Court Temporarily Prohibits StubHub From Opening Pickup Location Near Yankee Stadium
The Yankees yesterday won a temporary restraining order from a Bronx County Supreme Court judge prohibiting StubHub from opening its planned pickup location near Yankee Stadium. Judge Lizbeth Gonzalez approved the club's request to keep the spot, located at 68 E. 161st across the 161st-River Ave intersection from the ballpark, closed while the broader case is pending. A hearing is scheduled for Monday on a permanent injunction the Yankees seek as the case is on a fast track to be likely decided before Opening Day. The Yankees are arguing the opening of the StubHub location will render irreparable harm on the club's ticket sales operations. Yankees attorney Jonathan Schiller said, "We are grateful. The order will protect the Yankees and their ticket holders and fans from unlawful corporate scalping." The Yankees sued StubHub on Monday, claiming the StubHub location violates a New York state law prohibiting ticket resale within 1,500 feet of a venue with at least 5,000 permanent seats. StubHub countered the location, like its many others around the country, does not represent the resale of tickets but simply retrieval of prior orders. But the club successfully argued that ticket retrieval is a fundamental part of the sale itself, citing in part StubHub's own corporate policies that "a sale is not complete until the buyer receives the tickets." StubHub had intended to open the pickup location Friday. StubHub Head of Communications Glenn Lehrman said the company is "reviewing its legal options" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). StubHub lawyer Salvatore Romanello said, "We believe the (scalping) law does not apply to us -- we are a Web site." But Gonzalez called that a "stretch," noting "the physical location is not virtual" (N.Y. POST, 3/20).
BATTLE OF THE BRANDS: In N.Y., Ken Belson notes the decision was the "latest move in a battle between the Yankees and StubHub." The Yankees and the Angels were the "only two teams to opt out of a leaguewide deal with StubHub this year." Instead, both teams are "working with StubHub’s rival, Ticketmaster." StubHub claims that the Yankees this year "conspired to have them thrown out of a hotel in Tampa, Fla., near Legends Field, the team’s spring training complex." StubHub said that it "rented space in the hotel so fans could pick up their tickets there." The Yankees did "not dispute that Stubhub was removed from the hotel, but said they were concerned about the privacy of their players" (NYTIMES.com, 3/20).