Fill A Seat – San Diego ( or

Posted: November 29, 2012 in Distractions and Barriers, Live Locally, Living Locally Resources, Personal Finance
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Seaport Village March 2012
A little over a year ago we were curious about a local living email deal for (Fill a Seat San Diego). They were just getting started, and we were willing to try it out for the reasonable fee being charged. So we went into it with a hopeful attitude, and just in case, not too much money sunk into it. I checked the site daily for months, but it went from not much available at first, which was somewhat understandable, to a large number of offerings, they were almost all the same type of event – Comedy. If you love comedy shows, get a membership to If not, then save your money and your time. I’m writing this in November 2012, if you see a review written after this that appears to be honest and positive, then maybe they have been more successful at getting other types of shows. Of course reviews of any kind are hard to come by as they cancel your membership without refund if you write a review they don’t like. I don’t have to worry about that as I don’t plan to ever get another membership regardless of any future reviews.

I don’t have any complaints about the process of selecting seats, and had no problems with getting in to the show for the one comedy show we decided to see. We enjoyed it, but never made the time to do another and never saw a different type of show with available tickets. It was a very disappointing experience logging in and seeing the same type of shows almost exclusively. There were a few other types of shows listed. Since I checked the site very frequently I can say that there were not many of those tickets available relative to the number of members as they were always “Sold Out” before I even saw them. I’m not saying I know this, but I do suspect that these events were “ringers”, as they were more frequent before new daily local living email deals were published offering bargain membership prices to the site. If the company simply bought 2-4 tickets to these “ringer” type events they would be able to list them as past events, but they would be “Sold Out” immediately. There is no information on the number of seats filled for past events, and I don’t expect them to provide that information publicly as the event managers would probably not want that information provided. So all there is to go on is personal experience. Based on my personal experience: Don’t buy a membership to unless you totally love comedy shows and will go to several of them a year.

Anyone have a different opinion based on their experience? Feel to share it with a comment. Please do not discuss the actual shows or venues, but feel free to agree with or dispute my opinion based on your experience.

Note: Scroll down to see the comments (including one from FillASeat).

  1. Robert says: has offered over 400 performances in their first 12 months which included musicals, concerts, sporting events, and more. These post about this site just having Comedy are being posted by a small group of people who work for other ticketing sites.

    • eric.rial says:

      Robert, thanks for your comment. I’m hoping other former members of fill a seat San Diego will add comments about their perception and experience with the variety of available seats to fill. Feel free to break down the type of events you have offered seats to in more detail. How many were sporting events, how many were music, plays, other types of events, and of course let us know how many of the over 400 events were comedy shows. Not asking for event names, or venues, just type of event statistics. Not sure why you don’t list comedy as a type of show, I guess it is in the “and more”. I find that somewhat misleading when I can say from personal experience that at least 80% (and probably a much higher percentage) of your seat listings were for comedy shows.

      As for me working for a competitor, not true… maybe that argument would work if this was a review site like Yelp but this is my blog. A blog I have been working on for over 2 years and I’ve posted over 110 posts on it about a variety of topics. Feel free to look around my site it is open to fair and honest review. But it is not open to misinformation. Everything I said was true based on my experience using Fill a Seat San Diego. I stand by my review!

      I wish you the best with your site/business. The concept is great! If you can find a way to get a higher number of the other types of shows, I’m sure you will get better reviews in the future.

      • Scott says:

        Wow! I really appreciate your review! There are not many out there which seemed fishy. To be honest what truly made up my mind was the negative and unsubstantiated retort by fillaseat! They recently opened shop in Atlanta and based on their comment to your blog and based on a total lack of information as to why my fees will get me, I would warn other Atlantans to be very wary! I can understand they may not want I give specific venues or dates but a total lack of offerings seem unreasonable. Thank you!! (But no thank you)

      • eric.rial says:

        Scott, Thanks for the comment. However, I don’t think this should be applied to other FillASeat cities. Each one is separate, probably run by a different set of people, and each market is different I’m sure. I think the idea is sound. Although I don’t think they have enough variety here in San Diego, and I totally agree that their response on this blog was defensive, which makes me wonder if they can or will solve the problem, I do hope they improve. There are good reviews for some of the other cities out there like Las Vegas, but there aren’t many entertainment markets quite like Las Vegas.

