SBD/September 8, 2011/Franchises

Boston State Laws Could Change The Landscape Of Sports Secondary Ticket Market

Massachusetts is “one of five states with laws strictly limiting what resellers can charge” for tickets to sporting events, but with “hundreds, maybe thousands, of outlets reselling tickets online and offline, the law is difficult to enforce,” according to Shira Springer of the BOSTON GLOBE. By this time next year, state legislation under consideration “could, if passed, make the secondary market in Massachusetts a much different place for fans and licensed resellers.” Some “overhaul of ticket reselling regulations appears to have legislative support, but it is unclear what form it might take, or whether it would pass.” State rep Michael Moran has “proposed legislation to make the secondary market fully legal -- and perhaps more fan-friendly.” The proposed law would “remove most restrictions on reselling tickets, effectively uncapping the secondary market.” Moran calls the bill “pro-consumer,” and emphasized the bill is “not about getting cheaper Red Sox tickets.” The Department of Public Safety this year has received “one formal complaint about ticket resellers,” and five such complaints “were submitted in 2010, most alleging overcharging.” A second bill comes for state Senator Jack Hart, who in January re-filed a bill that would “prohibit resellers from charging more than 50 percent above face value, despite attributable service charges.” Hart “would be open to restrictions that fall somewhere between 50 and 100 percent about face value.” Fan Cost Index reported that Red Sox fans “pay the highest average face-value ticket price in the major leagues ($53.38).” Springer noted the “successes of the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins generate the high demand that leads to high prices on the secondary market.” The Red Sox “enjoy a separate sponsorship and advertising partnership with Ace Ticket.” Still, the relationship between the team and broker “confuses some fans and troubles some observers” (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/6).
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