Vivid Seats vs. StubHub – Which Ticket-Buying Platform is Better?

E-commerce is everywhere. With every year that goes by, the world conducts more and more of its business online. In the last quarter of 2018, e-commerce sales accounted for between 10 and 15 percent of all retail sales and are growing at about four times the rate of offline sales. Brick and mortar stores will never go away, but buying things online is mainstream now. Whether for plane tickets or concert and sporting events, ticket sales are no exception to this trend. The secondary ticket market is vast and growing all the time.

Vivid Seats vs. StubHub - Which Ticket-Buying Platform is Better?

The leading ticket outlets, however, have inflated prices and aggravated customers with limited slots. A few entrepreneurs have seized the opportunity to build alternatives. Two of the leading contenders in this secondary market are Vivid Seats and StubHub. Both services allow you to buy hard-to-find tickets or to sell yours if you no longer need them. Both sites also offer tickets for a wide variety of events, from sports to concerts, theaters to festivals, and pretty much everything in-between. They have been around for many years, are considered reliable vendors, and offer seats in places that many primary ticket websites do not.

How can you choose between the two sites? In this article, you’ll see the similarities and differences between the services and get the information you need to make an informed decision. You’ll also see a price analysis of several different events to identify which service has the best deals.

Vivid Seats

Vivid Seats was launched in 2001 and had a very mature website. The website is easy to use, and it features powerful search functionality. You can sort search results by ticket, region, date, or artist. Availability is excellent, as they sell a vast range of tickets across all areas of a given venue. This sector is one place Vivid Seats stands out from the competition. You get access to prime seats and cheaper ones with some variability based on factors like availability, the venue, and, of course, who is selling what. In 2017, Vivid Seats reported having more than $1 billion in turnover.

Of course, price is a primary concern with any ticket vendor, and this is where Vivid Seats stands out. Compared to its rivals, Vivid Seats usually undercuts by a decent amount. There are fees—the price you see at first isn’t the price you pay, but costs are still below StubHub in many instances. The exact fees ticket resellers charge are hard to pin down, and unfortunately, you won’t see the total amount until you’re at the site’s checkout page. Vivid Seats’ service fees are reported to run from 20% to 40% of the original ticket price. This section is where the site makes its money. Additional fees, like shipping, can be as much as $25 or as little as $7.

There are many comments found on Vivid Seats and independent feedback sites citing their excellent service. They take care of customers with benefits such as making a courtesy call informing ticket holders of venue or time changes, and they provide guarantees in case of fake tickets. These benefits can both be invaluable.


eBay owns StubHub, and it launched in 2000. The website features all the bells and whistles you would expect from one of the big players in the business. Like eBay, StubHub ignores design in favor of data. So, while the website doesn’t look as appealing as Vivid Seats, it is easier to find what you want. Sorting by date helps you discover events, and StubHub also has an app, which means you get to use it in more places and on more devices.

For a few years, StubHub experimented with “All In Pricing,” where they showed up-front costs instead of tacking them at the end of the transaction. While this sounds good in theory, the higher initial prices scared consumers away, so now StubHub doesn’t show you its fees until you’re ready to finish buying the ticket. StubHub’s fees are reportedly a little higher than Vivid Seats’ on average. Total costs can range from 20% to 50% of the original price.

StubHub does have decent customer service but it is nowhere near as highly recommended as Vivid Seats. You do still get a guarantee against fake tickets, so it someone sells you a fake StubHub will help you get the genuine article for your show of choice if at all possible in order to make sure you don’t miss your show.

Price Comparisons

At the end of the day, the real choice between StubHub and Vivid Seats comes down to what service has cheaper tickets. Since both platforms are legit and don’t require you to jump through too many hoops to get the tickets you’re after, it’s safe to say that the real differentiator is price. Let’s look at a few past concerts and events to see what service offered better pricing for both budget options and front-row areas.