  2. Kim says:

    I have been a member of Fill-a-Seat San Diego for a little over a year now.. and up until recently ABSOLUTELY LOVED it!!. The Customer Service was great (something that is VERY important to me).. and I went to SO many events over the year that I normally would not have done (if not close to 100% because it was all free) In my year membership.. I attended 26 events. Yes, many were comedy (which is GREAT for me.. I LOVE comedy.. but they also were headliners.. not just local comedians).. but I also attended concerts (Robin Thicke, Belinda Carlisle.. could have attended Kelly Clarkson but saw the posting too late).. I’ve attended musicals, Shakespeare & other plays, the San Diego Symphony, Magic show, Polo, Classic car and motorcycle shows.. as you can see.. it’s been Wonderful.. I made their praises so much.. they extended my membership because they appreciated my glowing recommendations (and that I got quite a few of my family & friends to join)!

    However.. that was last year. Since the end of 2012, I guess they have changed management companies (I am VERY distraught about it!).. and their level of Customer Service.. SUCKS!.. and so far.. all I’ve seen is tickets to the American Comedy Club.
    I am praying that it is all attributed to 1)transition from one management company to another and 2)slow period for events at the beginning of the year.. and they return to the same level of offerings and customer service I have come to love over 2012.

    • eric.rial says:

      Kim, Glad you had a good experience in 2012. In the same year I was on there quite often and was always, “too late” for the good (non-comedy) tickets. Also as I said in my post, if you love comedy shows, then Fill-a-Seat San Diego is for you. For everyone who has a membership, I hope, like you that they will find great events.

      Anyone else have a different experience? Feel free to comment!

  3. Stephanie Lane says:

    Thank you for posting this review. I just saw an offer for Denver that is $40 for a year membership (2 people). The membership rules seem quite stringent and I wanted to learn about the experience that current, and past, members have had. As they say, “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!” Thanks, again, for your input.

    • eric.rial says:

      No problem Stephanie. As I’ve said in previous comments, I would not automatically apply the San Diego Fill a Seat review to to Denver. Each Fill a Seat is run independently, and the entertainment markets may be different. Although there is a lot going on in San Diego, it is nothing like a Las Vegas or New York for sheer number of shows.

      • Scott says:

        I took a chance on it in Atlanta.. I have been highly disappointed with the offerings and number of shows. I am forbidden by their terms of service to discuss it, but I can comfortably say I will not be renewing with them in Atlanta Ga on Fillaseat!

      • eric.rial says:

        Thanks Scott. The terms of service make this a black box deal unless people put their opinion out there. It would be great if they could really make this work. But they didn’t get it right here, at least not for me in 2012.

  4. sabi says:

    This makes sense. Livingsocial has the deal up again, but for LA and I sought out reviews since the website seems a bit…
    I’m assuming that LA would have a plethora of event types to offer, but fierce competition as well. I guess for someone who likes to just get out of the house and doesn’t really care where they go, this would be totally worth it, I mean, as is, 2 people going to a movie nowadays sets you back more than the $40 livingsocial is asking for. All in all, I guess if I get one outing out of it, I can at least consider myself broken even.
    It sounds like a gamble with 50/50 odds…were I in Vegas with those odds, I wouldnt think twice.

    Ps. I swear I don’t work for fillaseat…I’m just thinking out loud as I write this and trying to convince myself to go for it xD

    • eric.rial says:


      What you are saying makes sense, and I don’t think my review would apply to other cities. If someone has experience using Fill A Seat in LA, feel free to share your experience.

      You make another good point. The information in comments is subject to the same thing that can happen on Yelp. There is no way to validate the identity of the commentor unless they happen to have a blog we could check out.

