By Alfred Branch, Jr.
Details of the plan were not yet available, but team officials were slated to announce specifics of the arrangement Tuesday during a 10am press conference at Heinz Field, the team’s home stadium. Under the deal, Ticketmaster’s exchange site will likely become the team’s only authorized resale location…
Having watched ticket brokers, eBay and Ticket Liquidator gobble up some of its market share by quickly and economically offering fans tickets to sold out games and events, Ticketmaster and several sports teams have established official resale sites in an attempt to control the primary and secondary market for its ticket inventory. The Steelers are the second National Football League team to strike such a deal with Ticketmaster this month. Recently the Detroit Lions launched a similar plan for its season ticket holders.
“This will definitely affect us,” said Vince Bledsoe, one of the owners of Tickets4Ever.com . “We’ve been selling Steelers tickets for more than 20 years.”
Even coming off an 8-8 record last season, the Steelers, long considered one of the NFL’s most storied franchises, remain a hot ticket not only in the Pittsburgh area but also around the country. Bledsoe grew up in Pittsburgh but relocated his site to Arizona, partly because ticket scalping laws in Pennsylvania and within the city of Pittsburgh made doing business difficult. Tickets to Pittsburgh events cannot be resold for more than $5 or 25 percent above face value, he said.
“As big as the Steelers are, how can anyone get a ticket for face value?” he said, adding that some of his and other brokers’ inventory came from season ticket holders. “Instead of going through my site, a lot of them will go through this new site. It’s funny, because they [Ticketmaster and the Steelers] act as if scalping is illegal, but then they go ahead and do this.”