Vivid Seats vs. StubHub – Which Ticket-Buying Platform is Better?

People are buying more and more online, from plane tickets to concert and sports tickets. The secondary ticket market is huge and growing all the time. But with people increasingly fed up with limited slots and inflated prices at the main ticket outlets, a few entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to build alternatives. Two main contenders in this secondary market are Vivid Seats and StubHub. They’re both places where you can buy those hard-to-find tickets or sell tickets you no longer need. But what’s the difference between them? Read on for some information that will help you choose between these rivals.

Both Vivid Seats and StubHub offer tickets for a huge variety of events, from sports to concerts, theaters to festivals, and pretty much everything in-between. Both sites have been around for 15 years or so and offer seats in places many primary ticket websites do not.

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Vivid Seats

Vivid Seats was launched in 2001 and has a very mature website. It’s easy to use and has a powerful search function: you can sort search results by ticket, region, date, or artist. Availability is excellent, as they sell a huge range of tickets across all areas of a given venue–this is one place Vivid Seats stands out from the competition. You will have access to prime seats and cheaper ones, with some variability based on factors like availability, the venue, and who is selling what.

Of course, price is a primary concern with any ticket vendor, and this is where Vivid Seats stands out. Compared to its rivals, Vivid Seats usually undercuts by a decent amount. There are fees–the price you see at first isn’t actually the price you pay–but costs are still below StubHub in many instances.

The exact fees ticket resellers charge can be hard to pin down, and unfortunately you won’t see the total amount until you’re at the site’s checkout page. Vivid Seats’ service fees are reported to run from 20% to 40% of the original ticket price. (This is where the site makes its money, after all.) Additional fees, like shipping, can be up to $25 or as little as $7.

There are many comments on Vivid Seats and on independent feedback sites citing their great service. They take care of customers with services such as making a courtesy call informing ticket holders of venue or time changes, and guarantees in case of fake tickets. These can both be invaluable.

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StubHub

StubHub is owned by eBay, and was launched in 2000. It has a nice website with all the bells and whistles you would expect from one of the big players in the business. Like eBay, StubHub ignores design in favor of data, so while the website doesn’t look as appealing as Vivid Seats, it is easier to find what you’re looking for. Sorting by date also helps you find events. StubHub also has an app, which means you can use it in more places and on more devices.

For a few years, StubHub experimented with “All In Pricing,” where they showed their fees up-front instead of tacking them at the end of the transaction. While this sounds good in theory, the higher initial prices scared consumers away, so now StubHub doesn’t show you its fees until you’re ready to finish buying the ticket.

StubHub’s fees are reported to be a little higher than Vivid Seats’, at least on average. Total fees can range from 20% to 50% of the original price.

StubHub does have decent customer service but it is nowhere near as highly recommended as Vivid Seats. You do still get a guarantee against fake tickets, so it someone sells you a fake StubHub will help you get the genuine article for your show of choice if at all possible to make sure you don’t miss your show.

Both Vivid Seats and StubHub get the important things right. They offer a huge range of genuine tickets at decent prices. They both have a good website where you can find what you’re looking for quite quickly. They both have an app for finding tickets on the move too, which is an advantage.

Both vendors offer good customer service and both will guarantee you against fake tickets. Both will also try to find you genuine tickets for your show so you don’t miss it because of a scam. Their prices are close enough that it can be worth your time to check out both and compare the final amounts. In this head-to-head, there can be only one winner: you, the consumer.

Posted by Jamie on January 29, 2017

12 thoughts on “Vivid Seats vs. StubHub – Which Ticket-Buying Platform is Better?”

R Miller says:
I had a stressful day with vivid seats for a Cubs game in June 2017. After devoting a lot of my afternoon with customer service trying to get delivery of the tickets, with nothing but being put on hold for way too long time and time, and then being told they resolved the problem and to check my email soon, I finally concluded I was in an endless loop. They refused to stay on the line to make sure I got the email. I had to be sure I had tickets so I finally bought them from stubhub with no problems. Vivid did finally deliver the tickets the next morning for this game (Cubs 1:20 start). I had told them to cancel during my conversations the day before, but they refused. I disputed the charge; they rebutted; I replied to Visa with more detail including phone records and their email showing delivery a few hours before game time long after I had to be sure I had tickets for me and my customer. I won the dispute.

I’ll won’t use vivid again. You may call this a one-off, so here is something that speaks to the quality of vivid vs. stubhub. The Cubs will no longer accept a ticket printed by your home printer. The only way in, aside from the actual ticket, is to use your cell phone. I had already asked stubhub what would happen if my cell phone failed to operate at the gate. They said that I always had the option of going to will-call and present my order # and ID. So when I was dealing with vivid seats, I asked if I could do that. They said that was not an option.

