(This story was updated on January 14, 2010 at 9:18 pm EST)
The baseball season is months away, but the Milwaukee Brewers are already asking Wisconsin legislators to step up the plate and bat ticket scalpers out of the park.
Currently, Wisconsin only prohibits the resale of state fair tickets, according to TicketNews’s exclusive Ticket Resale Laws report. But, now the state is considering beefing up the ticket scalping law to help the team with an alleged nuisance problem with some ticket resellers.
Over the past several years, state after state altered their ticket scalping laws, usually making them more lenient and consistent with a free-market approach, in part due to the internet becoming the dominant way that tickets were bought and resold. At the same time, some states cracked down on street scalping in an effort to clean up the areas around stadiums and arenas.
Wisconsin was one of the states, designating an area next to Miller Park where the Brewers play, for ticket resale. Outside of that area, ticket resale is outlawed, but only if the seller is trying to get more than face value.
There in lies the problem, team officials and state legislators told the Associated Press. Fans have complained to the team that some street scalpers have been overly aggressive and abusive, but if they’re trying to unload tickets for face value or less, the team was powerless to prosecute them.
Legislators are looking to tighten up that loophole by strengthening the law to make it easier for the municipality to enforce the matter, regardless of what a scalper is charging for the ticket. Repeat offenders would be fined and face banishment from the area around Miller Park.
State Sen. Jim Sullivan is co-sponsoring an amendment to the state law and told the Associated Press that the majority of ticket resellers are not the problem, only “a handful of specific” abusers.
“We’re not going to allow people to take away from the experience of going to a game with your family because you are going to be harassed by heavy-handed sales tactics,” Sullivan said.
The state’s most popular team, the Green Bay Packers faced a similar problem but improved the situation by requiring brokers to pay for a license to resell tickets.