Tag Archives: ticketing

Fairness in Ticketing Act Proponents: Maybe Next Year

The Tennessee Sports and Entertainment Industry Coalition, which lobbied for passage of the “Fairness in Ticketing Act (HB1000),” has thrown in the towel for 2013 in one of the 2013 session’s great lobbying wars.
From the Tennessean:
After appearing to flounder recently under the weight of growing opposition from conservative leaders, a proposal to impose greater restrictions on the event ticket resale market died Wednesday in a House committee.
The bill’s author, state Rep. Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville, said the measure suffered “some of the harshest” lobbying he had experienced, making it impossible to continue.
“They’ve done an excellent job maligning what the bill actually does and that’s just something I haven’t been able to overcome just yet,” Haynes said of the bill’s critics. Opposition has been led since last year by a Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocacy organization, but the army of dissenters swelled in recent weeks to include conservative leaders from throughout the state.
Haynes declined an offer by state Rep. Art Swann, R-Maryville, to send the bill to a summer study committee and said he hoped to present it again next year.
“Around here everybody really knows a summer study committee is a way to dispense with a bill and just never have it dealt with again,” Haynes said. “And I think we do need to deal with this issue.”

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Ticket Bill Withdrawn by Sponsor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A bill seeking to put controls on the secondary ticket market has been withdrawn amid what its sponsor called fierce lobbying on both sides.
Republican Rep. Ryan Haynes of Knoxville said he expects to bring back the measure backed by Ticketmaster parent Live Nation Worldwide Inc. next year.
Opponents of the bill, like eBay Inc. subsidiary StubHub, argued it would affect the legitimate transfer of tickets to sporting events and concerts by individuals and organizations. Supporters said it targeted online hoarding, price gouging and forgeries.
Lawmakers on both sides of the issue lamented what they called misinformation, large numbers of phone calls and emails, and the heavy lobbying on the bill.
A twice-delayed Senate vote on the companion bill has been rescheduled for Thursday.

Legislators Tinker With Ticketing Bill

The Commercial Appeal takes a long look at lobbying war underway in the Legislature over HB1000, called the “Fairness in Ticketing Act” by concert operators unhappy with a secondary market for their tickets that has evolved beyond what they say they can control as the Internet marketplace has flourished.
No shortage of lobbyists and public relations specialists have been hired on both sides.
Should Tennessee enact the law this coalition wants, supporters claim the state will gain first-in-the-nation protections from deceptive ticket brokers, transparency in the secondary market and stated protections for venues and artists to conduct ticketing however they see fit.
Those who oppose the bills do so on grounds they claim are grassroots: Tickets are your property, they say, and there shouldn’t be a law that restricts what you can do with them.
For such a small piece of paper, it’s turned into quite a large fight.
…The Fairness in Ticketing Act, although supported by venues and artists across the state, has not exactly sailed through the General Assembly. Late last month, four of the bill’s original sponsors removed their names from it, according to a news release from the group that trumpeted their departure.
In a Senate committee Tuesday, the distinction over the property right of a ticket dominated discussion.
An amendment eliminated a paragraph that explicitly enabled paperless ticketing, adding in its place that venues may refuse entry or kick fans out because of illegal conduct. An amendment also removed a specific reference to a ticket as a “revocable license,” a concession to bill opponents who assert tickets are private property. But it was pointed out by one senator that tickets-as-licenses has been a long-held custom in case law, meaning just because the paragraph is removed doesn’t mean courts won’t recognize them as such.
In committee debate, Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, called the amendment “a potentially substantive change” to the original bill.
And on Monday, an amendment supporters say is sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Mufreesboro, surfaced that would sweep away much of what the bill’s original proponents sought. Ketron’s amendment would make it illegal for a venue to control whether a ticket is resold and would make paperless ticketing illegal.

Bill Pushed by Ticket Sellers Targets Ticket Resellers

With the new legislative session just getting under way, Tennessee is set to serve as one front in a political proxy-war between ticket-sales giant Ticketmaster and StubHub, the most prominent site for ticket reselling on the web, reports Steven Hale. The article uses an upcoming Nashville concert by the band One Direction to illustrate the state of ticketing affairs.
Both have started nonprofit organizations dedicated to fighting over the regulation of the secondary market, in state legislatures in Florida, New York and Massachusetts, among others. As their names suggest, both sides claim to be primarily concerned with what’s best for the fans — from StubHub comes the Fan Freedom Project, and from Ticketmaster, the Fans First Coalition.
Often, StubHub, by way of the Fan Freedom Project, has been on the offensive. In Florida and New York, for instance, they have supported legislation prohibiting ticket vendors from putting restrictions on the resale of tickets, such as using paperless tickets exclusively, and making tickets non-transferrable. They also supported a Massachusetts bill that would have done the same, and also required venues to disclose the total number of tickets issued, and the number that will actually be available to the general public.
But in Tennessee, things are headed in the other direction. The Tennessee Sports and Entertainment Industry Coalition, a 74-member group, is pushing the Fairness in Ticketing Act (SB609), a bill they claim would address many common ticket resale tactics that aren’t aboveboard.
The high-powered TSEIC member list includes management agencies and artists from The Black Keys to Eric Church and Jason Aldean; venues such as Ryman Auditorium and the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis; and the state’s three major professional sports teams, the Predators, the Titans and the Memphis Grizzlies, along with their associated venues. Many among the group are Ticketmaster partners, though some are not. The Fans First Coalition, and Ticketmaster, support the legislation but have been less overtly involved in pushing it than the Fan Freedom Project has been in opposing it.
The legislation aims to distinguish between the fan who attempts to offload a ticket due to unforeseen circumstances, and the hardcore scalper. It would require ticket brokers — defined as anyone who resells more than 60 tickets in a year — to register with the state. Registration would be used to make sure such brokers pay sales and use tax on transactions, but also to require that they disclose certain information about the tickets they’re selling, such as the face value and exact location of the ticket, and whether the seller actually has the ticket in their possession.
…Coalition members said they believe requiring increased disclosure by the reseller would cut down on deceptive practices run amok in the secondary market.
One such tactic is speculative sales, like those being offered on the One Direction tickets. The uninitiated buyer wouldn’t know it from browsing the ticket options on StubHub, TicketsNow, or AllGoodSeats, but the sellers do not possess the tickets they’re selling. Since they haven’t yet gone on sale — either to exclusive fan clubs or the general public — no one does. But for 10 times more than face value, in many cases, an anonymous, and often out-of-state, individual will sell you a specific section and row. (Bold as the venture is, few are brazen enough to offer a seat number.)
What they’re really selling is a bet, a high-priced wager that they will be able to obtain the ticket you think you bought when the real thing goes on sale.