February 5, 2008 By Alfred Branch Jr.
The ticketing industry should not rush to judgment over the proposed takeover of TicketsNow by Ticketmaster because the deal further legitimizes the secondary market, according to the lead counsel for the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB).
Before an audience of venue and box office operators and other ticketing executives Wednesday, Jan. 30 in Chicago at the International Ticketing Association annual conference, attorney Gary Adler said it would be a “disservice” to rush to judgment concerning the deal because no one knows how the deal will turn out. A growing number of ticket brokers oppose the deal, in part because they believe Ticketmaster will use TicketsNow to gather information on brokers and secretly resell tickets through TicketsNow that were never made available to the public.
“We have not taken a position pro or con as it relates to this deal, but clearly it helps to further legitimize the market,” Adler said.
The NATB has asked Ticketmaster CEO Sean Moriarty to keynote its upcoming conference, but Adler told TicketNews that Ticketmaster will likely not become a member of the NATB but that TicketsNow will continue to be a member.
Harris Rosner, CEO of secondary ticketer V.I.P. Tickets supports the deal, which he called a “game changer.” Rosner believes that the deal will open up a wealth of opportunities for brokers, in part because the industry will become more transparent. “By having a company as large as Ticketmaster come into the market, it blows away the barriers and black clouds that have characterized this industry for so long,” he said.
Transparency is something many in the audience Wednesday said they would like to see more of, as some of them, primarily venue and box office executives, grilled Adler, Rosner, and the NATB’s Ken Solky, president of Nevada Ticket Service and Jason Berger, managing partner of AllShows.com. Many in the audience don’t like ticket brokers, some of whom, they said, use heavy handed tactics to obtain tickets.
Brokers, they said, often leave it up to the box office to correct situations when things go wrong with tickets, instead of brokers being more cautious about the tickets they sell. In addition, many venue operators don’t like the fact that they lose potential repeat customers to brokers.
Adler said his association is diligent in following up on complaints involving brokers, and the NATB utilizes stringent criteria for membership, which helps weed out cheats.