SBD/February 12, 2013/Franchises

Yankees Hope Resale Ticket Deal With Ticketmaster Will Curb Short-Sellers

Yankees Ticket-holders also will retain the right to list their tickets elsewhere
The Yankees last night announced their plan with Ticketmaster to create Yankees Ticket Exchange, an in-house resale service, after opting out of the five-year contract extension between MLBAM and StubHub. YTE will be offered to both season-ticket holders and single-game purchasers, with sellers in the former group charged just a 5% commission, one-third the 15% sellers fee many sites such as StubHub require. Season-ticket holders also will be able to electronically transfer tickets from their own ticket account webpages to purchasers. Buyers will be charged a 10% commission, in line with other resale sites. Tickets will be available for purchase and electronic delivery on YTE up to three hours before game time. The system also offers an option to have inventory listings be adjusted automatically based on prices for comparable seats. The Yankees have long been an ardent critic of StubHub's rising influence within MLB ticketing. Yankees officials said the creation of YTE represents the team's attempt to retake control of the secondary market, particularly in regard to short sellers who list and sell ticket inventory before possessing it. Yankees COO Lonn Trost said, "The short-selling has been a tremendous issue and problem with us. But with us, you can't sell what you don't have, and we think this will create a much more reliable and authentic market." The Yankees seriously considered implementing price floors for YTE, and may do so again the future, at least in certain seating sections of Yankee Stadium or for certain games. But for now, no price controls will be in place. Ticket-holders also will retain the right to list their tickets elsewhere, though without the electronic transfers and perhaps with a different fee structure. Financial terms of the secondary ticketing pact between the Yankees and Ticketmaster, also the club's primary ticketing provider, were not disclosed. Trost said YTE is not primarily designed to be a revenue driver, particularly with the advent of the 5% seller commissions.

FIGHTING WORDS: YTE will create a fervent market battle between the club and StubHub. The S.F.-based company, as expected, said it plans to set up a pickup location across the street from Yankee Stadium. StubHub Head of Communications Glenn Lehrman said, "Yankee fans will still be able to buy and sell their tickets through StubHub in a marketplace where true market value will determine the ticket price." The Angels, the other MLB team to opt out of the MLBAM-StubHub contract renewal, also are setting up a resale option with Ticketmaster with a formal announcement due as soon as this week (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).

BATTLE FOR THE BRONX: On Long Island, Neil Best reports there is “nothing the Yankees legally can do to stop fans from continuing to resell on StubHub -- or any other site -- but now the process will require obtaining a physical ticket." Trost said when the Ticketmaster exchange launches, likely in mid-March, "Everyone is going to be aware of what we're doing.'' He added, "We're not stopping anyone from selling on any secondary market they want.” The Yankees “consider the exchange merely a step toward addressing the matter.” Trost: “I can't tell you it's going to help me 100 percent. I can tell you I don't want to continue the problem ... I'd like them to come to the Yankees for their tickets” (NEWSDAY, 2/12).
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