Houston Rodeo tickets being sold for thousands of dollars apiece, officials angry

by Courtney Zubowski / KHOU 11 NEWS

HOUSTON (KHOU) -- The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is coming and as usual, some major concerts will be part of the show.

However, the KHOU 11 News I-Team found it may cost you thousands of dollars to get a good seat at some of the shows. That has some folks at the Rodeo steaming mad because they're not the ones charging those ridiculous prices.

Every year, many rodeo tickets are spoken for long before the box office opens. They go to season ticket holders and other Rodeo insiders.

The question is, are some of those people cashing-in and selling their tickets to brokers who jack-up the prices for people like you.

"Well, I'm a little disappointed," said Shawn Byrne, a Jason Aldean fan. We found him outside the Rodeo Houston box office Tuesday afternoon as he purchased some of the remaining tickets for the show.

"Only 600's are available, like upper deck" said Byrne.

But on a website like StubHub.com, the KHOU 11 News I-Team found great seats for the same concert, in some cases on sale for hundreds of dollars.

"It's really not fair at all," said Ben Castillo, who we also met outside the box office. "Scalping just raises the prices for everyone else."

And worse, the I-Team discovered websites had concert tickets before the rodeo started selling them to the public.

So how'd they get them?

According to Rodeo Chief Operating Officer Leroy Shafer, the source could possibly be the Rodeo's own season ticket holders and other Rodeo insiders.

"It not only concerns me, it infuriates me," Shafer told KHOU 11 News. "It is a big problem."

You see, before the Rodeo's box office ever opened, more than 900,000 tickets were sold to Rodeo members, volunteers, and most of all, season ticket holders. They got a lot of great seats, seats that can go for big bucks on the open market.

Take R&B singer Bruno Mars. An upfront seat from the Rodeo should cost $24 dollars at the box office or $28 on-line at Ticketmaster, but we found lots of those seats being sold on the web for $600 apiece.

For the Lady Antebellum concert, the Rodeo price for a seat on the field is $25 dollars at the box and $29 on Ticketmaster. We found lots of those seats also being sold on the web for $600.

And let's not forget about George Strait. Ticket brokers are selling a primo seat for nearly $11,000.

However the Rodeo's longtime leader has had enough.

"If it's a season ticket holder and we can prove they are selling our tickets, reselling our tickets for higher than face value, we'll revoke their rights to sell tickets," said Shafer.

Shafer pointed out that the rodeo policy against up-selling tickets is clearly stated on the back of each ticket and on the Rodeo website. http://rodeohouston.com/

Shafer also warns if you're thinking of buying a scalped ticket, it may be money, a whole lot of money, for nothing.

"If we find these tickets are not being validly represented the way we want them to be, we can invalidate them," he said.

Shafer says he doubts that volunteers or members are the ones scalping the tickets, but he says if they are, they could be kicked out.

He did say that as of Tuesday, about 60 would-be ticket buyers are under investigation for scalping.


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