New Jersey Arts Groups Protest Bill to Ban Paperless Tickets

Monday, March 04, 2013 - 06:00 PM

Nonprofit arts venues in New Jersey are caught in the crosshairs of a fight over state legislation that would ban the use of paperless tickets to performances and sporting events, reports the Newark Star-Ledger.

The legislation is backed by consumer groups and ticket brokers, who say it would create a freer, more transparent ticket market. It is opposed by venues, sports teams and Ticketmaster, which view paperless tickets—bought online and redeemed at the event—as an anti-scalping measure that will hurt fans while helping brokers.

The legislation has other aspects that are worrying to nonprofit performance venues like McCarter Theater in Princeton and the State Theater in New Brunswick. Both argue that it will eliminate strategies like dynamic pricing — the ability for a theater to increase ticket prices if a production is in demand — which are fundamental to their business models. Those organizations further complain that some of the bill's provisions preclude them from offering "early bird" tickets to certain donors or contest winners.

The legislation calls for making all tickets to a performance available to the public in the name of shifting the supply and demand equation back in favor of the consumers. It could come up for a floor vote this month.


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Comments [7]

Chris T.

First, I've you've ever had to sell a ticket on short notice, then not having an etix is a major burden, leading invariable to write off.
With this option, you can post on craigslist, and email the ticket. Works great, done many times.
Same for purchases for something on short notice for someone else in that boat.
With only paper tickets, not possible.
How does THAT help consumers?

b) The only reason "scalpers" can get the high pricse often seen, is because SOMEONE is willing to pay that price.
No buyer, no sales, no high prices.
Just like how auctions work.
The consumers are at fault, no one else.
If prime seats in large venues go for such money, then that just shows there's lots of wealthy people out there.
BUT: no one has a RIGHT to attend anything, let alone in those seats.

What should be controlled perhaps is the creation of artifical shortage, by first placing blocks with resellers, and then taking them back, as TM SEEMS to do.
But even THAT tactic wouldn't work, if people didn't pay the asked prices, so it's the same as above.
Wnat to see an example: ASOT600 at MSG this past weekend.
"scarcity" drove resellers prices high soon after on sale date, yet on Sat. they still had good seats at the box office!
So, the only dupes are the ones that paid up...
Bottom line: stupid idea, cause consumer hardship, and interferes in private contracts that NO one else has a right to.

Apr. 01 2013 10:37 PM

Tickets for the public should be offered on a publicized date, should be sold in no more than 4 to a customer, and if the facility selling needs a fee it should be paid by the offering venue, and no "facility" fee is acceptable as other than a slimy way to increase the price of the ticket. BAM makes a big to do about the sale of tickets, but even on the date for members' purchases, all of the prime orchestra seating is held back for yet bigger contributers' whims. The Joyce Theater even adds a fee if you buy the ticket at the box office! Dynamic pricing is a profitable total rip off which can be deduced by Gelb's Met Opera House now incorporating it. Used to be that an opera seat was a given price in a given area with weekend performances uniformly higher. Now, depending on the week, the time of year, the day of the week, the way the wind is blowing and if seats are selling quickly, the ticket prices can go up --just like the air lines' shenanigans. Computers make things cheaper, but lack of regulation makes that benefit accrue to the dealers and institutions instead of the public.

Mar. 30 2013 02:43 PM

"Tickets are offered below market value by venues"? Are you serious? Have you tried to go to a baseball or basketball game lately? With premium seats costing in four figures, and even lousy seats in three? Those poor millionaires are breaking my heart, and my bank.

Mar. 06 2013 09:17 PM
David from Flushing

Scalping exists because tickets are offered below market value by venues. With many arts organizations crying for money in these troubled times, perhaps they should consider charging what the market will bear for high demand events.

I never understood why scalping is illegal while buying low and selling high on the stock market is encouraged. Even stock market transactions can be dated futures as is the case with concert tickets.

Mar. 06 2013 02:02 PM

Scalping is illegal, except somehow ticket brokers are allowed to snap up blocs of tickets and resell them at inflated prices for "convenience" - thus, in essence, becoming legal scalpers. That's why tickets for sports events, Broadway shows, concerts etc. go on sale at regular prices and sell out immediately, but then show up at inflated prices on StubHub and other sites, which sports teams are now actually in cahoots with. I can't even afford to go to many events that used to be reasonably priced and available, so I don't bother. Yes, Ticketmaster is a monstrous monopoly, with its fees and surcharges that jack up the advertised cost of a ticket. And arenas and halls follow suit with "facilities charges," which are nothing more than an attempt to garner the same higher prices. They're all sharks, and the consumer is lunch. I don't see that the perceived competition will benefit anyone except the people who sell the tickets, not those who buy them.

Mar. 06 2013 10:28 AM
Joe Varga from Vancouver WA USA

I see it differently than the first comment. Ticketmaster has a strangle hold (read monopoly) on many, many performance venues. It's power is enormous and its pricing and policies reflect it's power. Ticketmaster is against it because it doesn't like competition, the very thing we need the most.

Mar. 06 2013 04:04 AM

A battle between ticket brokers and Ticketmaster. Kinda hard to choose sides in that one.

Mar. 05 2013 12:05 PM

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