This story was updated at 4:07 p.m. EDT on Thursday, August 11, 2011, to include a comment from the National Football League.
The city of Indianapolis took a step closer to requiring ticket brokers obtain permits, following a positive reception to the plan by a City-County Council subcommittee Wednesday night, August 10.
The overwhelming approval by the Rules & Public Policy Committee sets the stage for the proposal to go before the full City-County Council on August 15.
Under the proposal, brokers would be required to pay $57 for an annual license that would allow them to resell tickets in the city for any amount, but they cannot do so within a mile of one of the city’s major venues, such as Lucas Oil Stadium, Canseco Fieldhouse, Victory Field or the Indianapolis Convention Center.
Ticket resale was not previously regulated in the city, but Indianapolis will host the Super Bowl in February of next year, and according to city officials the National Football League (NFL) requires that host cities have a ticket resale ordinance on their books.
“We defer to local law enforcement and the state and local anti-scalping laws that exist,” a spokesperson for the NFL told TicketNews.
Councilman Angel Rivera, who sponsored the ordinance, told TicketNews that the goal is not to limit what brokers charge for tickets. “We want is to ensure honest brokers.”
Local brokers have generally been in favor of the proposal, according to industry insiders, because it further legitimizes the secondary ticket market.
Indianapolis is among several cities and states that have sought to implement buffer zones and propose brokers obtain a license for ticket resale. Green Bay has both, and Georgia utilizes buffer zones, for example.
The move is not the first time Indianapolis legislators have considered a broker licensing requirement; back in 2008 officials looked into the matter as a way to fight counterfeiters and unscrupulous ticket resellers.
“It’s something that’s definitely been a problem in the past. With the counterfeiting and the fact that people selling tickets are not always selling them legitimately,” Adam Collins, licensing and permits administrator for the city’s Department of Code Enforcement, told the committee.
The proposed ordinance states, in part:
It shall be unlawful to resell or repurchase tickets on public streets, sidewalks, or other public outdoor locations to a ticketed event within one (1) mile of the event venue without a license issued according to the provisions of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful to resell or repurchase tickets on public streets, sidewalks, or other public outdoor locations to a ticketed event within one (1) mile of the event venue unless one (1) of the parties to the transaction is a licensed ticket broker.
A license shall not be required for any person reselling or repurchasing tickets under the following conditions:
(1) That the person reselling or repurchasing the ticket has written authorization from the event organizer to do so; or
(2) That all tickets were repurchased or resold for not more than the face value of the ticket. (this provision was amended Wednesday to not more than 15 percent above face value)
The proposal also states that brokers submit to a background check, and they can be denied a license if they have been convicted of a felony or “a crime of dishonesty” within the last five years. In addition, they can be denied a license if they gave information on the application form or to the administrator that is “false, incomplete, or misleading.”