StubHub vs. Ticketmaster: Where to Get the Best Cheap Tickets

Since eBay acquired it in 2007, StubHub has given Ticketmaster a run for its money in live event ticket sales. StubHub began as a digital ticket scalping agency that sold secondary tickets instead of primary event tickets like Ticketmaster. Today, both ticket brokers serve as primary ticket resellers and dealers for those who want to buy sporting event and concert tickets without visiting a box office.

Discover which of the two ticket sellers gives fans the best shot at getting cheap concert tickets, cheap event tickets, cheap NBA tickets and cheap NFL tickets.

StubHub vs. Ticketmaster
VendorStubhubTicketmaster
FeesApplicable service, delivery and transaction feesService fee/charge and order processing fee, which varies by event
Resale service fee for each fan-to-fan resale ticket
Facility charges (not from Ticketmaster) for venues
Ease of useCan search by event, artist, team or venue
Can set filters to narrow selection and view a venue map
Can search site by artist, team, venue or event type
Can view venue maps
Can choose number of tickets and how much you want to spend
PricesJohn Legend tickets for May 28  in Los Angeles start at $88 — cheapest seats available in middle/front of Section A are $399.John Legend tickets for May 28  in Los Angeles start at $49.50 — cheapest seats available in middle/front of Section A are $422.
Customer ServiceLive chat available 24/7
Phone operators available 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday (local times)
Web contact form
Refund/Return PoliciesFull refund on any invalid tickets or if event is canceled and not rescheduledFull refunds available from participating venues/teams within 72 hours of purchase

StubHub

Like Ticketmaster, StubHub prices vary depending on the venue, date and event. For example, you can buy concert tickets to see John Legend on May 28 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles for as little as $88. The cheapest tickets in the middle and front of Section A are $399, so if you’re expecting a big tax refund, you might want to treat yourself to the better seats.

A ticket’s cost, however, goes beyond face value. Customers typically pay service, delivery or transaction fees — or a combination of all three.

StubHub offers FanProtect, a 100 percent guarantee on all orders. If the event is canceled and not rescheduled or if the tickets aren’t valid, you’ll get a full refund. StubHub also tries to find replacement tickets for you if anything goes wrong.

StubHub Advantages and Disadvantages

StubHub Pros:

  • Good selection of customer service platforms
  • Can search by event, artist, team or venue
  • Can apply filters and view venue maps to find your ideal seats

StubHub Cons:

  • Service charge and other fees frequently applicable
  • No price alert feature
  • Can’t view total number of available event tickets

See: Here’s How Much It Will Cost You to See a Game at These Must-See Stadiums Across America

Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster pricing depends on many factors, including ticket availability. Tickets to see the same John Legend concert, on May 28 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, start at $49.50. The cheapest seats available in the middle and front of Section A are $422.

Ticketmaster, which merged with Live Nation in 2010 and verifies tickets for the NFL Ticket Exchange, has a better return policy than StubHub. You can cancel for a full refund for any reason within 72 hours and you can upgrade to different seats at any time, provided they’re the same price or more than the originals. The return policy has some exceptions however; one is that it doesn’t apply to VIP seating.

Like StubHub, you can expect to encounter charges beyond the ticket’s face price, including delivery, resale service, ordering and processing fees, plus facility charges and taxes.

Ticketmaster Advantages and Disadvantages

Ticketmaster Pros

  • Search by event, artist, team, venue or entertainment genre
  • Can filter by price and view venue maps to find your ideal seats
  • Excellent return policy

Ticketmaster Cons

  • Customer service via web form only
  • Extra fees frequently applicable
  • No refunds within a week of the event

Find Out: 7 Ways to Save Money at Coachella, Lollapalooza and Other Music Festivals

Ticketmaster vs. Stubhub: The Verdict

Both Ticketmaster and StubHub receive consistently poor reviews from Consumer Affairs. Disgruntled customers flood the site with similar complaints about both companies, citing issues like misleading language, surprise fees, pressure to buy under a time-out clock, unintentional ticket insurance purchases and receiving tickets for the wrong seats after it was too late to cancel.

In 2015, Stubhub sued Ticketmaster for allegedly muscling NBA season ticket holders to resell tickets through Ticketmaster exclusively. And in 2016, Ticketmaster settled a class-action lawsuit more than a decade old, filed on behalf of 50 million customers who claimed they were gouged by shady facility and convenience fees from which Ticketmaster directly profited.

The StubHub and Ticketmaster websites offer much the same in the areas of format and user experience and their prices are comparable for similar events. In addition, both platforms enable ticket purchase and ticket resale. In the end, there’s no clear verdict — other than that you might be better off if you buy tickets at the box office.

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