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'Hamilton' Producers Hike Premium Ticket Prices to Thwart Scalpers

by Lucy Bayly /
Attendees take photographs outside of the 'Hamilton' musical in the Times Square area of New York, U.S., on Sunday, May 22, 2016. Forty theaters sold a record $1.365 billion worth of tickets during the 2014-2015 Broadway Theatre season.Victor J. Blue / Bloomberg via Getty Images

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'Hamilton' may now cost you more Hamiltons.

The producers of the historic Broadway show 'Hamilton' just made their hit a little bit more historic, raising box office prices to a record $849 for premium seating — the highest (non-scalper) price ever for any Broadway show. At the same time, they're also doubling the number of $10 seats the show offers by lottery for every show.

The increase in lottery seats means that 19,000 people per year will be able to see the show for only $10. At the other end of the scale, the new blocks of 200 center orchestra seats will be priced at $849 each.

In an interview with the New York Times, 'Hamilton’ lead producer Jeffrey Seller said the decision to hike the prices comes as a result of his frustration with ticket scalpers, who are estimated to be making up to $60 million a year from reselling tickets to the blockbuster show.

Read More: Want to Get 'Hamilton' Tickets? It'll Take Patience, and Money

“It’s not fair that my product is being resold at many times its face value and my team isn’t sharing in those profits,” said Seller.

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To beat the scalpers at their own game, Seller studied the secondary ticket market to determine the average cost of a scalped ticket, then priced his tickets accordingly, betting that scalpers would be unwilling to raise their own ticket prices. In doing so, Seller has lowered the margin for scalpers and made the tickets less attractive to the “ticket bots” that used to snap up as much as 78 percent of the show’s tickets.

It’s a model that has worked for other main acts, including, most famously, Kid Rock, who told NPR in 2013 how he successfully put tickets back in the hands of the “working man” demographic that make up his core fan base.

Read More: As a Kid, 'Hamilton' Creator 'Loved to Play With Words,' Say His Parents

The front two rows of Kid Rock’s concerts were $20 lottery tickets, he explained, with the cost of the premium tickets set by whatever the market dictated. He also added a requirement that anyone purchasing the more costly tickets must show I.D. at the gate in order to prove no scalper was involved in the purchase.

The new Hamilton price structure benefits everyone, Seller told the New York Times.

“In some ways, we’re taking from the rich to give to the poor, because there’s no question those premiums are subsidizing those $10 tickets.”

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