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Discount tickets help producers, consumers

Everybody wants to help Las Vegas show producers.

Producers talk as though they wish these do-gooders would go help someone else. But, however haltingly, they reach out to accept the helping hands that sell discount tickets for their shows.

Mitch Francis runs the city’s largest discount operation. Last week, he acquired a five-outlet rival, All Access Ticketing, to give Tix4Tonight 13 outlets around town.

"We’re really responding to (two) demands. From the producers who ask us to sell more, and from the consumers who want to find us in more places," Francis says.

All Access was rumored to be in financial hot water and the acquisition might have been pre-emptive, to keep the outlets away from the Greenspun Corp., Francis’ last rival for discount sales.

Greenspuns’ Vegas.com is a dominant player for full-price sales. But it has five discount outlets, too, and is soon to open a prominent sidewalk location in front of the Showcase mall. It’s such a unique setup it required Clark County approval. But commissioners signed off on it after arguments that — you guessed it — shows need all the help they can get.

Brett Reizen wants to help, too. He’s a new player who came into the market by buying an old name. Allstate Ticketing once served a smaller, pre-Internet Las Vegas with the most visible booths beyond the actual box offices.

Full-priced tickets. What a concept. Reizen’s Entertainment Benefits Group takes over the 18 local locations under the name Tickets & Tours, and he understands "it won’t be easy."

If discount outlets continue to multiply, "it’s going to turn into Orlando. Everything is a discount ticket," Reizen says of his home base, where he says he cultivated the trust of theme park operators beset by "a lot of shady characters."

Reizen has the ability to sell reserved-seat tickets instead of vouchers the half-pricers make you take to the box office.

But when everything is on sale, Reizen must bend, too. His hybrid approach also lets producers pull the trigger on daily discounts, only without his booths being labeled as such.

It’s easy for Reizen to say discounters have become a little too helpful for producers. "If people want a discount or half-price ticket, they should work hard to go get it," he says. "I’m sure the producers feel the same way, but right now they have no choice. Because they need every sale they can get."

On that, two competitors somewhat agree. Francis says producers don’t complain of too many outlets. "They’re saying, ‘Sell more tickets and find more people who aren’t going to shows because they’re too expensive.’ "

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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