disclaimer As a resale aggregator, prices may be higher than face value.
Ticket Compare > Navigating Ticket Marketplaces: Your Guide to Buying at Face Value and Beyond

Navigating Ticket Marketplaces: Your Guide to Buying at Face Value and Beyond

Hunting for tickets for our favourite events and sports can push us to new places. If you are browsing secondary ticket marketplaces for the first time, we’re here to explain a few things and clear up some misconceptions. 

You may be wondering what does face value tickets mean, or want to know the best resale ticket site, or just want to know how to avoid getting conned. Truth is, if you follow a few simple steps you can navigate the primary and secondary ticket marketplaces like a pro. We’ll explain how. 

What Does Face Value Tickets Mean?

One of the terms that you will come across frequently while searching for resale tickets is “face value”. 

Simply put, face value is the amount stated on the ticket as its original price. This is what the original purchaser paid for the ticket from the organizer or official seller. 

What face value it doesn’t include are additional procesing charges or service fees that were part of that transaction. It’s an important point to remember—while “face value” isn’t a meaningless term it doesn’t tell the full story of what a person paid for a ticket. 

Face Value Isn’t Gospel

On any ticket marketplace you visit, you will be reminded that the tickets being sold can be above or below face value. It’s important to have this disclaimer in place. This is because occasionally people express their surprise that they paid more than the face value price on their e-ticket or paper ticket. 

Although you may not deal directly with a seller—in fact, it’s safer that you don’t—it’s always worth remembering that the tickets have been relisted by the person who originally bought them. 

They are the ones who set the price, and have assumed the risk of reselling their ticket, knowing there’s a chance their ticket could sell for less than what they originally paid for it. 

Why is “Face Value” a Controversial Term?

Whether they use the primary market or secondary market, people may be misled into thinking that face value is the actual price, set in stone. In reality it’s a preliminary price, before extra fees are charged, often as a percentage of the ticket price. 

What Additional Fees Are Added to Face Value?

Famous primary ticketing agents like Ticketmaster get a lot of attention for the fees they tack onto ticket prices. Often they will only appear at checkout, which can be frustrating, and can add as much as 25% to the actual price of a primary market ticket. 

Primary outlets claim these fees are a necessity for primary ticketing companies, helping them to turn a profit, but they do attract plenty of negative press. So let’s take a look at some additional charges you may encounter:

  • Service charge/booking fee – usually the largest fee, this is the basic commission taken by the primary ticketing company
  • Facility charge – this fee is set by the venue’s box office for the event, and is used by the venue to make improvements
  • Processing fee – relating to the online order itself, this fee covers the cost of completing the booking
  • Fulfillment/delivery fee – no matter whether you get e-tickets or paper tickets, this fee covers the cost of delivering the ticket to you

These fees are all common with primary ticket agents like Ticketmaster. However, you will also incur extra costs when you buy directly from sports teams or organisers. 

There will be a booking fee and a fulfillment/delivery fee if you purchase a ticket as a member, and the price goes up if you use the phone to make your booking. 

If you’re using a team’s ticket exchange, allowing fans to re-list their ticket at face value, you can always expect to pay a processing fee. 

What is the Primary Market?

The primary market is essentially the platform in which the original rights holder, be it a football team, venue, event producer or a promoter, sells tickets to customers. So if you’re buying football tickets, you’ll be using the primary market if you get them through the club’s official box office. 

These tickets are also sold via one or more official ticketing agents, which will be advertised by the organiser or club. Primary tickets are available only via a small number of outlets—and sometimes only one—as decided by the rights holder. 

The price of a primary market ticket is set by the original rights holder, and this will be the face value price that is printed on the ticket. 

What is the Secondary Market?

The secondary market is when these tickets are resold. This can happen on a host of platforms, but the most secure way to do it is through a secure ticket resale marketplace like the ones listed on Ticket Compare. 

These are a kind of ticket marketplace, where sellers can list tickets they have already purchased. A secondary marketplace offers the safest environment for a resale transaction, protecting both the buyer and seller.

Resale Tickets Have a Different Pricing System

Where primary market tickets have a price set by the organiser, the price of secondary market tickets are often dictated by supply and demand. So if there’s an event that a lot of people want to get to, the price will rise above face value. Sometimes there isn’t much demand for a ticket, and the price may fall below face value.

