Marketing and math quiz: Take the tickets vs. the refund


The company producing Michael Jackson’s concert tour has announced those who have purchased tickets can get a refund or receive “souvenir tickets.” In the old days, before electronic ticket ordering, the tickets would have been issued upon purchase. I assume the “souvenir tickets” are going to be printed up and authenticated in some way to add a measure of validity to any claim they are “limited” and thus, have some value as a collectible. I assume also they’ll be marketed in the same way a collectible dish or “special minted” gold coin will be — except with a significant twist: the marketer is attempting to convert someone who is already a fan and who has already parted with their money — just not for what the promoter is selling. The promoter — if they act quickly — can convince that potential buyers to “act immediately” to exercise their right to take special delivery of this once-in-a-life-time item they’ve already purchased. The message (which is a natural for those who attend concerts) is that they belong to a private club that no one else is going to be given membership into.

When I saw this announcement, I wondered if, other than sentimental value, the “collectible” ticket might have any value in the future. Some extremely quick (two-clicks) research and unscientific back of the envelop calculations lead me to think that the tickets could possibly increase in value by up to 5% annually (compounded) based on the current retail price ($75) of a $15 unused ticket to an August, 1977 Elvis concert. Of course, that’s the retail price. It’s probably worth a lot less.

Bottomline: If the idea is to hold the ticket for a long time and then sell it, I’d take the money now. (However, I would have never purchased the ticket in the first place.) I’m guessing that a lot of people will take the tickets, however. I think they’d be better off flipping the ticket quickly — while those outside the exclusive group may want in — rather than wait for 32 years to sell it on eBay.

  • Caught your Tweet on this and thought I’d read and check in. My mother and godmother had tickets to the 1977 Elvis concert. Since I’ve lived in Memphis the past 20+ years, I usually check The Commercial Appeal every year during Death Week and in his birthday month (January) to see what the going rate is, figuring that a local sale during those weeks is probably going to get a better price than eBay, generally. I really haven’t seen it be enough to fool with as yet and we probably should have just gotten rid of them ages ago.

  • I think if someone wants a ticket like this for nostalgia reasons — like if they’ve a big fan — it’s a unique memento. I think there are probably better investments. It like what I’ve always heard about art. Buy something you like, not something you think is going to increase in value.