More than 60 members of the Tennessee Sports & Entertainment Industry Coalition (TSEIC) plan to fight fraudulent ticket sales by proposing new legislation.
The TSEIC group is compiled of stakeholders in the market of tickets sales including venue owners, teams, and artists who claim fans are being sold overpriced or even fake tickets to concerts, theater performances, and games across the state.
“There's a trust when they buy a ticket for Bridgestone Arena for one of our games, a playoff game, a sold out concert; and then when they get here, perhaps they have something they thought they were buying and it just wasn't the case,” said Sean Henry, president of Bridgestone Arena and Nashville Predators.
Henry has been very vocal about protecting consumers from what TSEIC refers to as “rogue online scalpers.”
“They swoop in, get as many tickets as they can, then put them out in the open market at two, three, four, five times face value,” Henry said.
In recent years, scalpers have become more like online scammers using illegal software to cut in front of fans and buy the best seats in bulk, refusing to disclose ticket information like face value or seat location, or masquerading sale sites as being affiliated with the venue, team or artist.
Some scalpers even offer tickets they don't have.
“Now, I know we have Maroon 5,” said Henry. “A week before we put it up for sale, a week before it was even on sale, I think there were 800 tickets being offered for sale on Web sites.”
Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) has also been a victim to dishonest scalpers.
“Right now, we don't have the Lion King on sale to the general public, and they're already trying to sell tickets at a discounted rate for areas in the theater that aren't even being offered for anybody to buy,” said TPAC President Kathleen O'Brien.
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville Predators, TPAC, Ryman Auditorium, Grand Ole Opry, LP Field, and Tennessee Titans are among the local venues and teams supporting resale regulation through the Fairness in Ticketing Act.
The proposed legislation would force those who resell tickets to provide up front, clear information about the tickets being offered.
In a written statement, county music artist and TSEIC member Eric Church said, “With our tour, we wanted to make every ticketing area accessible to fans, from the pit to the upper tiers, so we kept the ticket prices low. What we didn't expect was for all these big ticket brokers to join our fan club, infiltrate our system, take advantage of our system and buy up all these tickets.”
He added, “We're not asking for a ban on scalping, but there have to be rules in place that protect the fans and prevent them from getting ripped off like this.”
“All we're trying to do is within the scalping, make sure our consumers, our guests, our clients, our fans are getting the information they should get and protect them to some degree,” said Henry.
The Fairness in Ticketing Act will be filed when the state legislature reconvenes in January.
For more information, go to FansFirstCoalition.org.