When most people are asked the question "Where do you buy your tickets?" the overwhelming respose is StubHub. Owned by eBay and widely recognized as the go-to source for tickets, StubHub is the behemoth of online ticket sales, but it is not without its competitors - most notably TicketsNow (owned by Ticketmaster) and Razorgator.
To figure out which of these three are the best option for the ticket-buyer, analyzing each site was split up into four categories:
Usability: how easy is the site to navigate? What options are their for searching/browsing various events? How accessible is customer support?
Ticket Selection: how easy is it to find an event? how accessible is the seating chart and listing interface?
Ordering A Ticket: What unique options are available upon checkout? What delivery options are available?
Special Offers: does the site provide any discount opportunities: rewards programs, special holiday programs, last-minute deals, etc.?
Navigating the StubHub site is a breeze. Recent popular events are listed right in the center of the home page, and the light colors of the menu tray highlight the search bar, making instant access to any event available instantly. Unlike the other two sites, StubHub's home page isn't chock full of lengthy, text-heavy lists.
When it comes to support, StubHub is on par with the other sites, with a searchable topic list and an extensive FAQ for answering questions. If there is a problem with a ticket or a question, the toll-free number and customer service email addresses are easy to access.
Of the three sites, StubHub is the only one that consistently delivers accuracte stadium designs and seating charts. StubHub also allows users to zoom down to the row level (a feature neither Razorgator or Tickets Now offer), giving users the full view of row positions in any venue. The site also offers a full slew of sliders and filters to fully customize ticket results within any given event.
There's a reason StubHub is the most used ticket site on the internet: with over 80 partnerships ranging from AOL to the Yankees to the BCS National Title Game, there isn't a bigger selection of tickets available. StubHub consistently had three or four times the amount of tickets available for any event, particularly sports events.
Ordering a Ticket
The biggest advantage of ordering a ticket through StubHub is the ability to instantly download almost any ticket for a small electronic fee - normal shipping options are also available for tickets, as well. Of course, all transactions are guaranteed and handled through a secure website.
There's also a great 'set price alert' option available, which will send an email to a user when a desired ticket - be it based on quantity, seating, or price - becomes available.
Of the three sites, StubHub is the only to offer a mobile app, with iOS or Android-compatible versions. For iOS 6 users, StubHub also utilizes Passbook, another in a long list of StubHub-exclusive features.
Another interesting and exclusive feature is their Last Minute Service Center, a list of physical locations where customers can pick up tickets bought at the last minute. This is helpful for consumers without printers or smartphones immediately accessible who are buying a ticket right before event time.
As a venue for ticket resellers, StubHub doesn't typically offer discounts on tickets. However, they do have a tiered rewards program that awards up to 3% in reweards (along with other perks like complimentary seat upgrades in the highest tier), which can be redeemed for FanCodes to save on future purchases. The rewards program also offers opportunites to win special fan packages with certain StubHub partners.
Like StubHub, Razorgator employs a three-column view for their home page. Popular events are on the left, with a collection of local events in the middle and featured categories on the right. Where it lacks in visual appeal, it makes up for with the ability to access a lot of information and events right from the front page for a variety of events, without appearing cluttered.
Compared to other sites, Razorgator also lacks in the way of customer support. There is a toll-free number accessible from the home page, but the only way to get help without a phone call is navigating their lengthy FAQ page, which will require scanning the 50 or so questions to be led to the lower portion of the page, a massive gathering of text-based answers.
Without the partnerships or wide recognition of StubHub, Razorgator has notably less to offer in the way of tickets, especially those quite close to event. But while the selection is much thinner, there are times where Razorgator will have cheaper ticket listing than Stub Hub does for the same section.
Selecting a ticket is also a little more difficult on Razorgator: while there is an ability to zoom in on the stadium in the ticket selection interface, there is no way to see individual rows, which can have an affect on viewing angle depending on where it is.
Ordering a Ticket
Like the other sites, ordering a ticket on Razorgator is simple as selecting a seat and pressing the buy button. After signing in (or registering a new account), users are sent directly to the ordering and payment page, which takes place on a secure server.
Unfortunately, there are only a few shipping options for users to select from, and getting tickets close to an event can prove to be pricey, with shipping charges typically in the $20 range through FedEx. With no electronic delivery or ability to physically pick up tickets, ordering a ticket through Razorgator is only recommended in advance - though every purchase is guaranteed to arrive on time.
Without any formal partnerships, Razorgator can't offer the same last-minute discounts Stub Hub can - and without a rewards program, there isn't any way to accumulate saving on the site over time. They do occasionally offer some special coupons and discounts through their e-mail program, though a simple Google search uncovered some of these codes right on the Razorgator website.
However, Razorgator offers some reduced ticket prices - although it isn't made clear whether these are reseller discounts or special savings provided through the site itself. These are noted in each event's ticket listings, simply stating that a price 'was' a certain amount before its current lower listing.
Of the three sites, TicketsNow may have the least functional home page. Three text-filled columns welcome the user with the most popular sports, concert, and theater tickets, but nothing involving upcoming local events, something StubHub and RazorGator both do automatically. Also, many of the categories under 'most popular' also fall under 'hot events' (listed on the same page), creating unnecessary repetition where more functionality could be added.
Ticketsnow does feature some other interesting features on their front page, including recent discounts on events and promotions through their email program. The search bar is easily accesible, and there's even the ability to see top reviewed event on the front page (though this is typically limited to one sports team, one concert, and one theater event).
Of all three sites, TicketsNow is the only one that allows users to leave reviews of events they've attended. This is helpful, because it not only assigns a star grade (averaged out between the reviewers), but lists the most common pros and cons from each review. This isn't very helpful with sports venues - unless it pertains strictly to the facility - but being able to read unique human feedback is a feature StubHub and Razor Gator don't offer.
In various selections, TicketsNow consistently had around the same amount of tickets available for events as Razorgator. Selecting a ticket is simple: the event opens in a similar interface to StubHub and Razorgator - although like Razorgator, lacks the ability to zoom in to get a better perspective on seat location.
Of all three ticket-selecting interfaces, TicketsNow is by far the most limited. While StubHub and Razor Gator allow for hovering the mouse over sections to see the available price range, this basic feature is inaccesible at TicketsNow, save for sports tickets, which are handled through the respective sport league's own ticket reselling website.
Ordering a Ticket
Thankfully, TicketsNow offers instant electronic delivery for most of their tickets - which is handled through Ticketmaster's guaranteed ticketFast delivery system, and only costs $4.95 a piece. Oddly enough, some events with ticketFast options won't allow for traditional delivery, so fans who seek physical copies of their tickets will be out of luck when ordering through TicketsNow's various reseller sites. Of course, all transcations are handled through secure sites for consumer protection.
Right on the TicketsNow homepage is an email program for discounts and coupons, awarding consumers a 10% discount on their first purchase. There is also a link to sign up for insider alerts when new events become available.
The home page also displays a link to Onsale Alerts, a page dedicated to upcoming events with sale-priced tickets. However, it's not clear what exactly the discount is - there's nothing designating a discounted price when selecting a ticket to suggest the price is lower than listed anywhere else. Regardless,