  5. Papa says:

    I just join FillAseat Charlotte yesterday through Groupon. They “opened shop” in charlotte effective 6/1/2013. I wish I had seen this before I joined. I think I will sorry I joined. When I looked for events it stated something to the affect, great shows are on the way. However they do no have any shows to offer nor did they so far. I’m wondering why my membership started on the day I joined if they don’t have any shows. I think the annual membership clock should start when they have at least one event to offer.

    • eric.rial says:

      That’s not good. Thanks for sharing that info. My experience was different. They had events, just much more of one type of event – Comedy – than anything else. I hope they get some events and you get your money’s worth as they don’t refund. The idea of buying these memberships with no idea what you are getting no longer works for me, but based on other’s comments it has worked for some. I also think it does work in certain locations.

  6. MEME says:

    ANYONE IN DC? Since DC is now the second live theater city in the nation I would like to know which theaters have had offers? Has anyone joined — they say they have 50,000 members nationwide??

    • eric.rial says:

      Thanks for the comment. I don’t know what the real numbers are for Fill A Seat nationwide. I can always tell when they have put out a new local email deal for fill a seat because the number of people viewing this post goes up. For cities that have had Fill A Seat for some time the number of reviews available has gone up as people end their membership after the year. It appears that Fill a Seat DC has been going since Spring 2013, so there should be more reviews once the year is up. Most people won’t post reviews before that because Fill A Seat can cancel their membership if they say what shows are available or say anything negative about Fill A Seat. See Membership Rules:



      I welcome any comments here from current Fill A Seat DC members or members in any city.

  7. Stacia Jo says:

    I can only speak on the Las Vegas Fill A Seats and I know we have the most available shows but I’m really happy with my membership and highly recommend purchasing for Vegas. A friend got free tickets to a certain sexy singer that performs at the Stratosphere that I really wanted to see a year ago and I was introduced to Fill A Seat.

    The Vegas shows are typically valued at $20-$100 per ticket with the occasional premium show or sporting event valued at $200-$500 per ticket.

    Each day the shows are different and typically there are 10-20 shows/events/community functions/concerts/sporting events to choose from with sign up from 10am – 4pm.

    Personally I’ve used Fill A Seats for more than 30 shows this year and highly recommend purchasing a membership to all my friends. If you have kids there are several great afternoon shows and community events available. Living in Vegas I’m always playing tourist to visiting friends and family so I’m very thankful I have Fill A Seats to entertain guests. Date nights are easy and fun to plan since I have the opportunity to get free tickets with my membership. My favorite thing about Fill A Seats is it gets me to try things that are different, events I wouldn’t normally go to, because there is no harm in trying something new when I’m getting free tickets.

    Shows I’ve seen include 4 comedy, 2 magic/kids, 1 hypnotic show, 1 animal/kids, 3 live music, 1 headlining boxing competition, 2 burlesque, 2 male “Bachelorette Party entertaining” events, 1 musical, 2 headlining Country singers, 2 college sports event, 1 professional basketball game, 3 popular production shows, 2 nightlife events, 2 family friendly community events, 1 famous headliner concert, and 2 Tribute band shows.

    I’ve saved literally hundreds of dollars with my Fill A Seat membership and I will definitely be renewing my membership at the end of the year!

    Again this pertains to the Vegas Fill A Seats . . . .

    • eric.rial says:

      I agree that Las Vegas could be completely different. Not only are there way more events, but drawing people into the Casinos is worth giving away empty seats. This is not true for so many other places. San Diego actually has tons of things going on, but the venues don’t have the same incentive to draw people in.

      • Beth says:

        I would guess that they have lots of connections in Las Vegas as a membership anywhere also includes concierge service in Vegas. I can see it working really well in that area. Other places.. not so much.

      • eric.rial says:

        Thanks for the comment Beth. I agree with you from everything I’ve seen.

  8. Stacia Jo says:

    Yeah we are spoiled with great events here and when I attend a show in a casino I always gamble, eat, and drink so the venue is still getting value out of my visit. I believe that Fill A Seats has also been in Vegas the longest so they have the most reoccurring venues/events here.

