2 ways of looking at ticket scalping
People reselling seats at inflated prices are part of the scenery at concerts and sporting events. Is it 'pure capitalism,' or is it a crime?
Bad karma, dude. That's what one University of Oregon professor says ticket scalpers are accumulating by scooping up tickets to the Dalai Lama's scheduled appearance at the school next month and selling them online for more than 10 times the original price of $20.
Despite the amazing cynicism involved in trying to make a buck off a religious leader (and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize to boot), scalping -- the reselling of legally purchased tickets for often more than their original face value -- is just part of the scenery at most major sporting and entertainment events.
The publication Entertainment and Sports Lawyer estimates the "secondary ticket market" is a $5 billion business with a growth rate of about 12%. Myles Kaufman at the ticket search engine SeatGeek found 29 states have laws regarding the resale of tickets. But only a handful, he says, have outright bans or strong regulations. And those laws are often hard to enforce.
Efforts to get a Fairness in Ticketing Act passed in Tennessee's legislature failed last week. Several big venues supported the bill, which would have required ticket brokers to register with state authorities and disclose both the original price and seat number of tickets.
"It's upsetting to see what people pay, double or triple, for ticket prices, Tennessee Theatre general manager Tom Bugg told WBIR-TV. "And there's no recourse for them when they figure it out."
But according to TicketNews.com, the Tennessee measure was doomed by opposition from consumer advocates, property rights activists, event-goers -- and groups like the Fan Freedom Project. The group bills itself as a grassroots organization. It received initial funding, however, from StubHub, the online ticket marketplace that's a division of eBay (EBAY).
According to Fan Freedom, one of the main issues it has against anti-scalping laws is ticket transferability. "When fans buy tickets, we own them," the organization's website says. "We have the right to buy, give away or sell our tickets however we choose, anytime we choose, in any way we choose, at any price we choose."
In the meantime, Entertainment and Sports Lawyer says Stubhub and companies like industry giant Ticketmaster -- which merged in 2010 with Live Nation to form Live Nation Entertainment (LYV) -- "have stepped up their efforts in statehouses across the nation and inside the Beltway as part of an effort to align the laws with their respective interests."
And not everyone considers scalping a bad thing. Jim Caple at ESPN.com calls it "capitalism at its purest level."
"An event is sold out, you need a ticket and the scalper provides you one at a mutually agreed upon price," he wrote several years back. "You don't need to be Louis Rukeyser to understand the remarkable efficiency of this market."
So the business to be in is to buy up every ticket for a popular event and then resell them at inflated prices. Sounds like a reasonable business model and fair too. You just might be the lucky person to be 5th in line waiting for tickets but the 4th person buys them all. What a deal!
I understand if you buy a pair of tickets for a concert but your wife goes into labor before the show and you want to get your investment back; ticket price, time spent waiting in line etc. But to be able to purchase large blocks of tickets and thus bring on a "sold out" condition prematurely for the sole purpose of resale at profit is inherently unfair to those who deserve the chance to buy at face value.
Ticket scalping should be illegal and enforced. This is a parasitic industry that includes large companies like Live Nation Entertainment and small scale local street level scalpers. They are all guilty of changing the price of live entertainment and often times increasing the price so much that the event becomes too expensive for the very people the event is staged for.
The event might not be sold out if the scalpers hadn't bought the tickets!
I don't have a problem with fans buying tickets then reselling them if they want, I do have a problem with corporations buying up all the supply of tickets to an event with the sole purpose of reselling them at an outrageous markup. Supply and demand should not be fueled by companies cornering the market by buying all the tickets before the fans get a chance to buy them.
when the supply is artificially controlled by broker mass purchases it is no longer a "free" market.
It is similar to "cornering" the market on a commodity, it's illegal and should be.
Why is scalping illegal at all, likely because the venue isn't getting their cut, and Uncle Sam isn't getting their cut; its about supply and demand but more about who gets paid from your sale.
If I bought a car and it was a super popular car and I turn around an sell it for a profit. Is BMW going to come after me for scalping my car...why is the entertainment industry different.
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