Susan Walsh/AP
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Senator Chuck Schumer Wants to Rein In Ticket Resellers

April 07, 2009 04:30 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
N.Y. Sen. Chuck Schumer introduces legislation to give fans first crack at buying face value seats before brokers snatch them up.

Cracking Down on Jacked-Up Pricing

Senator Schumer wants to give fans two days to buy tickets at original prices before giant resellers like Ticketmaster can swoop them up them and tack on hefty mark-ups. “Buying concert tickets has become like taking a trip back to the Wild West—anything goes,” Schumer said in a press release. “The bottom line is we need to create a fair system where fans get first crack at good seats at a reasonable price.” Last February, tickets for Bruce Springsteen shows sold out on Ticketmaster one minute after going on sale; buyers were then directed to an affiliated Web site selling tickets at much higher prices.

Ticketmaster, which already controls up to 70 percent of event ticket sales, is attempting to merge with Live Nationthe world's largest concert promoter, which recently began selling its own ticketseliciting calls for an investigation into possible anti-trust violations. Perhaps sensing public outrage, Irving Azoff, CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., has enthusiastically endorsed Schumer's bill: I am very happy to support Sen. Schumer's thoughtful proposal and leadership on this issue.” 

Related Topic: Springsteen tickets and TicketsNow

Ticketmaster came under fire in February for a debacle involving the sale of tickets to Bruce Springsteen’s New Jersey concerts. At first, fans found either frozen computer screens or a message that the show was sold out. Many were automatically redirected to TicketsNow, a broker owned by Ticketmaster that sells tickets at a significant markup from face value. Some speculated that the automatic redirection was not an accident but an outright manipulation on the part of the ticket vendor.

Key Players: Live Nation and Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster, according to its CrunchBase company profile, is one of the largest and most successful e-commerce sites in existence. It provides ticket sales in 20 global markets and has exclusive ticketing rights for venues, theaters, arenas, museums and even entire sports team franchises.

Live Nation, founded in 2005, is a considerably younger company than Ticketmaster, which was founded in 1976. In addition to offering sponsorship and promotion services, Live Nation also owns or operates nearly 120 venues, Bizjournals reports.

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines