At least that's what you were told.
In reality, members of the public had a very slim shot at scoring one of the coveted tickets that day.
In fact, of the 12,118 seats to Swift's April 12 show, more than 10,300 had already been sold to or held for certain credit-card holders, people with connections to Swift and members of other insider groups.
When the "general public" sale opened, only 1,740 seats were left ... fewer than 15 percent of the total seats available.
The result: About 30 seconds after the sale opened, the best seat you could find was a single seat (no twosomes were left) in the highest level of the arena ... for about $100.
The show had been billed as an affordable family night out at a city-owned venue — with tickets starting at just $29 for the teen and preteen girls who make up the bulk of Swift's fan base.
In reality, these cheap tickets were virtually nonexistent by the time the general public was allowed to type in credit-card numbers.
Instead, regular folks were offered "VIP" packages that included pre-show parties … for $387.
Welcome to the shady world of ticket sales ... in arenas that taxpayers paid to build.
The story of modern-day ticket sales is murky and complicated.
It involves many moving parts — from ticket scalpers to insider privileges.
But all of these parts have a common effect: driving up ticket costs.
Industry insiders largely shrug, saying it's simply the nature of the business these days. Sophisticated ticket-brokers have tainted the process. And artists, who have seen record sales decline thanks to Internet downloads, now want a bigger piece of the touring pie.
But there are those who believe the public deserves better — especially when it comes to venues such as the Amway Center, which was financed with tax dollars.
"These public facilities are party to all this," said Dean Budnick, who wrote "Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped." "And the public has a right to know how it all works."
So how does it work?
Well, in Swift's case, the hot young country star planned two stops in Orlando — something city officials describe as a coup and proof that building the new, $480 million facility was an investment that paid off.
But 85 percent of the tickets to the April 12 show were gone before the general public ever got a shot.
For the April 11 show, 78 percent of the tickets were gone before the public sale.
So who got the early offers?
Well, according to the city, 970 of the Orlando Magic's higher-end season-ticket holders got right of first refusal to the Friday-night show.
Taylor Swift's management company and the promoter got 3,700 — for everything from gifts to pre-sales for members of Swift's fan club.
Then there are the "insider" deals: more than 5,700 tickets for holders of certain credit cards, such as American Express, and those on the city's arena-insider email list. (You can try to get on the city's list, too, by visiting amwaycenter.com and clicking on the tiny orange envelope at the top of the page.)
Really, though, many of these early-access deals are snatched up by professional ticket brokers with sophisticated software systems. They snatch up the tickets and then sell them for higher prices — you can find them now for anywhere from $100 to $1,000 on places such as stubhub.com and ticketsnow.com. It's all perfectly legal in most states, including Florida.
But it gets even sleazier. Some artists are now cutting themselves in on the scalping action — by "holding back" big blocks specifically for the brokers, who then cut the artists in on the markups.
Budnick, the author, understands the thinking behind presales but notes the public pays the price.
"Is it fair for Taylor Swift to privilege her fan-club members? Maybe," Budnick said. "But when it's a publicly funded facility, I think maybe the standards should be different."
So why not, for instance, require that any show in this publicly financed arena sell at least half of its tickets directly to the very public that helped finance it?
Because, responded Amway Center Director Allen Johnson, that's simply not the way it's done.
Johnson said promoters essentially rent the arena and then decide for themselves how they want to divvy up tickets.
"That's the dynamics of the business," he said. "The inventory that is controlled by the promoter. We don't want to dictate their business to them."
But it's not just their business. It's ours.
When Mayors Buddy Dyer and Rich Crotty sold the public on the arena, they went to great lengths to argue that they weren't building this state-of-the-art arena simply because the Magic bullied them into doing so. They claimed a new arena would give residents access to top-flight entertainment.
Only now we're learning that, for some of the hottest shows, the general public never even gets a shot a face-value tickets. Instead, taxpayers have subsidized yet another system to enrich already wealthy athletes, entertainers and professional ticket brokers.
Other venues have looked seriously at "paperless ticketing," where ticket holders must show the credit card used to purchase the ticket to prevent scalping. Or maybe there should be more tickets set aside for in-person sales.
Whatever the case, Orlando and Orange County officials — who often have their own luxury suite for events — should deliver what was promised.
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