Is blockchain technology a solution to ticket fraud on Broadway? Members of the industry are going to find out.

Ticket fraud has long been a problem on Broadway. Scams range from photoshopping fake tickets, duplicating “lost tickets”, reselling tickets, selling tickets for more than face value, and using a stolen credit card to purchase tickets that are ultimately invalid. The problem is so bad that CNBC estimated that as many of 12 percent of customers are scammed in some way by fraud tickets for Broadway shows, sports events, festivals, and more.

No matter what the scam method is, the result is unhappy patrons, lost revenue, and a black mark on the industry. Now the industry is looking to technology to find a solution. Ticket sellers, producers, and other players are hoping that blockchain can provide a way to help customers know that the ticket they bought is good. Here are the details:

How blockchain technology can help

Once a patron has their tickets in hand, they want to be sure that they get what they paid for. Because of the way that blockchain technology works, it may turn out to be the perfect solution to the problem.

With blockchain, ticket records can’t be erased so they’re the perfect tool to use to verify that a ticket purchase is authentic and unique.

While the technology has never been easy to describe, what’s important to know is that it involves a series of detailed, accurate transaction records. These records can’t be erased so they’re the perfect tool to use to verify that a ticket purchase is authentic and unique. It’s not a badly made copy, or one of many tickets for the same seat.

While no one is 100% sure that the technology will work, many believe it will likely make a difference. To test it out, industry players have signed onto an online ticketing pilot program that should either prove — or disprove — the theory.

The players behind the new process

There are two main entities behind this greatly anticipated effort. The first of these is the Shubert Organization and its ticketing division called Telecharge divisions. Shubert is teaming up with True Tickets, a Boston-based mobile ticketing organization that runs its processes based on IBM’s blockchain platform.


Naturally, True Tickets is excited to be involved in the pilot project. In a public comment about the effort, the organization’s CEO Matt Zarrachina said, “At the end of the day, we aim to help our clients develop more meaningful relationships with their patrons. This pilot affords us the opportunity to do exactly that.”

Other advantages to using the technology

In addition to preventing fraud, using technology for ticket sales has other advantages. If a show is cancelled, patrons can be notified more quickly through their smartphone or another device, and can more easily rebook their seat or receive their refund.

For show producers, having technology sitting behind the purchase records can help with automating their business records. It can more quickly indicate how much revenue a show is bringing in, and in the case of a cancellation, they’ll know how the revenue from the lost show is lost or is being rerouted to other performances. In the long term, if contracts allow, they may also be able to more easily adjust ticket pricing based on a show’s demand.

Sure, the technology is exciting and potential uses may be exciting to consider. For now, however, the industry will just be happy to use it to put a curb on fraud. They want customers to know that when they purchase a ticket to a show, they’ll get what they paid for. After all, no one wants an unhappy customer.

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