by Bernard Watson
Boston Red Sox season ticket holders are to face the long arm of the law if caught reselling their tickets for a profit. Red Sox tickets are the most in demand of all MLB tickets, due to a combination of Bostonian passion and a woefully tiny arena called Fenway Park. Seats for Fenway are always at a premium and the prices they fetch are on the steep side, which has led to many season ticket holders taking to the streets around the revered old stadium and offloading the precious paper for a handsome sum. But Red Sox officials have had enough of it, and an investigation that splits more hairs than it solves has apparently begun in earnest.
Sox vice president of ticketing Ron Bumgarner has stated that at least three and possibly up to five season ticket holders are to have their prized season tickets revoked, after being discovered selling seats online for profit. The club is investigating the situation, and will be announcing the number of back-snatched tickets sometime soon, depending on the results of that investigation…
In an extension of that, the club has stated that any information received from those caught reselling their tickets which could lead to further action against those providing a source of tickets will be pursued.
Massachusetts has an anti-scalping law, but this has traditionally been ignored by police officers working Sox games. The law states that anyone reselling tickets must not charge more than $2 over face value, a ruling judged by some to be hopelessly antiquated due to inflation.
The Red Sox have not been known to favor revocation of season tickets in the past, but it appears things are about to change dramatically; double the number of people were arrested for scalping at the first two Red Sox games alone this season than were busted in an entire five months of last season.
A spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley pointed out that those Red Sox fans who were simply reselling tickets at face value in a one-off deal need not worry, and that it was those who were making a business of regularly reselling tickets who were being targeted. It is difficult to know how solid and reliable a guideline this is, though. If an active scalper is caught just one time with little cash and/or other tickets in his pockets, he may appear to be a genuine fan reselling a single ticket, while a genuine fan who happens to be carrying a wad could wind up with his treasured season ticket taken away. The Massachusetts anti-scalping law was first enacted in 1924, at a time when the $2 overcharge meant a lot more to ticket resellers than it does today. It is probably a case for much debate, but the thin line between a criminal act and simply providing a natural service to people with a need once more raises its head once again in the realm of ticket resale.