Setting the Record Straight

Covering the ticketing industry is difficult for some in the media because there are many players and practices that aren’t well known. NATB regularly works with reporters to help them report the facts, but sometimes further clarification is needed. Recently The Wall Street Journal missed the mark, and unintentionally implied to readers that professional ticket resale might be more acceptable for some players like companies that create and offer premium VIP packages, but not for professional resale companies (brokers). This is NATB’s letter to the editor about this article:

Dear Editor:

Your article, ‘Musicians Hawk V.I.P. Concert Packages to Deter Scalpers, Boost Profits,’ published January 13, suggests professional ticket resale is a bad thing when in fact it’s an entirely legal industry comprised of hundreds of companies that have been successful for decades because consumers value the service they provide. It is a double standard to frame as smart business the trend of ticket sellers or show promoters who bundle VIP packages at an inflated price compared to face value, while casting professional ticket resale as nefarious.

The author notes dynamic pricing allows the seller of the ticket to lower the price to move unsold ticket inventory (when they are at a risk of financial loss), or raise the price if demand is high (allowing them to sell at actual market price and therefore for some shows they make more profit than others). Here’s the thing - this isn’t novel. It’s basic supply and demand economics and how the secondary ticket market has operated for a long time.

Professional ticket resellers provide a consumer market for tickets, and this helps to ensure no single player in the system becomes too dominant and powerful, capable of controlling supply and price. But this requires an open secondary market free of unfair restrictions. Today some powerful players in the primary system are testing the waters to see how far they can exert anticompetitive measures before lawmakers, attorneys general, or the buying public take notice. It’s dangerous and will lead to less choice and higher prices in the secondary market. An open ticket market – primary and secondary – is the best interest of all parties, especially fans.

- Gary Adler, Executive Director and General Counsel, National Association of Ticket Brokers

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