Petty Fan Club Scalpers

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers fan club members who purchased pre-sale tickets to the group’s June 26-27 concerts at St. Paul, Minn.’s Xcel Energy Center might find themselves without seats.

In a move that could be a first in the industry, Petty manager Tony Dimitriades and Ticketmaster have canceled about 460 seats that had been set aside for online fan club members. Canceled seat locations could be found at at press time.

Scalpers apparently joined the Tom Petty fan club in order to purchase pre-sale tickets and resell them for a higher price through secondary outlets – a clear violation of the club’s condition of membership.

“When you join the Tom Petty fan club, you agree that you’re not going to resell the tickets you buy at,” a spokesperson for Tom Petty told Pollstar.

Tom Petty reps were tipped following the March 27th pre-sale, when fan club members posted messages on the site complaining that all the good seats were taken, according to the spokesperson. Dimitriades and TM were soon able to locate the tickets bought by scalpers and void their seats.

“A lot of analyzing of data was done and they were able to find out what tickets were sold online during the pre-sale and match them to tickets that were available online [at a higher price],” the spokesperson explained.

In a posting on Tom Petty’s Web site, Dimitriades said tickets will be offered once again to fan club members under stricter guidelines. Those who buy tickets will have to show a photo ID to pick up the ducats on the night of the concert.

“We don’t claim to have completely eliminated all reselling activity on these of any other shows,” Dimitriades said. “But this is definitely a step in the right direction and a major strike on behalf of the good guys.”

The manager also wrote that fans who purchased tickets through an unauthorized seller would have to deal with that seller in regards to getting a refund.

“These scalpers are in business, and I think if they want to stay in business … they’re going to want to contact the people they sold tickets to and say, ‘Look, something just happened and I feel obligated to let you know about it,'” the spokesperson said.

A similar situation occurred during a March 26th fan club pre-sale for Tom Petty’s June 20th show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. About 800 seats had been canceled for that concert, according to Dimitriades.

He said the canceled tickets would be re-sold to fan club members, who would again be required to pick up the ducats at will call with proper ID.

Meanwhile, a pair of Tom Petty tickets for the MSG show were priced at an “outrageous” $9,000 each at at press time, according to a statement from Tom Petty reps.

Mitchell Peters