    Personally, as an event planner, I love the concept of being able to offer unsold tickets to fill up the venue because we still generate revenue from food/drink sales and introduce new guests to the event. Hopefully the San Diego area will get better with time just like Vegas has and venues will be more receptive to the Fill A Seat concept.

    • eric.rial says:

      I would love to see this work here but I’m skeptical. I do use things like Goldstar to get cheaper, usually half price, tickets to events, but I don’t think I’ll be trying Fill A Seat again.

  9. Melody says:

    I have a membership to FillASeatBoston and am highly disappointed. I contacted customer service about the event offerings and I was basically told they will only be offering local performers. Not interested! I’m stuck with something that I will never use and can’t get a refund for.

    • eric.rial says:

      Melody, Thanks for the info on FillASeatBoston. The more I think about what Fill A Seat offers, the less I think it can really work for a broad range of events as they claim outside of a few limited cities – New York, LA, and Las Vegas. In other cities there are very few large venues that attract major events that will be willing to give away seats to “fill the house”. In other cities they may sell the tickets at a discount, but I doubt they will be willing to give seats away on a regular basis in other cities.

  10. Fill A Seat Charlotte is really terrible and please they can take my membership back, you can’t black mail me into not talking, Black mail only works if something is worth losing. High School Plays, Local Basketball Games, and it just goes downhill from there.

  11. Nancy says:

    Today it’s advertised in San Francisco, so I ‘googled’ and got you….thanks. It DID sound too good, and comedy shows are already in great abundance on Goldstar. Any SF’s out there who buy, I’d love to hear your experiences. The ‘clock of silence’ seems odd, too. Unamerican!

  12. Nancy says:

    I meant the ‘cloak’ of silence!

    • eric.rial says:

      Thanks Nancy. I too would like to see more reviews. There are a few good ones even here, but nothing that makes me want to give it a try again. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to a comedy show and I’m ready for another, but I don’t see myself going to 3-4 of them a year.

      If anyone has good or bad experiences please feel free to share.

  13. alan says:

    RE SF FILL A SEAT DEAL: I just Read the deal as well on a local discount website – for $40 for a Duet membership for a year, much like others. The Rules and Regs are seemingly written by someone familiar w regulations a la Russia during the cold war ?!?! Very heavy language and the promise of dismissal if you upset or disagree w them publically ! can they do that ?! Stay in Vegas w your crappy service. Appreciate the blog – you all just saved me from spending $40 bucks !

  14. Carol says:

    ugh – why didn’t I do my homework? I always do my homework – but for $40 and a “duet” membership in Chicago I thought – ok one freebie in a year and maybe it will pay for itself. So far… comedy….oh and comedy… and a play in Spanish… which is awesome…but I dont speak Spanish… keeping my fingers crossed that something comes through that isn’t… comedy

    • eric.rial says:

      Thanks for the comment Carol. There are more reviews out there than when I put this post up. It always good to hear from someone who has recent experience with Fill A Seat. My suggestion would be to try out at least one comedy show so you don’t feel completely ripped off. Many of the San Diego listings were nearly free at the door anyway with a 2 drink minimum. But there were a few that had “real” ticket charges.

    • Bertha says:

      I too got the Chicago membership, and I was disappointed as well. I actually did read a few negative reviews, although at this point I don’t remember if it was before or after purchasing, and assumed that people were just being picky, and also thought, “Well hey, I love comedy shows, so that doesn’t seem like a problem!”

      Wrong! In June, I purchased the four person subscription, because there was no two-person option at listed at the time on Amazon Local.. I would have definitely gotten that, because I don’t have enough friends with the same taste to EVER have four people at the same event, at least one that would need seats filled. And then I would have only wasted $40 and not $70.

      It’s been five months and I have yet to go to any events. Most of the ones listed would have cost me $5 to go to without the membership.. and when I say I like comedy, I like good comedy. The only comedy they really have listed is one bar, that even my comedy nerds friends haven’t heard of.

