By Christine Paluf
Florida legislation was recently amended to allow ticket resellers to sell for more than the previous $1 over face value. Seemingly, the adjustment to the antiquated law was a win for ticket brokers.
However, “at the last minute,” according to Jeff Spitzmiller of Miami’s All Platinum Events, “they added that Ticketmaster wants to limit the number of tickets you can buy. … You can only sell the posted number of tickets that Ticketmaster authorizes, after that they can serve you with a civil suit.”
This new purchase restriction provision in effect undid the progress made by the legislation.
“We don’t care about the one dollar thing, but for Ticketmaster to do that, it’s not fair,” Spitzmiller said.
Lisa Crawford of Sit in My Seats agreed. “They took the dollar off, but instituted an amount of tickets you can buy. … It’s not something we want.”
In a recent Business Week article, Ticketmaster President Sean Moriarty said fans should be able to buy and sell tickets, but with restrictions — similar to the rules that govern stock trading. “If a team or venue wants to put certain conditions on their retail product, they should have the right to do that,” says Moriarty.
A group of ticket brokers has banded together to protest this late addition to the legislation. Called the Florida Association of Ticket Brokers, the group got together after trade shows in Las Vegas this year and decided to do something.
“We hired a lobbyist to try and overturn the law,” Spitzmiller said. “We had to get together to cover our own asses.”
According to Spitzmiller, 25 to 30 major Florida players met last week to elect board members.
“The [association] is similar to what they have in Illinois and New England,” he said.
“It’s all our own money. We’ve got about $125,000 between us.”
The National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) announced recently that they have “agreed to share one half of he cost of hiring a lobbyist to overturn the new purchase restriction provision of Florida law with the Florida Association of Ticket Brokers.”
Spitzmiller admits that the law hasn’t affected his business. Crawford hasn’t seen a decrease either, however her business doesn’t send anyone to the streets.
“You’re not going to notice a difference until Ticketmaster hits you with a cease and desist order,” Spitzmiller said.
He said that a group will be traveling to Tallahassee to “meet with the Attorney General to get them to remove that law.”
Before the new law, a seller of travel license was needed, which would then allow the resale of tickets only when combined with lodging or transportation packages, Spitzmiller explained.
“It’s happening in very small stages,” he said. “Baby steps.”