Park MGM in Vegas, Lady Gaga Enigma, have been through the roof, easily outselling Celine Dion and Britney Spears’s respective Vegas shows. Even though she’ll be performing for a minimum of two years, at the 5,200-capacity Park Theatre—so presumably there’s plenty of opportunity to catch Gaga live—resale tickets have been selling for between $535 (for the very back row) to $5,000.
Average secondhand price: $4,370
With the Philadelphia Eagles playing their first Super Bowl since 2005, demand was predictably high for their face-off with the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. But the price tag was shocking even by Super Bowl standards, with tickets ranging from $3,245 to $15,300. And those were the Ticketmaster prices!
By the time tickets got to resellers, the price had jumped to $4,370 for the cheapest options, according to TicketIQ. In fact, TicketIQ called it the second-most expensive ticket prices in Super Bowl history.
Average price: $23,700
If you’ve been thinking of visiting India and also have an extra twenty grand laying around, this luxury train may be the perfect ticket for you. It’s a great way to see some of the country’s most beautiful and historic sites while also being catered to by a private butler and living in a train cabin that’s almost half a mile long. And one of the activities the Maharajas’ Express offers is elephant painting, which hopefully doesn’t happen on the train, but we’re not entirely sure. The point is, these tickets cost over $23,000, which seems like a lot to ride a train in 2018, even with butlers.
Average price: $320
The annual five-day festival took a break in 2018, which may explain why demand was so high when tickets went on sale in October for the 2019 event, despite no announced artist lineup yet and the festival not happening until next summer. Glastonbury completely sold out in a dizzying 30 minutes. But there’s still hope! There are rumors of a secret online sale happening sometime in April, which will come with no advance warning.
Most people heard about last year’s secret sale after the fact, with one lucky customer bragging on Twitter, “Don’t think the feeling of getting a ticket in the secret resale will ever be topped.” Oh, and one more thing: You can’t buy tickets for the secret sale that they won’t tell you when (or if) is really happening unless you’ve registered at their website, and the deadline was November 1st. Sorry!
Average secondhand price: $1,627
It’s nothing like the World Series of 2016, when the Chicago Cubs were coming off a 107-year drought and the average cost was $6,000 a ticket. But the 2018 Series, which pitted the Red Sox against the Dodgers, was no slouch, with average resale ticket costs at around $1,627—the sixth highest in league history—and $2,658 for Game 7, a ticket that turned out to be worthless. (The Series wrapped up in five games.) One couple even paid an unbelievable $20,000 for two front-row seats in Fenway Park for the first game of the Series.
Average secondhand price: $25,000
You can’t get into the Academy Awards unless you’re nominated or accompany somebody who’s nominated. But with enough scratch, you can now buy your way into one of the most exclusive (and heavily photographed) after parties, hosted in Beverly Hills by Vanity Fair Magazine.
Tickets to this year’s party—which included guests like Oscar winners Frances McDormand and Jordan Peele—were sold by ticket broker VIP Concierge for $25,000 at a minimum. According to a New York Times account of last year’s party, “Faye Dunaway took to a couch all alone and asked someone to pass the fries.” Come on, isn’t $25 large ones worth the chance to pass fries to the Bonnie and Clyde and Chinatown actress? The 2019 event promises to be even pricier, with individual tickets currently on the market for a whopping $39,900.
Average secondhand price: $1,290
When Rolling Stones fans learned that tickets for their favorite band’s “No Filter” 2018 tour of Europe cost $500 or more, even in the nosebleed section, they expressed their displeasure on social media. “Gig ticket prices are getting outrageous,” they tweeted. “[Expletive] outrageous,” another raged.
And then the shows started selling out, and resale tickets for their appearance at London Stadium cost $1,290, and the fans complained some more but then bought the tickets anyway. The tour comes to the States next year, and on some dates tickets are going for $1,300 and more.
Average second hand price: $2,300
It was the globe’s biggest sporting event, with an estimated 3.4 billion people watching the month-long football tournament. So obviously, tickets were scarce, with scalpers reportedly getting as much as $2,300 for single matches, according to the Associated Press. Ticket were a hot commodity months before the big event, with so much demand that it crashed the FIFA system. There were 1.3 million requests within 24 hours of the World Cup tickets going on sale, and many customers waited for hours before either being kicked out or paying for tickets that were never confirmed. The FIFA apologized later, claiming the difficulties were caused by “the sheer volume of fans accessing the ticketing platform.”
Average secondhand price: $1,789
Leave it to the Boss to break a Broadway record. According to Forbes, with an average resale price of $1,789—although prices have been as high as $2,280—Springsteen has the highest average ticket price of any Broadway show being sold on the secondary market. Not bad for one guy with a guitar, telling stories, and singing songs you already know.
Average secondhand price: $1,959
The 2018 All-Star Game was the most expensive in at least a decade. The average resale ticket for the big game at Staples Center in LA was $1,959 on StubHub and $1,895 on Vivid Seats. One person even paid $29,510 on StubHub for a pair of tickets behind the basket. Those numbers easily obliterated the previous record holder for insane NBA prices, the 2011 All-Star Game, when $1,100 was considered a not-entirely-insane ticket cost.
Average secondhand price: $729
In the world of mixed martial arts, the Ultimate Fighting Championship-sponsored fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, held in October at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, was the biggest and most difficult-to-find ticket of the year.
The bout sold out three minutes after going on sale, and the cheapest ticket at TicketIQ—which also happened to be the second most expensive UFC event sold by TicketIQ in a decade—went for $729, or almost almost 400% above face value. And again, that was the cheapest option. If you wanted to be in a seat where you could watch the action without binoculars, at a bout that could boast the highest ever attendance for a MMA bout in Nevada, it would cost you (at a minimum) $3,000.
Average price: $1,000,000
Never heard of it? The Secret Solstice is a festival in Iceland celebrates the 96 straight hours of sunlight at the beginning of summer. There are musical acts—in 2018, it featured Slayer, Stormzy, Gucci Mane and Bonnie Tyler—and parties on Europe’s second largest glacier and tours of a centuries-old lava tunnel.
Standard passes go for around $215, but the big ticket, the VIP experience for you and five friends, costs one million dollars. No, that’s not a misprint or an Austin Powers joke. It literally costs $1,000,000. The only million-dollar ticket in the world. It comes with plenty of perks, like a private jet, helicopter tours of the glaciers, a personal “glam squad” to do your hair and makeup for the show, a private chef, a midnight yacht party with the performing artists, and (we’re not kidding about this last part) “all you can eat Icelandic hot dogs.”