Seat Fillers in Chicago? Yes, Really!

Seat Fillers in Chicago

No Mistake Here - There are Free Ticket VIPs in the Windy City!

By Lu, OTL City Guides & Seat Fillers

If you’ve never heard of Chicago seat fillers, then you’re in for a treat. Seat filling isn’t just for awards shows or TV tapings anymore.

The modern concept is a win-win:

  1. Seat fillers receive free pairs of tickets to local shows and events.
  2. The arts and entertainment community benefits from a free, private, and easy way to expand the audience.

Why Would I Want to Be a Seat Filler?

Before I answer the question, “why would I want to be a seat filler?” let me ask a few more.

  • Do you enjoy live shows and events?
  • Are you a fan of plays, musicals, and comedy shows?
  • Would you be open to ticket opportunities popping up out of the blue instead of planning for weeks or months ahead?

Did You Answer Yes, Yes, Yes?

If you answered yes to all three, then you’d 100% enjoy being a seat filler.

But if any one of my questions resulted in a definitive no, then you’re in the wrong place. Instead, you might want to check out the Chicago event calendar powered by Evvnt to purchase tickets directly from the venue.

Hey, we love expanding our presence with new OTL Seat Fillers in Chicago. But we don’t want anyone to join our little club unless it’s the perfect fit.

Overview of Seat Fillers in Chicago

There are three reasons why I posed those three questions...

One: Seat Fillers attend live shows and events.

Two: There might be the occasional concert from time to time, but local seat filling is all about plays, musicals, and other theatrical events. OTL also receives quite a few invitations from comedy clubs. Additionally, seat fillers will see quite a few one-off opportunities, like sports, burlesque, lectures, book signings, dance, classes, etc.

Three: Seat filling is more about last-minute opportunities. Chicago venues privately offer comp tickets when they know they’ll have some open spots. So, advance notice tends to be more like a few days rather than a few weeks.

shows and events, seat filler events, seat filling events

Which Chicago Events and Venues Participate?

Most people who are new to OTL and local seat filling are curious about the ticket opportunities.

Keeping Things Quiet

However, you probably know the saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” and that applies to OTL as well. The reason why the concept has worked so well for more than seven years now is because of a policy called “privacy to shows.”

OTL never publicizes the names of its entertainment partners.


Because that defeats the purpose of the venue selling tickets. As a seat filler, you can cancel your membership at any time. So, if you saw that OTL had $100 tickets to a show you wanted to see, why wouldn’t you just join the club for $13.99, reserve two tickets valued at $200, and then cancel your membership?

We’re here to support the Chicago entertainment community, not find ways to work the system.

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Ticket Value and Event Variety

Over the years, though, OTL has provided members with some incredible opportunities. Some tickets might be in the $5 or $10 range. But others have been $50, $100, or even more.

As far as types of events, I mentioned that plays and musicals are the most common. But, anything goes these days for seat filling. We’ve had virtual opportunities, escape rooms, conferences and expos, dinner shows, you name it!

Plus, OTL seat fillers treat their guests through two and four-seat membership options.

How Do I Become a Chicago Seat Filler?

If you’re excited to give Chicago seat filling a try, it couldn’t be easier to join in on the fun.

All you have to do is go to OTL’s pricing page and select one of the three “preferred” memberships. You’ll have your choice of the following:

  • Premiere – two seats per show
  • Grand – up to four seats per show
  • Special – a discounted Premiere for seniors, military, first responders, teachers, and college students

OTL’s low, low (very low!) membership dues are all-inclusive, meaning that’s all you pay. So, if you have a $13.99-a-month Premiere plan, you can reserve up to two seats for shows and events that pop up from time to time. You get to share your secret seat filling VIP privileges with family and friends.

What’s the Catch?

I can’t say that there isn’t a catch (or three). But I don’t think you’ll find them to be a very big deal.

One, Two, Three

One: The first is that there’s no guarantee as to the number of shows or specific ones. That’s the entire premise of OTL seat filling, though. It’s fun to see what pops up, but that means one month it could be one show, and the next, you might have five or six open for reservations.

Two: A second “catch” is that seat fillers in Chicago have to attend anything they reserve. There’s no mandatory number of events you have to go to, but if you make a reservation, you can’t no-show. OTL’s partners count on those seats being filled.

Three: Oh, and I guess there is a third catch, but it’s easy, too. OTL Chicago seat filler memberships auto-renew monthly, but you can cancel at any time.

How Do Event Promoters Request Seat Filling in Chicago?

I’ve spent quite a bit of blog post real estate describing Chicago seat filling for potential OTL members. But I wanted to quickly touch on how OTL works for event marketers and promoters.

It’s an excellent tool to have in your promotional toolbox, as OTL is a private, free, and easy way to fill some seats or add to your event. As I mentioned, it doesn’t have to be a traditional show with assigned locations. Seat Fillers have also gone virtual. They’re also been to escape rooms, filmings, festivals, classes, and more.

If you’re interested in learning more about OTL for Chicago event promoters, we have an entire section on for you!

OTL seat fillers, OTL City Guides
OTL Seat Fillers list