There are a number of additional costs to keep in mind when using a ticket marketplace like this. Among them are service fees, payment processing fees, and delivery fees. Since peace of mind is vital for a smooth transaction, these fees pay for anti-fraud measures and customer service. 

What is the Best Resale Ticket Site?

While some secondary marketplaces perform better than others, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Since buyers are searching for specific tickets, the best resale ticket site will be the one that lists the tickets they need. 

This is the great thing about Ticket Compare: You can search by team, and we’ll list the tickets available on various sites. This saves a lot of hunting. 

Still, all of the top secondary market sites are subject to reviews on sites like Trustpilot. If they’re unable to keep sellers or buyers secure, it will reflect in their score. Ticket Compare also conducts stringent, independent reviews of the secondary marketplaces on our platform. 

Here’s a look at of some of the leading ticket resale sites represented on Ticket Compare:


The world’s top resale ticket marketplace, with a massive user base

Football Ticket Pad 

A great destination for secondary market tickets for football


One of the most best-rated ticketing brokers in the industry, with an emphasis on European football, and non-football events like rugby’s Six Nations  


A specialist in European football tickets, renowned for on-point customer service with “always on’ live chat

Live Football Tickets

Possibly the best resale ticket site for UK and European football tickets, with a first-class online reputation

A Few Things to Remember about Secondary Marketplaces

As platforms for people to resell tickets to other fans, secondary marketplaces take a lot of steps to prevent fraud and ensure every stage of the transaction goes smoothly. Their business depends on it. Still, many people express their dissatisfaction about things that are baked into the process. Here a few things to expect:

Tickets often arrive just before an event

Don’t expect your resale tickets immediately. For security reasons, the event organisers will release tickets within as narrow a timeframe as possible before the event goes ahead. Naturally, this can cause anxiety in the buyer. You will often see these customers complaining in online reviews that they haven’t received their ticket, before adding a postscript backtracking after they’ve arrived.

Ticket price may be higher than face value

Again, it’s crucial to remember that once the ticket is listed on the secondary marketplace, face value doesn’t count for much, and market value takes over. At this point the price of the ticket is whatever customers are willing to pay for it, whether it’s above or below face value. 

No refunds for postponed events

Something that comes up all of the time on secondary ticket marketplaces is that a match will be postponed or rescheduled the purchaser will want a refund. This isn’t a service offered by any ticket resale site, and is also uncommon on the primary market. Many sites will have a tag on their listings confirming the date and time of the event. If you don’t see one, it is your responsibility to make sure the event is going ahead. 

No communication with the reseller

On most ticket resale sites, the person who is listing the ticket will be one degree of separation from the buyer. This protects both parties, and means your point of contact will always be a professional. 

They are marketplaces, and not sellers

This is a vital difference to keep in mind. The focus of these websites is to provide a secure platform on which to buy and sell tickets. However, there’s a completely different set of liabilities for secondary marketplaces compared to primary outlets. 

Fees keep these websites running

As with primary ticket sites, fees apply to purchases on a secondary ticket marketplace. These appear at checkout, and as well as helping companies turn a profit, this revenue is invested into sites to ensure a high level of security for buyers and sellers. 

So don’t be afraid to get in touch

Ticket resale sites are aware that these things can cause a bit of anxiety. For this reason, the best ticket marketplaces have helpful and responsive customer service via multiple channels, from email to WhatsApp. 

How and When Are Resale Tickets Delivered?

  • PDF – You’ll receive an email between 24 and 48 hours of an event and can print the tickets out at home
  • Mobile Tickets – You’ll be invited to download an app ahead of time, and can load the tickets, between 24 and 48 hours of the event taking place
  • Paper Tickets – Much less common today, this is the most variable format, involving special delivery or couriers, but also occasionally collection at the venue from the buyer

What is Ticket Compare?

Ticket Compare is a comparison site, with a hand-picked selection of the best ticket resale sites for anything from football tickets to MMA to concerts.

The great thing about our comparison tool is that you don’t have to trawl through the various ticket marketplaces. 

Just search for the team you want to see, and click through to the appropriate site to complete the purchase. As we mentioned, we test and review all of the platforms on Ticket Compare.

Related Articles:

Aviran Zazon

Written by Aviran Zazon

The Ticket-Compare Staff is a team of football aficionados and ticketing experts at Ticket-Compare.com, committed to providing top-notch content. From insightful comparisons to the latest news, we ensure fans have reliable information to make informed decisions. Trust us to be your guide in the ever-exciting world of football.