Don’t Crack Down on the Secondary Market for Bison Tickets


North Dakota State students cheer a touchdown against Robert Morris during their football game Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in the Fargodome. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

“True fans wouldn’t try to turn a profit from Bison tickets,” reads the headline over a letter to the editor in the Fargo Forum today.

The letter’s author is upset over some NDSU football fans looking to maximize their return for tickets they’re selling on the secondary market.

“I think it is really great that there are people in town who sell their tickets to a game they cannot attend to ensure we have the fans there to root on our team; however, some of those season ticket holders have different intentions,” writes Erik Walker, who goes on to describe a situation he witnessed where an online bidding war drove the price of a given pair of tickets up to three times their face value.

“Team Makers needs to crack down on this. If anyone deserves the extra money for the sale of these tickets, it should be the nonprofit organization selling them,” he concludes.

Team Makers is a non-profit organization to which a donation is necessary in order to obtain some types of season tickets for Bison football games (my Bison fan friends tell me most season ticket purchases require this).

I think the author of the letter is correct in so far as he seems to believe that Team Makers may be leaving some money on the table. If there are fans willing to pay triple the face value of a ticket on the secondary market it may well be that the tickets are undervalued in the first place. Perhaps NDSU and/or Team Makers should consider adjusting ticket prices to take advantage. There’s clearly enough demand to support it.

But I don’t think Team Makers, or anyone else, ought to crack down on the secondary market for these tickets. If they tried it, they’d like do themselves more harm than good.

That there is such a strong secondary market for Bison tickets is likely an incentive for some fans to purchase season passes. They know that they can offset the cost by selling their unused tickets to others. If that market were prohibited, or even restricted in any way, the market for season passes would narrow.

While I do think they should consider raising ticket prices, the university or the Team Makers trying to meddle in willing seller/willing buyer transactions in the secondary market could only be to their detriment.