Sports, music and art fans love what they love. Now ticket monopolies and white label websites are trying to exploit that passion to rake in even more money.
Fans overwhelmingly expect full ticket rights, including control over use, ownership, and ability to transfer or resell tickets to anyone, through any method or marketplace. No one should be able to tell you what you can do with your ticket after you buy it—that is up to you, the Fan!
Fan Freedom works with music, sports and art lovers across the country to combat emerging abusive ticket practices—including secretive white label ticket sites and non-transferable tickets. We mobilize people on the ground to fight for pro-consumer legislation and combat ongoing efforts to control Fans.
And with every victory we see, we show that Fans will always be the heart and soul of the entertainment industry!
Ticket issuers and primary ticket platforms are increasingly using anticompetitive tactics to control the lifecycle of a ticket from start to finish. These include issuing paperless and other non-transferable tickets or requiring photo ID and the original credit card used for purchase to gain venue entry. These restrictions limit competition, increase prices, and hinder fans’ ability to buy, resell, or give away tickets as they choose.
Some ticket businesses, sports team owners, artists, and venues use burdensome delivery techniques to make it difficult, if not impossible, for the original purchaser to freely transfer the ticket. These restrictions limit fans’ ability to:
Fans must have the option to purchase a transferable ticket at the initial point of sale to ensure they can use, resell, or give away their tickets freely. Consumers should be protected from discriminatory, anticompetitive, and deceptive practices that make it harder for fans to buy, resell, and use event tickets in a free market.
Using search engine optimization and high-powered online marketing tactics, some brokers in the secondary market are creating “White Label” sites that are confusing fans by creating the impression that their purchases are taking place on legitimate venue websites when they have no affiliation with the venue and often charge two or three times higher ticket prices than the primary or other legitimate secondary market sites.
Fans need to know who they are buying their tickets from. If a website is hiding who their ticket vendors are, or lying about an affiliation with an arena or venue, then consumers are making purchases without full information, including increased prices and hidden fees. This can lead to fans being ripped off.
How to Spot a White Label Site: Use our handy checklist
If you answered in the affirmative to these questions, you might just be on a white label ticket site.
White label ticket websites should not be allowed to purposefully mislead customers. They need to disclose who they are affiliated with and have transparent pricing. All websites selling event tickets need to operate by the same rules and regulations so that fans can easily compare purchasing options.
Ticketing is controlled by a virtual monopoly. Prior to 2010, Ticketmaster dominated the ticket sales market (80% of U.S. venues). Ticketmaster’s only competitor was Live Nation, the nation’s largest owner of entertainment venues and the world’s leading concert promoter. Live Nation acquired Ticketmaster in 2010 creating Live Nation Entertainment (LNE). Today, LNE continues to enjoy a near monopoly on the primary ticket market, controlling more than 80% of the venue ticket sales market — according to a 2018 Government Accountability Office report; owning, operating, maintaining exclusive booking rights for, or holding an equity interest in 289 concert venues globally; and promoting more than 40,000 events for over 5,000 artists in 2019 *.
*The number of events promoted in 2020 and 2021 have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The size and control of LNE cannot be overstated
**Numbers are representative of business operations before impacts dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now Ticketmaster (LNE) wants to monopolize the secondary ticket market. Ticketmaster (LNE) has lobbied in support of repealing antiquated ticket scalping laws (due to their participation in the secondary marketplace), but has utilized and supported restricted ticketing delivery methods that effectively direct consumers only to Ticketmaster (LNE) resale platforms.
Consumers must unite against LNE’s massive lobbying machine and take action when legislation is on the agenda in their state!
Fans are losing. Restrictive ticketing practices and white label ticket sites have been growing across the country. The largest ticket company in the country controls approximately 70% of the revenue generated on the primary ticket market.
Legislation is needed to ensure a free, open, and competitive ticket marketplace for consumers.
In 2010, New York passed legislation preventing ticket issuers from penalizing or denying admission “to a ticket holder solely on the grounds that such ticket has been resold” and prohibits “a paperless ticketing system unless the consumer is given an option to purchase paperless tickets that the consumer can transfer.”
Also, in 2008 Colorado passed legislation that prohibits ticket issuers from applying terms or conditions to sales that limit consumers’ ability to resell their tickets. The law also limits ticket issuers from imposing sanctions on consumers who do not purchase tickets through authorized resellers, or who purchase subscription or season tickets that have been resold.
In February 2017, Virginia passed the Ticket Resale Rights Act with overwhelming public support. The act limited ticket issuers from selling exclusively restrictive tickets and protected consumers from facing retribution if a ticket owner decides to sell their purchased ticket.
White label ticket sites are still so new that no major legislation has been passed to combat them just yet. In September 2017, United States Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) wrote a letter to Federal Trade Commission Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen expressing their concerns that consumers are being tricked into buying tickets from online retailers and asked “that the FTC review the use of private labels as vehicles for confusion, price obfuscation, and overall consumer harm.”
Several states are considering white label ticket regulations for their 2018 sessions, and FanFreedom hopes to rally our supporters to those efforts as they move forward.
Artists are usually unaware of these practices, and/or let Ticketmaster/LiveNation do the fighting for them. Some fear pro-consumer legislation would keep some artists away from venues in their state, however, there is no evidence pro-consumer legislation affects where artists play.
Since the New York law was passed, there has been no decrease in the number or quality of shows in towns like Albany, Saratoga, Syracuse, and Buffalo. The New York law has been renewed annually by the State Assembly since its initial expansion in 2010. Likewise, Colorado is among the top four states in concerts per capita. In other words, you can have your rights and your shows!
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