The Fairness in Ticketing Act is a Flawed Piece of Legislation, says National Association of Ticket Brokers

Nov 13, 2012, 17:06 ET from National Association of Ticket Brokers

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Fairness in Ticketing Act is a flawed piece of legislation that will hurt ticket buying consumers and will only help a small group of companies and businesses who seek greater control over the sale of tickets.

This legislation is a knee-jerk reaction to the realities facing the ever-changing entertainment industry and lack of transparency from primary ticket sellers (Ticketmaster, venues, artists, et. al.) which has little or nothing to do with professional ticket resellers.

"The notion that ticket resellers are responsible for high ticket prices is simply not accurate," said Gary Adler, Executive Director and General Counsel for the National Association of Ticket Brokers.  Adler noted, "On average, ticket brokers purchase a small percentage of tickets sold to concert or sporting events.  In addition, a Forrester Research report found that 40% of tickets on the secondary market are sold at or below the price printed on the ticket."

NATB accredited ticket brokers have to abide by a strict code of ethics that covers most of the issues put forth by the Tennessee Sports & Entertainment Industry Coalition.  "The NATB is more than willing to work together with the TSEIC to help put forth a system that is beneficial to all," continued Adler.

Artists Increase Ticket Prices To Make Up For Lost Revenue

The entertainment industry has experienced a dramatic shift from where it derives its revenue over the past decade.  To make up for the lost sales via CD and digital formats, artists now look to the sale of tickets for their livelihood.  While this may work for a handful of artists, other artists have found this transition to be very challenging.

Artists have been forced to cut lavish upfront deals with promoters and venues to make up for the lost revenue, which has translated into a dramatic increase in ticket prices for events, increasing 50% to 100% from just a decade ago.  Compare this to the costs of other consumer products such as electronics, travel and food which have seen only marginal increases or even a decrease in prices. It is clear the real culprit for the rise in ticket prices can be attributed to how artists, promoters and venues are directly increasing the face value price of tickets.  Professional ticket resellers who sell tickets on the secondary market are not responsible for these price increases.

Performers Sometimes Resell Their Own Tickets--For Additional Profit

Another issue that causes frustration with consumers is the lack of transparency on the distribution of tickets to popular concerts.  More and more artists these days are selling regular seats as part of VIP packages that offer small "perks" to fans, such as VIP access, T-shirts and "special" VIP laminates.  For these minor add-ons, fans often pay double or triple the original cost of the ticket to get a decent seat.

A recent investigative story uncovered why Justin Bieber tickets sold out so quickly demonstrates the need for more transparency from primary sellers.  The tour itself holds tickets for VIP groups, credit card promotions and band executives, among other groups.  Only a portion of the seats in the arena were ever available for sale to the general at the initial onsale of tickets to the public. Click link to read story here:

The Fairness in Ticketing Act may appeal to a select group of politicians seeking to gain favor or support from a very small group of constituents such as the artists, promoters and venues whose interests may not coincide with consumers.  Unfortunately, its been proven that regulating the marketplace will not help consumers but will invariably lead to fewer choices, higher prices and a detriment in the overall shopping experience for tickets.  Studies by well-known economists Paul Krugman, Dr. Stephen Happel and other experts indicate that the best solution for consumers is to allow the free market to determine ticket prices on the secondary market and to let police enforce existing laws against those individuals who break the law and commit crimes such as selling counterfeit tickets and other ticket scams.

Professional Ticket Brokers Offer More Choices

Professional ticket resellers, such as those in the NATB, provide consumers with the same safeguards and online protections as primary ticket sellers such as Ticketmaster or the box office, but also offer consumers with more choices and options when buying tickets.  For millions of consumers, ticket resellers are a safe and reliable option to the box office.

  • Ticket brokers such as those in the NATB appeal to consumers who lead busy lives and make decisions to buy tickets long after tickets have gone on sale to the public and are no longer available at the box office.
  • Another example is consumers who are only interested in purchasing tickets in specific premium seating areas which cannot be satisfied by the box office.
  • The secondary market is appealing to consumers who are not interested in investing or committing to season tickets and find the convenience of cherry picking tickets from a ticket broker is ideal.  For venues, event organizers and the box office, professional ticket resellers serve as a vital clearing agent and can be relied upon for funding and supporting a broad range of events, not just the popular events.
  • Without ticket brokers many new sporting teams and Broadway shows you see today would never be possible without the seed money provided by resellers who secure a percentage of tickets and help market the events.

In summary, although it may be politically expedient to blame ticket resellers for the sometimes higher ticket prices for many popular events taking place today, the real culprit is primary ticket sellers and the overall lack of transparency they provide to consumers.

The NATB was formed in 1994 by 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. All members of the NATB are 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 permit 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

Sources on Statistics used in this article: Paul Krugman (1999)

Articles from Stephen K. Happel and Marianne M. Jennings (1995, 2002)

Dan Seligman (Forbes 2009)

Teegardin (1998)

Forrester Research - Author Sucharita Mulpuru - The Future of Online Secondary Ticketing

SOURCE National Association of Ticket Brokers