Charlie Sheen tour could be a bust for scalpers

Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:47pm EDT
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By Mitchell Peters

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - "Winning" or "Not Winning"?

That's the latest question surrounding Charlie Sheen's "My Violent Torpedo of Truth" 22-date North American tour, which begins April 2 at the Fox Theater in Detroit.

Over the past several weeks, numerous media outlets have reported that a handful of dates on Sheen's forthcoming trek sold out within minutes. But it turns out that some of those reported sellouts -- including the opening date at the approximately 5,000-capacity Fox Theater -- still have tickets available on Ticketmaster.

CNBC reported on its Web site that so-called "secondary ticketing" companies like StubHub, and snatched up "a lot" of tickets to many of Sheen's forthcoming shows and are now selling them for less than face value, which could suggest that fan demand for the tour is being overestimated by the media reports. (It should be noted that some secondary tickets are on sale across multiple reselling sites, which makes it appear that there are more tickets in the market than there actually are.)

As of Thursday afternoon, StubHub appeared to have about 300 tickets available for the Detroit show alone. But this isn't all that shocking. In today's ticket-buying market, it's typical for secondary sellers to buy tickets in bulk for what they think will be hot-selling shows, whether it's Lady Gaga or U2. In the case of Sheen's tour, however, it seems that resellers may have misjudged the demand.

Nevertheless, this won't impact the money Sheen grosses from the performances -- and that's not to mention merchandise and other ancillary revenue the actor will earn during the tour. Even though fans didn't technically purchase some of the tickets through Ticketmaster, the tickets were still bought by another source, in this case secondary ticketers.

"A ticket sold is a ticket sold, whether it's from Ticketmaster, or the box office," Sheen spokesman Larry Solters tells Billboard. "Where they go after that, frankly we don't know. We all know a re-seller will often post their tickets to multiple sites to promote their product. It might be on multiple sites for the same ticket."

Solters notes that Sheen's tour has sold close to 100,000 tickets with no paid advertising.