By Alfred Branch, Jr.
Ticketmaster is continuing its march toward owning as much of the National Football League’s primary and secondary ticket market as possible.
The arrangement allows season ticket holders to sell their tickets through a link on the Bills website, where they can also forward unused tickets to friends or family members via email. Currently, New York State’s scalping law prohibits the resale of tickets for large events – such as pro sports games – above 45 percent of the ticket’s face value, and it calls for even more restrictions on the resale of Broadway and theater tickets. However, that law is set to expire next month, with the support of government officials, which could mean that the Bills season ticket holders will be able to set their own price. The Bills will take 10 percent of the transaction in processing fees, leaving the ticket seller with 90 percent of the sale . . .
“We want to ensure that our fans have the best event experience possible and this includes providing them with an authorized site to buy and resell tickets and avoid potentially fraudulent online resellers,” Russ Brandon, the Bills’ executive vice president of Business Operations, said in a prepared statement.
Or, to put it differently, the deal could be considered as Ticketmaster flexing its muscles against all ticket brokers, whether online and legitimate or not. Ticketmaster is already involved in a lawsuit against rival StubHub! and its parent company eBay for contract infringement, and with the company’s aggressive moves to shore up its standing in the marketplace, these types of resale deals are designed partly to cut out ticket brokers from the loop. When the Steelers deal was announced, one broker said the deal would definitely affect his sales.
Ticketmaster currently has similar deals with dozens of teams in the four major sports, including eight NFL teams, the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Bills, Steelers and Detroit Lions.