If you are a theater fan, there will inevitably come a time when you purchase tickets to go see a show, but then are unable to go and enjoy it. Maybe you’ve already experienced this. In a scenario like this, what’s the best way to handle it? You can give your tickets away to a friend or co-worker so that at least someone can see the performance. The downside to this is that it’s often awkward to ask someone you know to pay for tickets that you’ve bought, and this means that you’re going to lose money on it.

Tickets are expensive! You spent a lot of money to get those tickets, and although it’s sometimes okay to give those expensive tickets away, sometimes it’s not. Don’t worry. If you have purchased tickets and you want to recoup at least some of the money that you invested in them, you have options. Let’s go over a few of them now.

At the Event

Scalping tickets, or selling them outside of the venue where the performance will be held, is legal in more areas now than ever before. If you’re in the area, this might be worthwhile for you. Take a few minutes to look at your local laws and see how you will be impacted by scalping regulations. You might find that you can do it without problem.


More realistically, if you are unable to go to the show, you’re not going to have time to go and hang out outside of a venue. What’s more, there’s no certainty that you’ll actually sell those tickets. You will have wasted time and energy, and all without the extra cash back in your pocket to have made that worth the time.

That’s why we suggest selling tickets online through a third party ticket site like SeatGeek. Here, you can list your tickets ahead of time, allowing for a better chance of selling them. If you know a week before the show that you will not be able to attend, you can list them as soon as possible, exposing your tickets to a larger number of people, and thus increase your chances of selling them. Depending on the popularity of the show, you might even find yourself able to generate a profit. We’ll talk about that later on.

Last Minute?

What if you find out that you can’t go to the performance until earlier that day? A lot of sites allow you to list tickets right up until curtain time. That means that you can list your tickets earlier in the day, and still have a decent chance of selling them. In fact, because your reach is so much more expansive when you use the web than if you were to scalp your tickets in person, your chances of selling through a major site are actually much better than if you were to hang out around the outside of the theater.


Obviously, the cheaper you list your tickets at, the more likely you are to sell them. The price that you sell them at is completely up to you, but we suggest looking to see what everyone one else is listing tickets at. Depending on supply and demand, you will find some leniency when it comes to pricing. If your goal is to make a profit on your tickets, you will price the tickets differently than if you just want to make sure that you don’t lose the entire amount that you invested in them.

Just be sure to check what the rules are at the site you’re using and see what their policies are regarding fees. Your earnings on ticket sales will vary depending on those stipulations.