Billy Joel fans who still don't have tickets to see him Tuesday at the final concert before the Nassau Coliseum closes will likely have to pay significantly higher prices -- more than triple the face value in some case -- on the secondary market if they want to get in.
The cheapest seats were $49.50 when tickets went on sale May 1 and sold out within minutes. Those same seats were going for $161 to $331 last night on a number of websites, trending upward from Friday, when the rock-bottom price was $150.
For seats on all levels, the average resale price on Friday was $268 per ticket on the SeatGeek website -- the highest average price for a Joel show in the country this year, company spokesman Chris Leyden said.
"The [Tuesday] show is also the most expensive event at Nassau Coliseum in the last five years," Leyden said. "We started tracking the secondary market in 2010, and no concert or Islanders game tops the price for this show."
Fran Steinman, 66, of Glen Cove, paid a broker more than $500 a few months ago for two tickets for her and her husband, Don, 60. She is a longtime fan, but this will be her first Billy Joel concert.
"It was very important to me," Steinman said. "It's on my bucket list."
Ticket prices can fluctuate as the day of an event approaches, depending on supply and demand, as sellers look to get the best possible prices but don't want to get stuck with unsold inventory.
As of last night, the most expensive tickets on StubHub were a pair of floor seats at $2,600 each. On the Coliseum website, the costliest resale price was $1,524.76 through Ticketmaster.
Steep admission prices aren't unusual for Joel's concert dates.
Tickets for his Aug. 13 concert at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia ranged from around $107 to $5,855 per ticket as of last night, according to StubHub. The cheap seats originally were $70.50 on Ticketmaster, fees included.
Past Nassau Coliseum events with sticker-shock prices included a Hannah Montana concert in 2007 with a StubHub average of $406 per ticket. Last year, there were tickets costing more than $500 for "Disney on Ice: Frozen," but those were for front-row, rinkside seats.
Leyden, a content analyst for SeatGeek, said that there is less of the old-time "scalping" or resale of tickets at the scene of concerts or sporting venues.
The reason, he said, is that purchasing from reputable sites reduces the chance of fraud, and gives the buyer a wider variety of seats and prices to choose from.
Critics of the resale market, including Consumer Reports, have said it gives an unfair edge to speculators who buy up blocs of tickets and puts prices out of the reach of many people who want to see their favorite performer or team.
The office of state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman offered these tips to help protect purchasers:
Check to see if the venue, sports team or event has an official, verified source for buying and reselling tickets.
Be cautious when purchasing tickets printed from a home computer. When possible, seek out tickets printed by the venue.
Pay by credit card and if the tickets turn out to be fake, you can dispute the charge.
Like other products, tickets with prices too good to be true probably aren't for real.
With Glenn Gamboa