PHOENIX — Standing in the shadow of Chase Field on a rainy afternoon, Jery Brown is looking for customers among those heading to see the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The stadium will wind up not even half full on this Wednesday, but Brown is selling the cache of tickets in his pocket, including seats in the bleachers and along the first base line.
His nephew, who identified himself only as T.B., tells fans that Brown is also buying tickets to tonight’s game – or any other game, for that matter.
“We buy and sell. As long as there’s a demand, we try and find a supply, and we put them together,” Brown said.
He isn’t having the best of luck on this day, in part because of the weather. Fans politely smile or ignore the small group of scalpers trying to peddle tickets.
Brown, a self-proclaimed salesman, said he’s been doing this for two decades, working outside concerts as well as sporting events. It’s turned into a career that provides enough to support a family that includes eight children and stepchildren, he said.
“I’m still making money,” he said. “My babies are eating, I’m still paying rent.”
Scalping, also known as ticket reselling, operates under a supply-and-demand model similar to almost every other market. This secondary market, which doesn’t include the company that originally sold the tickets, is largely unregulated. There are no committees or watchdogs to monitor the techniques and methods of any transaction.
To Stephen Happel, an Arizona State University economics professor, this is exactly how it should be: an unfettered market.
“On game day, I want the market operating,” Happel said. “Let the forces of supply and demand operate.”
In the secondary market, the face value of a ticket means nothing. The selling price reflects the value of the ticket to the buyer based on factors such as the availability of seats, the number of people looking to buy, how willing they are to stand in long lines at the box office, how effective they are at haggling, the popularity of the teams or entertainers and the prices being charged by others.
“The people who should be sitting in the seats are the people who are willing to pay the price,” Happel said.
The addition of these online outlets such as StubHub and Craigslist has balanced the market even more, Happel said, because they give the customers the opportunity find the best and cheapest tickets available for an event.
“I think all things considered it puts more pressure on brokers because people can comparison shop,” Happel said. “It requires the brokers and scalpers to be even better than they were before.”
Brown said he does better outside sporting events when the home team is doing better.
“When the team is really good, we got more buyers, you know?” Brown said. “But the team’s OK, you got a few buyers, so the selling, it could be better. Just like with any market.”
Brown says he can bring in around $200 a game.
While ticket scalping is legal in Arizona, a state law prohibits reselling tickets within 200 feet of a venue’s entrance or connected parking lot.
That has Brown, his nephew and other scalpers outside Chase Field congregating on the southwest corner of Fourth and Jackson streets, across from the stadium’s box office.
T.B., the nephew, will cross the street to the box office lines and try to persuade fans to follow him to the corner.
Brown said he usually can stand right across the street from a stadium without much of a hassle from the authorities. However, he said baseball spring training has become more difficult because of increased security and the number of Cactus League stadiums.
“Since it’s legal we should be able to deal anywhere,” he said. “But sometimes we gotta deal with what the security guard might not like, or the cop might not like, and you can’t really win.”
Brown said he’s willing to teach his children the tricks of the trade but doesn’t want them depending on it.
“They’re all going to college,” he said.
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon