How Can Ticket Brokers Sell Tickets on Stubhub Before They Go On Sale?

This is a question that a lot of people ask when certain high-demand events go on sale — How can Stubhub sell tickets before they go on sale?

There’s actually some interesting differences based on what kind of ticket listings you’re seeing online, and some can lead to costly mistakes if you don’t know what you’re buying.

Without further ado; let’s jump into the 3 ways Ticket Brokers list tickets on Stubhub before they are technically “on-sale” from the venue.

1. “Season” Tickets

Sometimes, there isn’t anything nefarious going on with these “early” ticket listings.  On occasion, a ticket broker or an individual will be able to list a certain section for sale because they’ve guaranteed the rights to their seats for a full “season” or year’s worth of shows.  This can actually happen for concerts or other shows — not just sports.

It might be hard to distinguish these listings from the other “bad” listings we’re going to talk about in a few seconds; and there may be reason to avoid them anyway – so let’s keep moving on.

2. “Early” Pre-sale

Was there a pre-sale that you didn’t know about?

If you heard on the radio “Tickets go on sale Dec. 25th”; it’s very possible that pre-sales may have started on the 20th or 21st.  If you’re looking in between that gap of dates; then it’s most likely that brokers have already bought tickets from the pre-sales being offered and are simply listing those for sale.

This proves the point that it’s always best to look for pre-sales for something that you want to see & you think is going to be a high-demand show. usually does a good job of announcing pre-sales and listing codes on their site (As well as searching sites like Twitter).  You shouldn’t ever pay for pre-sale codes.

*If you’re reading this and you’re in that gap between Pre-sale and On-Sale for a high demand show, I usually still recommend trying to buy directly from the primary Ticket Seller early in the “On-Sale” process (meaning 1 second after On-Sale time).

However, that does leave the possibility that you won’t get any tickets there and prices will begin to creep up.. You’ll have to use your best judgement there, and as always ask the question: “Am I willing to pay this price for this ticket?”

3. Spec (Sucker Listings)

This is actually the most common form of early Stubhub listings and it’s a bad idea to buy them.  Let’s take a look at what happens:

Again, using the example that an “On-Sale” date is Dec. 25th, and let’s say the first pre-sales start on Dec. 20th. You’re looking for tickets on Dec. 15th and see that Stubhub already has listings… weird, right?

These listings very well may be what I call “Sucker Listings”.  Basically, ticket brokers are going on and offering seats (usually ones that aren’t very good) at prices that are very high above face value.

This gives them the opportunity to actually buy tickets during the pre-sale/on-sale process that are much cheaper and simply fill your order that way.

You’re almost never going to find good value on Stubhub or any other ticketing site that’s offering tickets before they go on sale for that reason… it’s simply a broker fishing and hoping that you’ll pay waaaaay too much for something you could get for face value just a few days later.

Overall, it’s almost never a good idea to buy from the Secondary Market (Stubhub, Seat Geek, etc.) before tickets go on sale on the Primary market.  The listings tend to be high above face value — when you have an opportunity to buy at face value in the next few days.

Utilizing Pre-sales and exclusive offers for tickets is generally the best way to buy — but “Be Early” if you’re trying to buy for a show that is in high-demand!

If you have personalized ticketing questions; feel free to email me at or leave a comment below.  I can’t make guarantees about pricing issues but I will help you the best I can!

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