In a country where ticket resale has not yet reached full legitimacy and acceptance, a number of registered ticket brokers in France have decided to form their own union.
The group, Syndicat National des Indépendants de la Billetterie (SNIB) launched in November of 2009, has faced some challenges in its early efforts to promote the well being of its members. A French law, on the books since 1919, prohibits the resale of tickets for state-subsidized events (which comprise a significant percentage of total events in France).
However, according to SNIB Chairman Alban Bennacer, after a French government review in 1953, the law was labeled restrictive and outdated, originating as it did from a period when tourism played a very small role in France’s economy. This review resulted in an easing of the law’s restrictions, allowing resale of tickets for subsidized events with a maximum of a 20 percent mark-up.
Unfortunately, the revised law is less well-known today than the original law, largely because, for the past thirty years, the text of the original has appeared on the back of concert, sporting event, and museum tickets sold on the primary market. Thus, inadvertently or not, the French primary ticketing and promotion industries have helped to perpetuate this inaccurate representation of the law.
Bennacer hopes that, instead of challenging what he describes as an obsolete law, SNIB may be able to combat the misinformation with public education efforts, “so that they [will begin to] understand that ticket resale is a legitimate business and that they can benefit from it. People are starting to realize this, but it is just the beginning.”
SNIB is ready to work with the media to help dispel misleading information about the law that continues to circulate today, according to Bennacer. In addition, the group is willing to open lines of communication with the event promotion industry and to work in cooperation with them, instead of as rivals.
These efforts at public education and advocacy are mainstays of the group’s plans for the future, the hope being that a greater acceptance of ticket resale in France will arise from a better understanding of the business’ legitimacy. As the climate for the resale business changes, the union also hopes to interest brokers worldwide in expanding their business to France. Once populated by a few brokers trying to resell tickets on eBay, ticket resale in France is growing from both within and outside its borders, with French brokers beginning to form their own companies and resellers Seatwave and viagogo staking their claims in the country.