NASHVILLE, Tenn.--()--Four Tennessee legislators who agreed to sponsor a wide-reaching bill pushed by ticket issuers, venues, sports teams and artists have asked to have their names removed from the measure after finding the bill erodes ownership rights and free-market enterprise.
“We are working on amendments that would keep the consumer-protection provisions for the secondary ticket market intact, but that would also ensure equal transparency in the primary ticketing market and preserve consumers’ right to transfer tickets”
“It does not surprise me at all that some co-sponsors are peeling off the Fairness in Ticketing Act bill,” said Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet. “I think many of us signed on as sponsors before realizing what it could do to citizens’ ownership rights or its negative impact on small business. In my case, I have not only decided to be removed as a sponsor, but to become a vocal opponent.”
Also asking to have their names removed from the Ticketmaster-backed Fairness in Ticketing Act were Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton, Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett, and Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville.
A recent investigative report from a Nashville-based TV news outlet revealed that only 1,001 of approximately 14,000 tickets were offered to the general public for a Justin Bieber concert at Bridgestone Arena, a practice that is known in the industry as ticket holdbacks. Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin, and other lawmakers are seeking an amendment that would require ticket issuers to announce the number of tickets that will be available to the general public when they go on sale.
“We are working on amendments that would keep the consumer-protection provisions for the secondary ticket market intact, but that would also ensure equal transparency in the primary ticketing market and preserve consumers’ right to transfer tickets,” said Rep. Sargent.
The bill is opposed in Tennessee by Fan Freedom, an organization of more than 5,500 Tennessee members, including supporters from each of 99 House districts and 33 Senate districts. Fan Freedom’s position is also supported by nonprofits and small businesses that rely on the transferability of live-event tickets, and has equal support from consumer advocacy organizations, property rights groups and free-market activists.
These groups believe that the proposed legislation is aimed at aiding Ticketmaster in gaining even more control over the ticketing market through the use of restricted tickets, which are nontransferable or only transferable through the ticket issuer’s resale website.
“As lawmakers have begun to review this bill, they are starting to realize the anti-consumer, pro-monopoly provisions that Ticketmaster and its allies are pushing for,” said Chris Grimm, communications director of Fan Freedom. “That includes a provision that would give legislative approval for ticket issuers, teams and artists to use restricted ticketing, which eliminates fans’ ability to give away or sell our tickets.”
Fan Freedom does support many of the provisions in the bill that would provide consumers with more protection when purchasing tickets from a ticket resale site, but stands firm against any provisions that give Ticketmaster, venues, teams and artists more control of tickets for which fans have purchased.
About Fan Freedom
Launched in February 2011, the Fan Freedom is supported by more than 100,000 live-event fans, including more than 5,500 Tennesseans, and is backed by leading consumer and business organizations such as the American Conservative Union, National Consumers League, Consumer Action, the Institute for Liberty, the League of Fans, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, and Net Choice.