Tough Time Getting Concert Tickets? Lawmakers Try for Change

Posted at: 03/22/2013 10:01 AM
Updated at: 03/22/2013 10:55 PM
By: Travis Dill

A Minnesota Senate committee has voted down a bill that would have forced major venues in the state to publicly reveal how many concert tickets they hold back from sale to the public.

Country star Jason Aldean will play to a full house Friday night at the DECC. Tickets sold out in 30 minutes, and nearly 100 fans were turned away without one.

DECC Executive Director Dan Russell said some tickets are held for promoters. He said that helps get tickets out to fans.

“If you're in a fan club you have an opportunity to buy tickets in advance which is a benefit of being in the fan club,” Russell said. “So there's no secret to that; I think people realize that.”

But Minnesota lawmakers want fans to know exactly how many tickets go up for sale to the public.

The bill defeated Friday afternoon would have forced sellers to reveal how many tickets they hold back from the public.

Senator David Tomassoni said the bill would not eliminate the practice, but it would help disappointed fans understand what is happening.

“In other words American Express would not have to say how many they got and Beyonce would not have to say how many she kept. The only thing that would have to be disclosed would be the actual number of tickets that are for sale for the public on the day they go on sale,” Tomassoni said.

The bill was supported by online ticket broker StubHub, which is owned by eBay. The company said it is fighting perceptions that concerts sell out because tickets are quickly grabbed for resale at higher prices.

However, a quick search of Stub Hub showed tickets for Aldean's show were selling for $140, when those same tickets were originally $55 from the DECC.

Russell said the bill would give ticket brokers another advantage over fans. Releasing the ticket count would let them know exactly how many tickets to grab for a marked-up resale.

“If those tickets weren't snapped up by the brokers, the Stub Hubs of the world, they would be available at face price and people could enjoy the show,” Russell said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected the bill Friday afternoon. Friday was the deadline to get bills out of committee so it will not become law this session.