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F1 U.S. Grand Prix tickets see high-demand and high prices, only resale tickets available

Circuit of the Americas said when their Sunday-only tickets went on sale Tuesday, they saw the primary tickets get bought up within minutes.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Aug. 23, Circuit of the Americas released tickets for the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One Race on Sunday, Oct. 23. When people went online to buy tickets, they saw ticket prices increase within minutes.

Just about 15 minutes after tickets went on sale, prices had increased more than $100 above face value and only resale tickets were available.

On Aug. 25, COTA’s website said Sunday tickets started at $259, but if you click the button to buy them, you will find the lowest price is more than $400.

COTA told KVUE they did post-primary tickets online when they went for sale, but said they were bought in minutes. COTA said they work with Ticketmaster, to ensure all purchasers are in fact real people. Ticketmaster, which is where COTA’s website sends you to buy tickets, told KVUE that prices can be seen going up and down due to demand.

“Dynamic pricing is about capturing more value for the artist at the initial on-sale, vs that value going to people reselling tickets on the secondary market. Similar to airlines and hotels - prices adjust up or down based on demand,” Ticketmaster said in a statement. 

The company said it uses analytical tools to quantify the supply and demand.

“Promoters, artist representatives and sports teams set pricing strategy and price range parameters on all tickets, including dynamic and fixed price points. Ticketmaster has created analytical tools that use historical and real time data to help quantify supply and demand," Ticketmaster said.

RELATED: Formula 1 will race at Circuit of the Americas for 5 more years

The supply and demand model is also used at Ticket City, which is a ticketing website based in Austin.

“It's a marketplace,” said Randy Cohen, CEO of Ticket City. “So, the ticket prices go up and down like the stock market. Right now, people are just so excited about events like Formula One, and so the inventory has really gone down, which means prices are going up.”

He said this year is the highest demand they have seen for U.S. Grand Prix tickets in Austin on their website, as the sport gains popularity.

"Because the recent show on Netflix ‘Drive to Survive’ during COVID, everybody watched that show,” said Cohen.

Cohen said Ticket City has personal seat licenses with different venues that allows them to get tickets for resale. And usually, they have to pay more for these tickets, which is one factor he said makes the tickets above face value many times.

“They might say $100 on the ticket, but if I have to pay, you know, $1,000 to have the right to buy that ticket at $100 every year, my cost is really a lot more than that $100,” he said.

If you want the old days of standing in line for tickets, you can’t do that. COTA, and most other venues, only open their box office on event days. This is because the world has gone virtual.

“We just basically send the tickets via email or mobile,” he said. “You pull up the barcode and you're good to go.”

So, what is Cohen’s best advice?

“You know, watch the market for a day or two. There's no rush necessarily to get them,” Cohen said. “There's always going to be availability. You're never going to get the lowest price. You never most likely going to have to pay the highest price if you're patient.”

COTA told us the best way to prepare for Formula 1 Aramco U.S. Grand Prix ticket sales now or in the future is to be on their email list.

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