Tickets went on sale for Dota 2’s Kiev Major this week, and sold out within just a few hours. Many people reported waiting for hours in digital queues or not being able to get a transaction through on Karabas, the site responsible for selling the tickets. Fans who have already booked accommodations will be forced to pay scalper prices if they want to attend the Kiev Major.
Valve partnered with Karabas to sell the tickets online. Allegedly, most of the tickets were snapped in large quantities, presumably for resale by scalpers.
One Reddit user reported having paid over 1500 UAH for a single ticket, approximately $55 USD.
Perhaps a better comparison is to look at the prices of everyday purchases in UAH and compare them to the cost of a scalped ticket. This website shows an example of a standard lunch + drink in a business district as 103 UAH–for my fellow Americans, that’s less than $4 USD. The scalped ticket price for the Kiev Major is roughly 14 times that of a workday lunch. Personally, that seems pretty reasonable: a ticket to a major event is roughly equal to about two weeks of lunches out in the Ukraine.
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LiquidDota’s price list shows that a midweek day ticket (at face value) costs about 130UAH, roughly ~$5 USD. Grand Finals tickets only cost 400 UAH, just shy of $15 USD.
The general consensus is that the ticket prices were entirely too low. When they’re priced so far below demand, scalpers won’t bat an eye at picking up blocks of 10-20 tickets for resale, as the initial investment would only be a few thousand UAH. For context, a month of [average] pay in Kiev is about 6900 UAH, which means a scalper could pick up 17 tickets to the Kiev Major Grand Finals for a months’ wages. If they chose to resell the tickets at three times the price they paid for them, there’s a tidy sum to be made.
What’s a reasonable price for Kiev Major Tickets?
I felt like the $100 for the TI6 Grand Finals was a little steep. I paid $35 to see Def Leppard in concert in 2013, so Valve charging $100 for their fancy tournament seems pricey. However, if we apply the same logic to Seattle’s Key Arena as we did in Kiev, the math shows us that a scalper could pick up about 37 tickets for a month’s wages. In the US [in 2011], the average salary was $3769. For a month of wages, a ticket scalper in the United States could have bought and resold thirty seven tickets to the Ti6 Grand Finals.
Now, these numbers are probably skewed a bit given that the average Dota fan probably isn’t making the average wage in either country. Youths and early career people won’t be quite at the national wage average just yet, but it still illustrates the disparity in what we perceive to be expensive/good value. I would have looked at the low prices for the Kiev Major and scoffed, thinking that it was the source of the scalping issues. But when you actually do the math out, perhaps Valve aren’t overcharging us as much as we thought.
At any rate, good luck getting a ticket if you had planned on heading to the Ukraine. Even if you have to pay scalper prices for Kiev Major tickets, you’re paying less than a midweek pass for the International. Just some food for thought.