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JR says:
Both of these sites have heavy fees tacked on at the end, which almost always causes you to overpay. When I am looking for NFL tickets, the first place I look is Ebay. No fees and a lot of the time you get tickets for less than face value. Plus, you have the option of messaging the seller to try and negotiate.
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Pamela says:
I’ve purchased tickets a few times on Vivid and have been happy with the price of the tickets. I find that their prices are lower than Stubhub. As for the fees: Well, I’m not happy about them but the two sites don’t seem to be much different where that’s concerned. Normally, I purchase baseball tickets from Vivid, but recently I bought Hollywood Bowl tickets and had to pay a ridiculous amount for the shipping. Okay, they Fedexed the tickets to me, but that really wasn’t necessary.
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Glen Downer says:
Hi Pamela. I hope you can set my mind at rest. I recently purchased tickets for a Mets game, a single admission double header in September. Even though the Vivid site states that the original sellers name will be on there, I find myself worried about this. I’m paranoid that I’ll turn up to find someone else has already entered with the same tickets and I’ll get turned away. Have your tickets always been valid, and have the original purchaser’s name on there? Any help, advice, and reassurance would be most appreciated. Many thanks, Glen.
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Ben says:
StubHub is worse than Vivid. I’ve used both on numerous occasions and every time I do, the ridiculous fees that StubHub charge drive me nuts. Their customer service is also just plain awful
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Michael Harradine says:
BEWARE of VIVID SEATS!
EXCESSIVE SERVICE FEES
RECEIPT NOT ITEMIZED, and will not give you an itemized breakdown, TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT CUSTOMER SERVICE ATTITUDE, NO REFUNDS,

Buyer Beware when considering Vivid Seats.
Do not click purchase to avoid being overcharged.

Candidly the unfortunate customer service people at Vivid Seats probably take a lot of punishment from ripped off customers. They have no authority but simply read from their script which is obviously written to deflect expected complaints. There is a reason their invoice is not itemized – they are ripping everyone off.

DO NOT USE THIS online vendor.

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Edward Suharski says:
I found Vivid to be a rip-off. I purchased Prime Orchestra seats for Hamilton. They won’t tell seat location until purchased. I ended up on the side – not even center orchestra for $690 per ticket plus their processing fee, taking my total to $1,750. To me, Prime Orchestra is Orchestra Center which they don’t break out. WISH I WOULD HAVE USED STUBHUB. Vivid took complete advantage of me. Unfortunately, I checked Stubhub too late. They had Orchestra Center for $1,400 including services fees. I will NEVER use Vivd again. Buyer beware……!!
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Al says:
Vivid is AWFUL! Purchased MLB tickets last year…was given a total including taxes and fees. A few days later once the transaction actually hit my credit card, the amount charged was almost 40% higher than stated on the receipt. I called to inquire, and their customer service is rude, uninformed, and not at all helpful. I inquired about their 100% satisfaction guarantee since I was not satisfied, and they told me that I could take a survey…really, that’s your customer service? False advertising and price gouging. I’d rather take my chances with a scalper on the street.
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Dana says:
Service and email fee of $70+ is absolutely insane. No way to refund even within 5min of ordering. Customer service terrible and impossible to get through. Still no tickets with 4 days until the event. NEVER use this site. Wasted time and money.
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David Alban says:
Vivid hide their transaction fee. It’s tacked on at the end, and I’m not sure it’s even shown as an individual amount, it’s certainly not on the receipt. Everything is just rolled up into one amount, making it hard to see what has happened until after you have paid. This is a deceptive practice in my view.
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Will says:
This is not true. That’s how Stubhub does it. Not Vivid Seats. They break it down at checkout, while Stubhub just puts everything under “Fees”. The biggest problem with Vivid Seats is they charge $6.95 for “e-mail delivery”, which costs them virtually nothing.
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Frank Buchanan says:
I just got pumped in the kiester by Vivid. The app doesn’t break down any fees. I had to contact them & ask why my total charge was $40 more than the ticket amount. They responded & explained that I need to pay $20 PER TICKET in processing fees. In this case- that was 50% more than the ticket price. I’ve been screwed over before- this is exactly what it feels like. F U Vivid.
Sara S says:
I had a great experience with Vivid seats and their customer service and ticket guarantee were spot on. I am about to buy tickets and am planning on using them again as opposed to stub hub.
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Ruth Moffatt says:
I had a horrible experience with Vivid. I bought tickets for a Broadway show on their website about 4 hours before show time. After waiting over two hours for the seller to “process” my order I was contacted by Nick M at Vivid & advised that the tickets I bought were purchased by someone else. When I asked how this could be possible, he explained that someone else hit the “buy” button before I did. Eventually he then explained that they were purchased on another secondary website. So, when I complained that I was held hostage for over two hours for tickets that were not delivered he said it wasn’t their problem I waited until the last minute to buy tickets. Horrible service; horrible attitude; horrible (non) delivery. I’m sticking with StubHub from now on.
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Carl says:
NO RETURN POLICY AT VIVID! Will only use Stubhub from now on
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James says:
Stubhub has the same policy
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