Time isn’t on side of Stones scalpers

HELENA, Mont. – You can’t always get what you want when the Rolling Stones are set to play a small Montana city in less than a week, and you’re trying to resell concert tickets.

The Stones performance Wednesday in Missoula was a sellout right after tickets went on sale in August. Now people looking to resell, even at less than face value, are struggling for buyers.

“I hope I don’t eat them all,” Andy Mefford said of the four tickets he’s trying to unload after spending $800 to $1,000 for the lot.

Forty-six classified advertisements to sell Stones tickets appeared in the Missoulian newspaper Thursday, and tickets were for sale on eBay. One seller tried what amounts to a poignant appeal in Montana: “Need money for hunting rifle,” read the posting for row 35, seats 9 and 10 at the University of Montana football stadium in Missoula, a city of some 60,000 people.

About 21,000 of the stadium’s seats were designated for the concert, with ticket prices and related fees ranging from $77 to $377.

Monte Jenkins, an aspiring actor being laid off as an airline baggage handler in Missoula, said he paid $2,100 for 10 tickets that he expected to resell profitably. Jenkins’ introduction to the so-called secondary market has been jarring. He said he sold seven of the tickets, two at a profit and the others at break-even or losing prices.

“I’ll get whatever I can out of them,” Jenkins said of the remaining tickets. He expects to end up $500 to $800 in the red. Using a ticket himself isn’t much of an option, he said, because he doesn’t like the Rolling Stones.

It may be there is a surplus of tickets for resale because true Stones fans bought theirs immediately, and the market has been satisfied without resale, said Gary Bongiovanni of Pollstar in Fresno, Calif. The company publishes news tailored to the music industry and maintains a concert database.

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