Vikings Stadium Funding Proposal: Collect Taxable Scalping Revenue

I’m pro-Vikings stadium, but anti-corporate welfare, so I’m trying to figure out a creative way to help get a new stadium built for the Purple. Here’s one idea: tax the revenue generated fro scalped tickets.

For example, 2011-12 season tickets run between $28-$128/game. But, here is what great seats (the ones closer to $128 each) are currently going for on StubHub.com:

Vikings vs Lions StubHub Prices

Some quick math tells me that $290 is more than $128. That one screenshot shows 43 seats selling for nearly $7,000 above face value. That’s 43 out of 5,969 tickets currently on sale for that game. Which game? The Detroit Lions!

Here’s the deal: Seats like the ones listed above are often purchased by businesses, then deducted from taxes as an entertainment expense. It’s yet another way that Zygi Wilf’s welfare queen enterprise is subsidized by the state and federal governments. But, I have a decent hunch that the tickets sold on StubHub are often NOT reported as income.

It doesn’t seem like it would be particularly difficult to determine who is scalping tickets they’ve taken tax deductions on. And, it seems like StubHub would make it pretty darn easy to figure out how much unreported income is being generated on those no-longer-entertainment-expensable tickets.

Well, Vikings fans, what do you think? Could we find a few million dollars a year by going after sports tax cheats?

This seems like something true Vikings fans, like Cory Merrifield at SaveTheVikes.org would support, since true Vikings fans use their tickets themselves rather than selling them on StubHub.

The one downside to this is that the tax cheating isn’t really a Vikings stadium issue but a general fund issue, so we really should try cleaning up this mess to improve our state’s budget, THEN talk about whether corporate welfare for Zygi Wilf’s is justifiable.

One thought on “Vikings Stadium Funding Proposal: Collect Taxable Scalping Revenue”

  1. A better indicator is what the tickets sell for, not what they’re listed for. What you see when you go to buy tickets on StubHub is what the seller lists them for, it doesn’t show you what tickets are actually selling for, which would give you a better sense of what the secondary market price really is.

    But there is a way to “trick” StubHub into showing this to you: Pretend to be a seller. If you go through the steps to sell a ticket you’ll eventually get to the page where you are asked to set your price. This will allow you to look at every section and see what tickets are listed, when they were listed, what tickets have sold for and what date they sold on. You’re not committed to selling anything by getting to this page, so you can just cancel out after you’ve looked. I use this every time I’m considering buying a ticket on StubHub.

    So for this Lion’s game, I did that. The midfield sections (131/3/4) have an average sale price of about $200. Section 131 actually hasn’t seen any sales. Sections 109/10 are a little higher, about $220.

    There’s also the factor that many of them may be listed with a declining-price option, meaning StubHub will lower the price by increments as game day approaches. In this case the day is probably still far enough out that they haven’t started declining yet.

    My point is just that sometimes what tickets are listed for isn’t necessarily an accurate reflection of what people are paying for them.

    I don’t know how you’d go about capturing tax revenue from the resales, but I think it would be more complicated. You’d have to find a way to cover every secondary outlet or else they’d just gravitate to where they can get away with it. Then you’d have to match who owns each seat to who sold it secondary and the profit they made, and then somehow have them reconcile that with their tax filing. I’m just talking out my ass here, but that’s how I understand what you’re trying to say.

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