Ariana Grande – June 7, 2019 – Nashville, TN

Seating Area: Upper 330

  • Vivid: $129
  • StubHub: $133 – $143

Seating Area: Floor 1

  • Vivid: $470 – $490
  • StubHub: $496.37

NHL Islanders vs. Hurricanes – May 1, 2019 – Raleigh, NC

Seating Area: Upper 312

  • Vivid: $108 – $171
  • StubHub: $104

Seating Area: Center Ice 119

  • Vivid: $296 – $321
  • StubHub: $275 – $400

Jerry Seinfeld – November 16, 2019 – Las Vegas, NV

Seating Area: 307

  • Vivid: $123 – $128
  • StubHub: $128 – $155

Seating Area: 104

  • Vivid: $271 – $515
  • StubHub: $245 – $542

As this price comparison shows, both services have a wide variety of seats available and are usually competitive with one another on price. In cases where one service has a more extensive range of ticket prices than the other, it is generally due to the number of tickets available in that zone. You also have to consider that there are better and worse seats within the zones.

The Bottom Line—StubHub or Vivid Seats

Both Vivid Seats and StubHub get many important things right. They offer a vast range of genuine tickets at reasonable prices. They both provide good, user-friendly websites where you easily find what you need and get it rather quickly. Furthermore, both sites offer an app for finding tickets while on the move.

On another note, both vendors offer good customer service and guarantee legitimate, non-fake tickets for your show, so you don’t miss it because of a scam. Their prices are close enough that it can be worth your time to check out both options and compare the final amounts. In this head-to-head, there can be only one winner: you, the consumer.

Want more help with buying tickets online?

If you’re concerned about StubHub, see our article on whether StubHub is legitimate and safe.

23 thoughts on “Vivid Seats vs. StubHub – Which Ticket-Buying Platform is Better?”

Dianna says:
Vivid seat is a damn rip off. Never received tickets and lost my money.
Alison says:
I agree. Vivid Seats sent multiple confirmations to us in email and then three days before the show texted us to say we were unable to procure seats to your event. Still waiting for my refund.
CecilIa says:
I just bought from them, vividseats, was this a mistake ?
Len Martinez says:
Maybe I am just the (un)lucky buyer. I bought 8 seats to the NHL Winter Classic 2020. Vivid will NOT provide me an e-ticket via their app. They have only sent me a link to download the PDFs. Well, I can’t validate these are legit, and I’d rather not find out the day of the event at the Cotton Bowl.

I promised 4 of them for sale BEFORE buying off Vivid, but no other reseller will recognize or list them. AND VIVID REFUSES TO SELL THEM FOR ME EITHER!

So , I can’t sell them, I can’t validate them, but I’m out over $1,000!

Vivid chat says “they’re fine.” Seatgeek and Stubhub says “not.”

Panopticon says:
I went on both Stubhub and Vivid for Tool tickets, prices were more or less even but Vivid wouldn’t disclose their fees unless I entered all my personal information, email, phone, address, credit card info. I even went on their chat feature and they told me I had to purchase the tickets before I knew the fee. These creeps are the online equivalent of the shady scalpers running game outside the venues. I’ll stick with stubhub
Chuck says:
Yesterday, I almost purchased a pair of NHL tickets on Vivid. I didn’t complete the purchase, but was able to see the itemized fees and total. That evening, Vivid sent an email stating that I could get a 10% discount for tickets to that game. Today, I clicked on that 10% discount link, picked the same pair of tickets, and went to complete the purchase. There was an itemized 10% discount (of the ticket price) shown on the checkout page, but the per-ticket fees were HIGHER than the day before. I guess that Vivid needed to offset their 10% discount with a higher fee. As a result, I ended up getting about a 5% discount instead of the advertised 10%.
MadisonBravesFan says:
I saw the same thing today buying Braves Spring training tickets.

Almost $30 in fees for each “$84” ticket…..

Jeff says:
Bought 8 tickets to an NBA game on Vivid tickets. Got the group together and went to the game, only to be denied entry and told our tickets were not valid. Vivid customer service apologized but explained they were unable to fix the situation, and unable to offer a refund until paperwork and documentation is provided by us. We tried to make the most of things and have a fun time downtown, but as far as I can tell Vivid Tickets is no more than a scam.
Danielle says:
OMG!!! That same thing happened to me. Then I try to and talk to someone about it to get a breakdown of the pricing and the guy tells me he can’t even explain to me. He says he’s not that familiar with how they do it. Rip off!
Lakeshia says:
I was just going to order tickets and it never showed the service or delivery fees. Only the total of the tickets and just the block to place the order. No where to review the prices.
Michelle Crestfield says:
I always use Stub Hub if I cannot buy directly from the Venue. I checked Vivid and Stub Hub both. Only Stub gave me the total price before checkout. Vivid did not.
Mike says:
Agree with this comment.

