After diving into how ticketing works at Red Rocks, we wondered how other Denver Arts & Venues properties, like the Buell Theatre, handle ticketing for such high-demand theatrical productions as Frozen and Hamilton.
As it turns out, those shows don’t fall under the same deal that Denver City Council made with AXS in 2014 to handle ticketing at Red Rocks. Frozen and Hamilton are produced by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, which is the theatrical tenant of the Denver Performing Arts Complex, home to the Buell. As part of its arrangement, DCPA uses its own online ticketing service, called Audience View.
While details and dates for the sale of Hamilton tickets have not been announced, there was monumental demand earlier this year for tickets to Disney’s pre-Broadway run of the musical Frozen, which opened in Denver on August 17 and runs through October 1. DCPA even posted an article on its website before the on-sale on May 1 with tips for avoiding scammers and speculative ticket brokers. It included a warning to fans to stay away from fake websites designed to look exactly like the organization’s official website, denvercenter.org.
To find out more about how DCPA’s online ticketing platform differs from that of AXS, we spoke with John Ekeberg, executive director of DCPA Broadway, and DCPA’s associate vice president of technology, Yovani Pina.
Westword: For high-demand shows like Frozen and Hamilton, how are tickets rolled out during the on-sale? Is it done in batches? All at once?
John Ekeberg: For many high-profile/high-demand shows such as Frozen, we delay delivery of tickets purchased until closer to the performance date. This allows us to analyze all incoming sales, checking for traces of suspicious behavior and making sure no one is purchasing more than the ticket limits set per account. We also only distribute hard tickets to prevent online distribution on the secondary ticket market.
Unlike AXS.com or Ticketmaster, your online checkout process for big shows doesn’t utilize a waiting room before the on-sale, correct?
Yovani Pina: While we don’t normally use a virtual waiting room for our checkout process (our platform can be scaled to address demand), we have the capability of an online waiting room. We carefully evaluate when we use the capability and leverage it to enhance our existing security/fraud-prevention capabilities.
Are there tickets reserved for the box office that aren’t available to those purchasing tickets online?
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Ekeberg: Patrons have access to the same open inventory whether they purchase by phone, in person or online.
Denver Arts and Venues uses AXS for Red Rocks ticket sales, but DCPA uses Audience View for its online ticketing platform. Can you explain the difference, and why DCPA uses Audience View rather than AXS?
Ekeberg: The DCPA maintains its own box-office staff and ticketing system, and we choose to work with the platform that best serves our needs with subscription packages, single-ticket processing, education classes and other aspects of patron database management.
Pina: In addition, working with our own platform offers us the flexibility to customize our online presence to offer our patrons all of the information they would need regarding all of our offerings.