PRESS RELEASE: Maryland Fans Have Saved Over $16 Million by Buying Tickets Through Resale Markets

New Report: Maryland Fans Have Saved Over $16 Million by Buying Tickets Through Resale Markets 

Despite Claims from Monopolists, Ticket Resale Can Offer Massive Savings to Consumers; Proposed Legislation in Maryland Includes Some Positives, but Price-Fixing Provisions Should be Removed

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amid lively debate around ticketing legislation in Annapolis, Protect Ticket Rights today released a new report analyzing secondary ticket sales in the State of Maryland, which found that consumers saved $16,455,426 by buying tickets on the secondary market between 2017-2024. The report analyzed data from the sale of 334,450 tickets to Maryland events including music, sports, and theater. For the rare instant sell-out events both the so-called “face value” or original cost of tickets and the cost on the resale market can be high. However, when demand is less fevered, as is the case for the majority of events, there are often lower-cost tickets available on the secondary market compared to the original price. 

“Fans in Maryland currently enjoy the right to find huge savings by shopping around for tickets rather than being limited to the box office or its contracted ticket seller,” said Brian Berry, Advocacy Director of Protect Ticket Rights. “Lawmakers in Annapolis have more than 16 million reasons to protect Marylanders’ rights to freely buy and sell tickets as they wish, including their ability to resell tickets they already paid full price for, whether they sell them for more or less than they originally paid. The idea that Maryland lawmakers might slap a ticketholder with fines up to $25,000 for selling a pair of tickets at a price where they make some profit is beyond absurd and is a scheme driven by for-profit players in the system seeking more control. When you buy tickets at whatever price the box office or Ticketmaster charge, it should be entirely up to you what you might sell them for, whether you sell them for less or more than you originally paid,” Berry continued.  

As the debate surrounding ticketing-related legislative proposals continues in Annapolis, it is important to recognize that tickets offered on the secondary market were already purchased from the event organizer, which was already paid. Additionally, the price offered on resale marketplaces is set by the ticketholder, not the marketplace. Often times due to market demand, ticketholders quickly realize they must lower their asking price in order to sell their tickets therefore the ultimate sales price of the tickets on marketplaces winds up being much lower than they may have been weeks or months earlier. Meanwhile, many primary ticket sellers (those contracted by the venue or event organizer) use “dynamic pricing” which is based on supply and demand, and tends to increase prices during the “on-sale” for popular events. Ticketmaster, the dominant primary ticketer for Maryland’s event venues, reported in 2023 that higher ticket prices and pent-up demand for live shows helped boost the company's revenue up 32%.

“This data show what I already knew and is the reason why I enjoy so many shows every year, because there are incredible deals to be found on the secondary resale market. Thanks to resale marketplaces, I’ve paid less than $10 for tickets originally sold for $70 because the ticketholder couldn’t use them and I was happy to pick them up at a bargain. For the events where I can find deeply discounted tickets, I accept the reality that there are events where the resale price may be higher due to demand, because that’s how markets operate and they don’t require legislative intervention that really is nothing more than a clever hand-out to some for profit players at the expense of others.” continued Berry. 

Maryland Ticket Resale Report Highlights (link to full report is HERE)

•    Total savings for fans by buying on resale market since 2017: $16,455,426
•    Sports fans saved the most during the period, nearly $9 million 
•    Live music fans enjoyed similar savings of nearly $6.5 million 
•    Theater and arts patrons saved nearly $1 million 
•    Top venue where fans saved the most: M&T Bank Stadium ($3.3 Million)
•    Top music venues where fans saved the most: CFG Bank Arena ($1.5. Million) and Merriweather Post Pavilion ($1.2 Million) 

As the report analyzing secondary ticket sales in Maryland states, ticket sales no longer work the way they used to. Instead of a general on-sale available to all fans, most tickets are slowly released on a staggered basis with absolutely no transparency as to how many tickets are actually put on sale so consumers can know their actual chance of getting a ticket. This deceptive practice – the original sin in ticketing - is not addressed in either SB0539 or HB0701. It should be, and fortunately is included in SB1113.  Not every fan can wait in long, unreliable digital queues or has a credit card that grants them early or special access to premium tickets to popular artists. Ticket transferability has always protected fans’ ability to comparison shop for deals, and the data in the report clearly demonstrate that many fans can find substantial savings when tickets are transferable. 2022 polling from Protect Ticket Rights showed that nationally, 81.6% of respondents support transferability and nearly the same amount (79.3%) back rules to protect that right.

The analysis tracked the sales of 334,450 tickets sold in Maryland from January 2017 through January 2024 and included major venues such as M&T Stadium, FedEx Field, Camden Yards, the Merriweather Post Pavilion, and more. Data for the report was furnished by Automatiq, a leading data analytics and support services company in the live event ticketing industry. 