The premise of this article is entirely false. StubHub still shows you the fees prior to checkout if you want to see them. Yes, they did experiment with “All-in Pricing” as the default and later scrapped that. Now you just have to click on the Filter and check the box to “Show prices with estimated fees”. I’ve found that these fees are right in line with the charges at checkout. Vivid gives you no such option. As others below have stated, it’s a virtual mystery until you get hit with the charge. It’s an absolutely outrageous business practice.

Shawna says:
I bought 2 tickets from Vivid Seats to Route 91 in Vegas this year and after the tragic events of that night , Stub Hub emailed my friend and immediately reimbursed her for her tickets along with a very sentimental note ( she did not even ask for reimbursement). I did an online chat with Vivid Seats to ask if they were doing the same as Stub Hub and this is the response :
Nick[12:47 PM] While we do recognize the what happened there was a tragedy as the event was for the most part complete, we will not be offering refunds.

Shawna [12:48 PM] How is it that stub hub is offering refunds then ?

Nick[12:49 PM] We are not affiliated with any other company.

Shawna [12:50 PM] But you do the same thing, sell tickets. Are they not your competition and they are doing this wonderful thing for their customers.

Nick[12:53 PM] I understand your frustration but we are unable to defer form our policies. “
….While I understand it is not in their policy, I am sure it wasnt in Stub Hubs policy as well on “what to do after customers who bought tickets to a concert through you were shot at In an open field”, but they defered from their policy realizing this was a good thing to do for their customers who were there that night. I will not be using Vivid Seats again as their policies obviously trump humanity. Maybe they need to rewrite their policiies now or at least recognize that policies are not set in stone and sometimes, just sometimes there is a right thing to do. Stub Hub obviously is way ahead of the curve on this one. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of that night, and I am proud to be a resident of Las Vegas and watch our community come together and offer love and support to those affected
by such a sensless act.

No ripoffs allowed says:
None of these are great. If a fair market ever enters the arena all these companies will be defunct.
R Miller says:
I had a stressful day with vivid seats for a Cubs game in June 2017. After devoting a lot of my afternoon with customer service trying to get delivery of the tickets, with nothing but being put on hold for way too long time and time, and then being told they resolved the problem and to check my email soon, I finally concluded I was in an endless loop. They refused to stay on the line to make sure I got the email. I had to be sure I had tickets so I finally bought them from stubhub with no problems. Vivid did finally deliver the tickets the next morning for this game (Cubs 1:20 start). I had told them to cancel during my conversations the day before, but they refused. I disputed the charge; they rebutted; I replied to Visa with more detail including phone records and their email showing delivery a few hours before game time long after I had to be sure I had tickets for me and my customer. I won the dispute.

I’ll won’t use vivid again. You may call this a one-off, so here is something that speaks to the quality of vivid vs. stubhub. The Cubs will no longer accept a ticket printed by your home printer. The only way in, aside from the actual ticket, is to use your cell phone. I had already asked stubhub what would happen if my cell phone failed to operate at the gate. They said that I always had the option of going to will-call and present my order # and ID. So when I was dealing with vivid seats, I asked if I could do that. They said that was not an option.

