ASU research might change your mind about ticket scalpers

June 18, 2015

You’ve heard the stereotype of ticket scalpers – that they’re lone wolves waiting to prey on people with overpriced access to the events we want to see.

Pretty accurate, right? Chase Field ticket scalpers Ticket scalpers outside Chase Field in downtown Phoenix have developed a system of "co-opetition," acting professionally and working together to set prices that are in line with market standards, an ASU research team found. Photo by: Dru Bloomfield via Download Full Image

Well, maybe not. A new study coming out of Arizona State University’s Center for Organization Research and Design (CORD) suggests otherwise.

The research found that competing scalpers in Phoenix have developed working relationships that help them move product and assist the people buying tickets by providing a professional environment and prices that are in line with market standards.

Yes, scalpers are helping people pay fair prices to enter baseball games.

That’s what Barry Bozeman found. The Arizona Centennial Professor of Technology Policy and Public Management for CORD led a team on scalping reconnaissance at Phoenix’s Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“I’ve been going to baseball games and buying tickets from ticket scalpers for years,” he said. “I thought, ‘This is really interesting – they’re cooperating with mutual respect but at the same time competing like crazy.’ ”

The practice is called co-opetition, and Bozeman, along with CORD senior research assistant Gabel Taggart, studied it outside Chase Field as competing scalpers would argue with each other one minute, then work together to get a customer the seat he or she wanted.

“I thought it would be an interesting case study,” Bozeman said. “And it would allow me to go to a lot of baseball games.”

The friendly business between “clans,” as Bozeman called them, doesn’t just help scalpers sell tickets. The working relationships also set a standard of professionalism that is policed by each clan.

For example, Bozeman said during the course of his research he didn’t have any scalpers take advantage of him or treat him in a way that wasn’t courteous and tactful. Various members of the clans admonished rogue scalpers who defied the standards.

Another interesting discovery: The scalpers don’t fight online ticket resellers such as StubHub; they embrace them.

The scalpers, who were casually interviewed by Bozeman’s team as they purchased tickets, said they use StubHub to help determine ticket prices.

Bozeman’s team, which included CORD researchers Kevin Todd and Neil Fowler, checked StubHub after each scalping purchase to verify price trends. Every time the prices were on par with or below StubHub listings.

This is good news for Diamondback fans looking to score a seat at the last minute. But what about in other markets outside Phoenix, where scalping might be illegal?

“I think you’ll find pretty much the same arrangement,” Bozeman said. “I don’t think what we found is an unusual Phoenix syndrome.”

Which means it might be time to update that stereotype about ticket scalpers.

ASU scientist looks ahead to UN climate talks with tempered optimism

June 18, 2015

Hope has a way of evaporating when Sonja Klinsky talks about the international pursuit of global climate change.

And it’s not because the senior sustainability scientist in Arizona State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and assistant professor at the School of Sustainability is down on the process – quite the contrary. It’s just that she’s a realist. Sonja Klinsky Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability UN climate talks Sonja Klinsky, of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and ASU's School of Sustainability, says things are progressing well ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference later this year, but that people should have realistic expectations. Download Full Image

Having recently returned from a United Nations meeting in Bonn, Germany, to help fine-tune a draft of a global climate pact, Klinsky said that things are progressing well ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris later this year.

There’s a lot of hope attached the gathering, which could result in a historic climate-change pact between every country on the planet. But therein lies the problem: Some people are expecting too much from this conference – which won’t offer an “easy button,” of sorts, that can remedy all of the globe’s climate-change issues.

“What I’m expecting is a fairly simple agreement that holds spaces for further development of these issues,” Klinsky said, reminding that every agreement has to be a consensus from the world’s governments. “That, for me, would be a strong agreement.”

Klinsky, an expert on equity in international climate negotiations, will be a part of the November and December conference in France.

Looking ahead, she offered the four key factors being discussed for a pact for global climate-change standards.


"So, who's going to cut how much of some capacity," she said. "And, more importantly in that, (determining) a process for steadily increasing those commitments. So there’s not only how much each country will commit now, but what kind of a process is going to be in place to make sure that increases over time. That would be a great thing in mitigation."


"(This) would be either how much money do we need to support countries that are going to need adaptation support or other kinds of in-kind contributions," Klinsky said. "And how are we going to make sure that increases to the level that is sufficient, because it probably won't be sufficient going in. Similar to mitigation, you have both what's going to be up front and what kind of a process are we going to have where we can systematically, over time, make sure that those needs are appropriate, happening and sufficiently supported."

Finance and support

"There are going to be certain countries who could make contributions, but they can't afford to or they don’t have the technology to," she said. "So there’s going to have to be some kind of provision in the agreement for facilitating support so that we get the full level of mitigation and adaptation needed by countries that could do something but just can’t afford it; they don’t have the resources to do it. And, again, I’m expecting some kind of upfront element there. But over time some sort of a mechanism to make sure we’re constantly revising this."


"And the technology question is huge, in terms of technology transfer, in terms of making sure that countries have the technology they need, making sure that we’re facilitating a flow of technology as opposed to blocking it. And also creating innovation," Klinsky said. "So, there’s a tension, always, between spreading technology around freely and creating incentives to innovate. We have to somehow find a balance there where companies think they can make some money by innovating, and yet those technologies are freely available to development countries. So we’re not going to solve that one this time around. What we probably will do is continue the support for thinking about how we’re going to deal with technology in the future."