WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recently, Ticketmaster's efforts to monopolize the ticket resale market were the subject of a report and request for an investigation from the American Antitrust Institute submitted to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, along with several state attorneys general. Rather than defending its practices, such as the use of restricted paperless tickets which can only be resold by Ticketmaster at its prices and with its fees, and adhering to the old adage that "the best defense is a strong offense", Ticketmaster has embarked on a campaign to discredit its competitors in the secondary market by implying that ticket brokers' use of illegal computer devices caused a quick sell out of Bruce Springsteen concerts.
In response, Gary Adler, Executive Director of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) stated: "The NATB, and the legitimate ticket brokers it represents, have always advocated in favor of the right of fair access to tickets and against the use of computer bots that attack systems and provide an unfair advantage. But, as we have seen in the past, quick sell outs are not the result of such devices but rather the limited number of tickets Ticketmaster puts on general sale compared to the high demand for those tickets."
For years, Ticketmaster has opposed attempts to improve transparency in the secondary market, including the requirement that it disclose the number of tickets that actually go on sale to the general public. When there were quick sell outs for a Bruce Springsteen tour in 2009, ticket brokers were similarly blamed for the general public's lack of access to tickets. As it turned out, Ticketmaster circumvented the sale to the general public by directing tickets to a specific secondary source that it owned. This led the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to investigate Ticketmaster and charge it with use of deceptive bait-and-switch tactics to sell event tickets to consumers. Ticketmaster entered a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission related to this misconduct. Another investigation of Bruce Springsteen shows in New Jersey on that tour revealed that a large portion of tickets were never offered to the public. "The sale of concert tickets has become a complicated process where, often times, the percentage of tickets made available for sale to the general public is extremely limited," notes Adler. "With holdbacks, presales, fan clubs, artists selling tickets on the secondary market and tickets held for venue patrons such as season ticket holders, concerts often sell out quickly due to the limited number of seats actually put on sale."
By implying that the quick sale was a result of various actions of "scalpers," Ticketmaster must now be compelled to do what it has vigorously avoided in the past; provide full disclosure as to the allocation of the tickets it sold and how many were actually made available to the general public. In addition, Ticketmaster should be held accountable by providing proof that Bruce Springsteen tickets were diverted by resellers who used illegal computer devices.
The National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) is a group of leading ticket brokers, involved in the sale of sports, concerts and theater admission tickets, for the purpose of establishing an industry-wide standard of conduct and to create ethical rules and procedures to educate the public concerning ticket-brokering services and to serve the primary goal of the NATB -- promoting consumer protection. The NATB is dedicated to the principle of assuring the public that dealings with NATB members are conducted with integrity, reliability and convenience. To this end, the NATB has created procedures that encourage the public to report improper and unethical conduct by ticket brokers, and to disseminate consumer protection warnings and guidelines. Through self-governance, the NATB has provided many enhanced protections for ticket-buying consumers. The NATB has worked with law enforcement agencies across the country, state and federal legislators and the NFL and other professional sports leagues and teams, to accomplish these goals, and has been vital in the NFL's fight against counterfeit and stolen tickets. More information about the NATB is available at http://www.natb.org.
SOURCE National Association of Ticket Brokers