JR says:
Both of these sites have heavy fees tacked on at the end, which almost always causes you to overpay. When I am looking for NFL tickets, the first place I look is Ebay. No fees and a lot of the time you get tickets for less than face value. Plus, you have the option of messaging the seller to try and negotiate.
Pamela says:
I’ve purchased tickets a few times on Vivid and have been happy with the price of the tickets. I find that their prices are lower than Stubhub. As for the fees: Well, I’m not happy about them but the two sites don’t seem to be much different where that’s concerned. Normally, I purchase baseball tickets from Vivid, but recently I bought Hollywood Bowl tickets and had to pay a ridiculous amount for the shipping. Okay, they Fedexed the tickets to me, but that really wasn’t necessary.
Glen Downer says:
Hi Pamela. I hope you can set my mind at rest. I recently purchased tickets for a Mets game, a single admission double header in September. Even though the Vivid site states that the original sellers name will be on there, I find myself worried about this. I’m paranoid that I’ll turn up to find someone else has already entered with the same tickets and I’ll get turned away. Have your tickets always been valid, and have the original purchaser’s name on there? Any help, advice, and reassurance would be most appreciated. Many thanks, Glen.
Ben says:
StubHub is worse than Vivid. I’ve used both on numerous occasions and every time I do, the ridiculous fees that StubHub charge drive me nuts. Their customer service is also just plain awful
Michael Harradine says:

Buyer Beware when considering Vivid Seats.
Do not click purchase to avoid being overcharged.

Candidly the unfortunate customer service people at Vivid Seats probably take a lot of punishment from ripped off customers. They have no authority but simply read from their script which is obviously written to deflect expected complaints. There is a reason their invoice is not itemized – they are ripping everyone off.

DO NOT USE THIS online vendor.

Edward Suharski says:
I found Vivid to be a rip-off. I purchased Prime Orchestra seats for Hamilton. They won’t tell seat location until purchased. I ended up on the side – not even center orchestra for $690 per ticket plus their processing fee, taking my total to $1,750. To me, Prime Orchestra is Orchestra Center which they don’t break out. WISH I WOULD HAVE USED STUBHUB. Vivid took complete advantage of me. Unfortunately, I checked Stubhub too late. They had Orchestra Center for $1,400 including services fees. I will NEVER use Vivd again. Buyer beware……!!
Al says:
Vivid is AWFUL! Purchased MLB tickets last year…was given a total including taxes and fees. A few days later once the transaction actually hit my credit card, the amount charged was almost 40% higher than stated on the receipt. I called to inquire, and their customer service is rude, uninformed, and not at all helpful. I inquired about their 100% satisfaction guarantee since I was not satisfied, and they told me that I could take a survey…really, that’s your customer service? False advertising and price gouging. I’d rather take my chances with a scalper on the street.
Dana says:
Service and email fee of $70+ is absolutely insane. No way to refund even within 5min of ordering. Customer service terrible and impossible to get through. Still no tickets with 4 days until the event. NEVER use this site. Wasted time and money.
David Alban says:
Vivid hide their transaction fee. It’s tacked on at the end, and I’m not sure it’s even shown as an individual amount, it’s certainly not on the receipt. Everything is just rolled up into one amount, making it hard to see what has happened until after you have paid. This is a deceptive practice in my view.
Will says:
This is not true. That’s how Stubhub does it. Not Vivid Seats. They break it down at checkout, while Stubhub just puts everything under “Fees”. The biggest problem with Vivid Seats is they charge $6.95 for “e-mail delivery”, which costs them virtually nothing.
Frank Buchanan says:
I just got pumped in the kiester by Vivid. The app doesn’t break down any fees. I had to contact them & ask why my total charge was $40 more than the ticket amount. They responded & explained that I need to pay $20 PER TICKET in processing fees. In this case- that was 50% more than the ticket price. I’ve been screwed over before- this is exactly what it feels like. F U Vivid.
Sara S says:
I had a great experience with Vivid seats and their customer service and ticket guarantee were spot on. I am about to buy tickets and am planning on using them again as opposed to stub hub.
Ruth Moffatt says:
I had a horrible experience with Vivid. I bought tickets for a Broadway show on their website about 4 hours before show time. After waiting over two hours for the seller to “process” my order I was contacted by Nick M at Vivid & advised that the tickets I bought were purchased by someone else. When I asked how this could be possible, he explained that someone else hit the “buy” button before I did. Eventually he then explained that they were purchased on another secondary website. So, when I complained that I was held hostage for over two hours for tickets that were not delivered he said it wasn’t their problem I waited until the last minute to buy tickets. Horrible service; horrible attitude; horrible (non) delivery. I’m sticking with StubHub from now on.
Carl says:
NO RETURN POLICY AT VIVID! Will only use Stubhub from now on
James says:
Stubhub has the same policy

Comments are closed.

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