NJ Turnpike Authority Totes Tickets Too

With Ticketmaster and Live Nation joining forces recently to create an over lording, and possibly monopolistic, uber-ticket/promotional force, a better way to buy prime concert tickets has leaked out.

But there are a couple catches.

One, it’s only available for concerts at the PNC Bank Arts Center. And two, you have to call the New Jersey Turnpike Authority for the tickets.

You’re probably asking yourself, “wait, what?”

The Turnpike Authority, which also runs the Garden State Parkway, owns the Arts Center. And even though they lease the venue out, the Authority still holds on to 300 prime seats. While most of the public doesn’t know about the Authority holding the tickets, people who work in state government have asked for tickets for years, the Star Ledger reports.

Former Gov. Donald DiFrancesco recently asked for Toby Keith tickets, according to records released by the Authority. Trenton lobbyist Gene Mulroy bought seats to Keith and the George Strait show. Sen. Christopher Bateman and Hope Township Mayor Tim McDonough are rock fans -- both bought tickets for the Nine Inch Nails concert on June 6.

But you don’t have to be employed by the state to get these tickets.

“It's a policy that goes back a long time. It's always been done. It doesn't matter who you are. You don't need to know someone in order to get tickets. We'll sell them to you as long as we have them.” Authority spokesman Joe Orlando said.

But it can't hurt if you do know someone.

Other notable state employees who bought tickets include Ron Gravino, Chris Christie's campaign treasurer, Garden State Arts Center Foundation trustee Jim Appleton, Warren Township Police Chief Russell Leffert as well as more than two dozen employees of the Turnpike Authority, the paper said.

“Those tickets were really meant for people who work on the highways. They work very hard and if there is something that they can take advantage of, maybe they should be put in front of the line,” said McDonough, the former executive director of the New Jersey Highway Authority, which was absorbed into the Turnpike Authority in 2003.

The contract that the Authority has with Live Nation breaks down like this:

- 300 seats. 200 are in the orchestra and another 100 are in the first three rows of the loge section, which the Authority can sell to whoever they like. T

- Those buying seats must sign a letter saying they will not re-sell them and they are limited to four tickets.

- 40 free tickets to every concert for authority's commissioners and the governor's office.

And the Authority, like Live Nation, has a fee for each order. But the $20 total fee that the Authority charges are normally a lot lower than what Live Nation will charge.

If you want to try your luck to see if you can buy some primo tickets, call the New Jersey Turnpike Authority at 732.750.5300.

Good luck.

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