illegal sales outside of concerts

At any major concert (or sporting event), there are people outside the show selling tickets, and buying tickets. You’ll frequently walk past people with signs saying “need to buy tickets” that are literally standing next to other people holding tickets for sale.

I’ve tried pointing them out to each other, telling person A to buy the tickets from person B, but that never seems to work.

So where’s the scam? Is it as simple as buying a ticket from someone with a spare and selling it to the next guy at high markup? Or is there something more organized going on?

Maybe they can’t agree on price? Professional scalpers probably charge more for tickets than someone who had a friend cancel out on him at the last minute.

The people buying might be scalpers too. They pick up leftover tickets at face value (or less) from people who just want to go into the concert instead of standing outside hoping to get their money back. Then they turn around and sell them to someone desperate who really needs tickets. If you can turn around $5 on that transaction, that’s worth your effort.

In the ideal setup, the people buying tickets should be before the people selling them This helps to set up expectations that tickets are in high demand (since these people are begging for tickets) and that the customer will need to pay more for them because of it.