Today, efforts are underway in many different forms that restrict the purchase, sale and transfer of tickets. The result is harmful - season ticket holders are losing their tickets, concertgoers are being required to wait in line at will-call to present their ID instead of a using a print-at-home ticket, and many others are being forced to use a single resale site that imposes more fees and minimum pricing regardless of actual market value. The list goes on. These are some of the issues at play:
Holdbacks and Slow Ticketing
Event promoters and venues commonly place “holds” on large numbers of tickets before they go on sale to the public. It has been revealed that more than half of tickets are set aside for performers, fan clubs and the ticket-sellers themselves, only to be then sold (sometimes immediately) elsewhere at prices higher than face value. To be fair, the number of held tickets not being made available to the public at initial sale should be fully disclosed prior to public sale in order to permit fully-informed consumer decisions. Some lawmakers (federal and state) are calling for more transparency around this issue. This is not just a matter of transparency, as holdbacks support a system called “slow ticketing” where tickets are slowly offered for sale in a manipulative way that maintains higher demand and higher prices. Holdbacks and slow ticketing create artificial scarcity, where an event may appear to be sold-out or in high demand, when in reality there are many more tickets. It’s a deceptive marketing practice that should end.
Some performers, promoters and venues use paperless tickets which require the credit card holder who purchased them to show the card and ID at the door of the event. This impedes the right of the ticket owner to employ them as desired: perhaps to sell them, or to give them away, for instance, if it proves impossible to attend the event. They claim this is to reduce fraud, when in reality it's merely a scheme to restrict your right to sell or transfer your tickets. Fortunately, six states have passed laws that require consumers be offered a freely transferable ticket option (meaning not mobile-only and not locked to one specific ticketing platform or system, such as Ticketmaster or AXS). These states include Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Utah, and Virginia.
Denials of Entry / Invalidating Tickets Purchased from a Reseller or Ticket Marketplace
Some venues have begun to use ticket-scanning technology that can deny entry to ticketholders who purchased their ticket from a competitor to their box office or the contracted, “primary” ticketing issuer (most often Ticketmaster or AXS). Meanwhile these are tickets that were already purchased from the box office or primary seller in the first place, and merely resold or transferred to a new ticketholder. The technology uses digital, app-based tickets with revolving bar codes or QR codes to scan at entry. This technology infamously failed at a small concert in Los Angeles in October 2019 when hundreds of fans carrying valid tickets were denied entry simply because they purchased their tickets from a competing seller. Fortunately, laws in several states prohibit venues from discriminating against ticketholders and denying entry on the basis that the ticketholder purchased their tickets on the secondary, resale market.
Ticket Cancellations / Non-Renewal of Season Tickets
Some sports teams are cancelling, threatening to cancel, or choosing not renew accounts of season ticket holders that they believe are reselling tickets. This is unfair and punishes the most vested ticket holders of a team! Many season ticket holders cannot attend every game so they may give them away or sell some, others may resell a portion of their tickets as a means to afford their full ticket package. Reselling tickets that would otherwise go unused puts a fan in the seat - a win-win situation when you consider attendees at live events tend to make purchases at concessions. Plus, a team should prefer filled seats over empty seats. Importantly, these tickets are being resold, not sold for the first time, meaning the team has already been paid the price of the ticket package plus any associated fees. The same practice occurs in live music too, where large, powerful companies contracted by venues or concert promoters to sell tickets arbitrarily use technology to cancel consumers' tickets long after they are purchased.
Resale Platform Exclusivity
Some sports leagues, teams and primary ticket platforms are requiring ticket buyers to use a designated resale ticket platform should they wish to resell their tickets with terms set and controlled by the team. This restricts your choice of where to sell your tickets, limits options for those looking for tickets, and stifles competition in the market, all of which drives up the prices of tickets while creating arbitrary hurdles for fans. To make matters worse, these exclusive platforms often charge additional fees on top of those already paid upon initial purchase. They also set arbitrary minimum resale prices (called “price floors”) instead of permitting free market pricing of tickets (buying and selling at actual market value). In many instances, therefore, when the price floor exceeds market value, these closed resale platforms result in empty seats and the ticket going to waste.
Ticket-Buying Software - “Bots”
The use of computer software commonly known as “bots” and auto-dialing programs to rapidly buy up event tickets before fans have a fair chance to do so is detrimental to consumers and the overall tickets industry. NATB members oppose the use of bots and support efforts to crack down on their use.
Unfortunately, there are those who are all-too-willing to take advantage of the unwary. Those who sell counterfeit tickets or perpetrate scams should be prosecuted and penalized to the full extent of the law. NATB Members offer consumers the peace of mind and protection of a 200% refund on guaranteed tickets, and our Ticket Owner Ten Commandments contains must-know “buyer-beware” tips and guidelines.