The Connecticut General Assembly is considering sweeping changes to its existing ticket resale laws that would protect consumers and ensure an open secondary ticket market.
Bill No. 5228, currently before the legislature’s General Law Committee, prohibits venues, promoters or other primary ticket sellers from anyway thwarting the resale of tickets on the secondary market, and it calls for them to make available information on the number of tickets that are being released. Ticket resale is legal in Connecticut.
While other states, such as Minnesota, are considering laws to require the disclosure of available tickets, Connecticut is proposing to take the matter a step further by also protecting consumers, brokers and resellers.
The proposed bill states in part:
No person shall apply a term or condition on the original sale of a ticket to an entertainment event, including, but not limited to, a sporting event, concert or theatrical or operatic performance, if such term or condition limits the ticket purchaser’s ability to resell such ticket. Such a prohibited term or condition includes, but is not limited to, terms or conditions that: (1) Restrict ticket resale of any part or all of a subscription or season ticket package as a condition of purchase of such package, (2) require compliance with such term or condition to retain a ticket for the duration of a subscription term or season, (3) require a ticket purchaser to comply with such term or condition to retain his or her contractually agreed-upon rights to purchase future subscriptions or season ticket packages, or (4) impose a sanction on the ticket purchaser if the sale of the ticket is not through a reseller approved by the operator of the event.
(b) No person who regulates admission to an entertainment event shall deny access to such event to a person in possession of a validly purchased ticket to the event, regardless of whether the ticket is subject to a subscription or season ticket package agreement, based solely on the ground that such ticket was resold through a reseller that was not approved by the operator of the event.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit an operator of an entertainment event from prohibiting the resale of a contractual right in a season ticket package agreement that gives the original purchaser a priority or other preference to enter into a subsequent season ticket package agreement with such operator.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit an operator of an entertainment event from maintaining and enforcing policies regarding conduct or behavior at or in connection with such operator’s venue. An operator may revoke or restrict a ticket for reasons relating to a violation of written venue policies reasonably related to the protection of the safety of patrons or to address fraud or misconduct in connection with the sale or use of such ticket.
State Sen. Thomas Colapietro and Rep. Jim Shapiro, co-chairs of the General Law Committee, could not be reached for comment.
The proposed bill continues a move toward more transparency in the ticketing industry, which came into focus this week with the settlement between the Federal Trade Commission and Ticketmaster concerning the sale of Bruce Springsteen tickets last year.
Less than a year ago, at a USA Today CEO forum, Ticketmaster board Chairman Barry Diller was quoted supporting more transparency in the ticketing industry.
“The problem with the ticketing business is: It’s the essence of non-transparency. And the reason is that everybody has an ax to grind. Artists do not want consumers to know that they have a take of different parts of the ticketing package. People who own venues want to put in service charges. So I think there’s going to be legislation which is going to force transparency, and I think that would be great for everybody,” Diller said.
The Connecticut proposal goes on to state in part:
Each owner, lessee, operator or manager of a venue for an entertainment event, including, but not limited to, a sporting event, concert or theatrical or operatic performance, and each primary seller of tickets for such entertainment event shall release the following information to the Commissioner of Consumer Protection or such commissioner’s duly authorized agent, upon request, for a specified entertainment event: (1) The total number of tickets available for the event, (2) the number and percentage of tickets released by such owner, lessee, operator or manager for sale to the public, (3) the number and percentage of tickets held back for each event, (4) the number and percentage of tickets not available for sale to the general public, (5) the number and percentage of tickets released only through package purchases or fan club purchases for each event, and (6) the number and percentage of tickets for the venue that are unavailable due to stage design or are otherwise unavailable for purchase to the general public due to maintenance or other issues that prevent the use of seats in the venue.
A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for February 25 in the state capitol before the General Law Committee.