In one of our recent classes we discussed price discrimination and the topic of ticket scalping came up. This was interesting because Professor Tufte said economist do not have a good answer on whether venues should or shouldn't allow this practice.
This past summer I was in San Diego with my wife. The main purpose was of our trip was to attend the San Diego Zoo on day 1 and Sea World on day 2. We were done at the zoo around 5:30 pm and decided to drive to Petco Park to watch the Padres play the Pirates where there was an abundance of tickets available. Our plan was to purchase $15 tickets for seats in right field but as we were walking from our car to the box office we found a ticket scalper and bought tickets from him. The tickets we purchased had a face value of $90 each and we bought 2 of them for $60 total.
So what did Petco Park lose by my purchase of tickets from a third party? I purchased the $10 bottomless soda cup, $4 popcorn bucket, four $4 hotdogs, $25 dollar t-shirt for my wife, and a $30 hat for myself. Petco Park lost $30 on ticket sales and $30-$50 in additional purchases I would have made at the ball park had I not purchased $60 tickets from a third party.
Another example of third party ticket sales is from when I went to the Jimmy Buffet concert at MGM Grand in Las Vegas last month. The concert was sold out and we had 2 extra tickets which we were able to resale.
What did MGM Grand and Jimmy Buffet lose? I would argue that MGM and Jimmy Buffet did not lose or gain on my resale of the tickets. The venue had received their asking price for the 2 seats and therefore could not receive any additional income.
After these two experiences of third party ticket sales, the best answer I have is: it depends.