Leaders gather to discuss legislative reforms for live events ticketing system

HOUSTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn along with local sports and entertainment leaders gathered Wednesday to hold a roundtable discussion focused on legislative reforms to the current ticketing system for live performances and events.

The conversation comes months after the chaotic ERAS tour sale where Taylor Swift fans trying to snag tickets through Ticketmaster waited hours before being met by errors and glitches.

“We’d have to say Taylor Swift is the one who brought this to everybody’s attention,” Senator Cornyn said.

Representatives with the World Champion Houston Astros were also in attendance and said several issues including bots, professional scalpers, and predatory sellers on the secondary market that overinflate prices causes problems for both the organization and the fans.

“The problem that we have been running into is automated groups tying up all our sales and they don’t allow our fans to get in and acquire those tickets,” said Giles Kibbe the Astros Senior Vice President.

Cornyn said similar concerns has forced him to identify areas of reform to help fix the broken system with the FANS First Act.

Transparency for Ticket Pricing:

· Require all live event ticket sellers and resellers to disclose total cost of the ticket, including fees, when the fan initially selects a ticket for purchase.

· Require a breakdown of the ticket cost.

· Require refund policies and any restrictions on resale to be disclosed.

Increased Consumer Protection:

· Prohibit a secondary ticketing exchange platform from using an artist’s or venue’s name or intellectual property to trick a fan into believing they are purchasing a live event ticket from the primary ticket issuer.

· Prohibit the sale of a ticket that the reseller represents they possess when they do not, known as a speculative or “spec” ticket.

Restored Market Integrity for Fans, Artists, and Venues:

· Reaffirm that the artist, team, or venue retain the right, as they do in current law, to set the terms of the ticket.

· Explicitly state that selling or reselling an event ticket in violation of the terms and conditions of the ticket is unlawful.

· Ensure all live event tickets are transferable for the face value of the ticket and protects marketplace integrity.

· Strengthen the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act, signed into law in 2016, to further prohibit the use of bots to purchase tickets online.

Enforcement Mechanisms for Bad Actors:

· Impose civil penalties on resellers engaging in illegal ticket sale practices, create a reporting website for fans to file complaints, and task the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and State Attorneys General with enforcement.

· Require reporting of ticketing violations from ticketing companies to the FTC and require the FBI to share ticketing violations with them

Cornyn said he expects the FANS First Act to be completed and presented to other U.S. lawmakers within the coming months.

About the Author:

Reporter, proud Houstonian, U of H alumni, and lover of all the hometown sport teams.