Current Maryland law codifies federal law that makes illegal the use of nefarious software bots for the purchase of tickets, bans deceptive undisclosed speculative tickets where the seller is offering the promise of a ticket instead of an actual ticket in-possession at time of purchase, and prohibits ticket sellers from using misleading website URLs that risk confusing fans into thinking they are on the site of the event organizer or venue when in fact they are not.  

SB0539 and HB0701 – Controversial Bills That Have Divided Venues, Opposed by Consumer Advocates (Protect Ticket Rights’ Position: Oppose until Amended)

The Maryland legislature is currently considering several bills, including SB 0539 and HB 0701, which as far as Protect Ticket Rights is concerned, contain some worthwhile and positive consumer protections that can build upon the state’s already pro-consumer ticket sales laws. For example, price transparency through “all-in pricing” that ensures the first price a consumer sees is the  price you see when they check out. Unfortunately, some entrenched corporate interests in Maryland have worked to include anticompetitive and anti-consumer provisions in the bill, for example taking away the current right of ticketholders to resell their tickets as they wish, specifically prohibiting a ticketholder from reselling their tickets for more than the original cost. Fines for selling tickets at a profit could amount to $25,000 for a family merely trying to recover some of their expense after buying tickets from the venue box office or Ticketmaster.  Meanwhile, many season ticket holders who invest thousands of their hard-earned dollars want to maintain their ability to resell some of their tickets in order to recover some of their cost. Event organizers and venues overall are split on these proposals. While some support the bills, the Hippodrome in Baltimore testified in opposition to the legislation recently, as did the Baltimore Ravens, stating it its testimony that, “this limitation eliminates a means to offset the costs of a season-ticket package which, in some cases, allows the buyers to afford that commitment…Some potentially could not afford to be season-ticket holders or even be interested without their current right to re-sell above face value.”

By pushing resale off transparent marketplaces, if a law is passed that restricts ticketholders from offering their tickets on these marketplaces for a price higher than they initially paid, Protect Ticket Rights is concerned this will promote shadow market sales through online classified ads and sellers on the streets, where there is no purchase protection, guarantees, refunds, or recourse. If the market will bear a higher price, ticketholders will simply avoid using trusted online marketplaces and revert to the untrustworthy and unsafe means of years past to buy and sell tickets. 

These bills also contain a provision that will require ticket marketplaces to share the data of its Maryland customers to venues, event organizers, and Ticketmaster. This unnecessary transfer of personal information could expose millions of Maryland eventgoers to data breach. This data is not transferred between parties today or in the past and should not be part of any law that passes. Earlier this month, Diana Moss, PhD economist and Vice President and Director of Competition Policy at the Progressive Policy Institute, published a piece that referred to consumer data transfer proposals like this one, stating, “What the data transfer provision does is give Ticketmaster, as the original ticket seller, valuable information that the company will digitally harvest to steer fans back to its own platform for future purchases…any legislative provision where smaller competitors hand over their customers’ sensitive information to Ticketmaster should be dead on arrival.”  

SB1113 – Consumer Protection Bill that Ends Deception, Improves Transparency and Fairness (Protect Ticket Rights’ Position: Support)

Another bill introduced in the Maryland Senate, SB1113, meanwhile, will require upfront, all-in pricing, protect a ticketholder’s right to freely transfer or sell his or her tickets, guarantees refunds, prohibits venues denying entry to a ticketholder on the basis they bought their tickets from a competing seller instead of the box office, and requires deceptively held-back ticket inventory to be disclosed to fans so they know whether or not to expect more tickets to be released in the future. It is a balanced pro-consumer bill that will hold all ticket sellers – primary sellers and secondary market resellers – to the same equitable standard, and require the same transparency for fans no matter if the ticket is being sold for the first time, or a second time. Protect Ticket Rights calls for SB1113 to be passed swiftly and enacted into law. 


About Protect Ticket Rights
Launched in 2016, Protect Ticket Rights is a fans-focused initiative that helps ticketholders defend their rights and advocates for a market with improved transparency and fairness for consumers and ticket sellers alike. Protect Ticket Rights has been active at the federal and state level when public policies that impact live event tickets are being debated, and it works to educate fans and other stakeholders about the live events ecosystem and ticketing. Protect Ticket Rights engages with thousands of fans and many businesses throughout the industry, in order to be more informed and effective in its advocacy. The work of Protect Tickets Rights is possible thanks to the professional ticket selling companies of NATB, some of which are based in Maryland, and that contrary to conventional thinking about ticket resellers, support market reform that improves the fan ticket-buying experience. Many of these sellers are responsible for the sale of the below cost tickets detailed in the Maryland Ticket Resale Savings Report.

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