      It’s primarily a couple of venues that always have shows listed, and I actually got excited recently because my boyfriend mentioned he wanted to go to a show at the venue. This venue had shows listed seemingly every week on here, so I thought for sure we’d at least get tickets to that one.. nope, that particular show was not available through OTL!

      I haven’t even just signed up for random stuff on a whim because if I then on a whim decide not to go, and then I do that twice, I lose the membership. Sigh..I’m also afraid of reviewing them on Yelp and losing my membership. I say that as though they don’t monitor this comment thread..!

      I presently try to win tickets through a few promotional websites (Goldstar, also a local promotion company, and a local event calendar) and I get tickets to $50 events for free or very cheap. of course none of them are things I love, but they are at least interesting. I thought that OTL Chicago would be like that, and it is not. The only shows that have looked at all interesting are in a very far-flung suburb (1 hour drive.. and I don’t have a car, so 2.5 hours on transit)..

      Maybe it works in Vegas, but it doesn’t work in Chicago.

  15. Laura says:

    This is exactly how it is for fillaseatboston….and not for nothing but there are only so many times you can hear the same jokes being told. That said, for a local living deal for $40 for the year, I’ve been to our Boston comedy club 3 times (once for a date and twice for birthdays, so I have gotten $120 worth of comedy tickets alone for $40). Was it a great deal? Not really. Most of the tickets they offer that aren’t at the comedy clubs are just $10 a ticket local/small events, but hey it was worth a shot!

    • eric.rial says:

      Thanks Laura.
      The biggest disappointment for me was the difference between what they claim you’ll get and what you actually have available for shows shows and tickets. If you go to several comedy shows throughout the year you may save money but you still got much less than you expected. if they were even a little honest about what types of events you’ll really see I would not beer as critical of them. I still wouldn’t see the membership as worthwhile though.

  16. Lizzy Fone says:

    I ordered the San Francisco Fillaseat back in February. Since it was new, they gave me an extra month on my membership. For that first month it was amazing! I saw two drama plays, a BYOB comedy show, two musicals (one quite well-known, one new independent that has gone on to get great reviews). I was so impressed that I upgraded my membership and recommended it to a load of people.

    (I also really liked that I was seeing things that I normally wouldn’t have gone to. It’s great to get to know the less-mainstream arts culture in your city.)

    Then they upgraded their web site. Not only could I not even access my account for several weeks, but once I got back on, the selection of shows has been very lackluster. I did do one other comedy show, because I had a friend in town who wanted to do something. But the drinks for the two drink minimum were so expensive we spent about $30 per person anyway. To me, that pretty much defeats the purpose of free tickets…I usually buy a drink when I go out, but if I’m FORCED to, I might as well just be paying for a ticket. Seems like all they offer now are tickets to the shows at a few different comedy clubs in the city, all with 2 drink minimums, which means that you can probably get the tickets for free elsewhere anyway.

    I wasn’t expecting to be able to see the ballet or Broadway quality shows. But there is so much going on in the city in the way of musicians, smaller theater productions, classical music concerts, professional sports….and I just haven’t seen that being offered, especially after the first month. Very disappointing.

    • eric.rial says:

      Lizzy, Thanks for the info on Fill A Seat San Francisco. Somehow I did not see this comment until today – very busy summer I guess.We visited your beautiful city this summer and used Groupon and Living Social to help get better prices on things we wanted to do, like bike across the Golden Gate. There are tons of good local theater and other events in San Diego too, but I saw little to no events like those on Fill a Seat San Diego while I was a member. I don’t know how Fill A Seat works, but I imagine they want the seats from venues to be free (no money from Fill A Seat to the venue). I can understand why that doesn’t work for these small theater venues. They aren’t in it to get rich, but they need to make some money in order to keep the doors open. Only venues that want to attract attendance to make money in other ways, like selling drinks or gambling are going to give away tickets. Unfortunately I don’t think this works except in a city like Las Vegas.

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