More than half of season ticket holders recently surveyed by the consumer advocacy group Fan Freedom Project (FFP) said that they would not renew their tickets if a team restricted their transferability options.
When asked about the keys to their season ticket renewals, 58 percent of respondents said they were less likely to renew their season tickets if the team turned to a restrictive, non-transferable ticketing policy. Forty percent said they were less likely to renew if the team only allowed ticket transfer through its own Web site.
FFP surveyed 407 fans who own season tickets for teams in the MLB, NFL or NBA, or for college basketball and football teams. Response percentages do not add up to 100 because respondents were allowed to give multiple answers to questions, and responses like “other” and “don’t know” were removed.
“Restrictive ticketing is an attempt by ticketing companies and teams to extend their grip on the marketplace at the expense of consumers,” said John Breyault, FFP member and National Consumers League vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud, in a November 21 statement.
The survey used restrictive paperless tickets as the example of what some teams have considered turning to in order to implement a non-transferable policy. Restrictive paperless tickets require purchasers to swipe their credit cards at the entrance of a venue to gain admittance.
More than a third of respondents said they were less likely to renew their season tickets if the team placed various pricing restrictions on resale, such as a price floor or cap.
Additionally, when asked specifically for their opinion about restrictive paperless tickets, a combined 61 percent of fans surveyed believe such tickets are either “somewhat bad” or “very bad” for season ticket holders.
FFP president Jon Potter said in a statement that fans spend a considerable amount of money on season tickets, and they should have the right to do whatever they want with them.
When asked whether the market or the ticket issuer should determine a ticket’s price, 75 percent of fans surveyed said that responsibility should fall to the marketplace — not teams, venues or ticketing companies.
“The Fan Freedom Project is working to ensure their commitment is rewarded, including the guaranteed right to give away tickets to family, friends or clients or to sell them to help pay for their season package,” Potter said.
Potter added that 86 percent of fans surveyed view tickets as their property when asked who controls the ticket. Only 14 percent said that the venue controls the ticket.
A growing number of sports teams and music acts have turned to paperless tickets in recent years in an effort to eliminate ticket resale for their events. The teams and acts’ stated purpose is to make the ticket-buying process more secure and to ensure that tickets end up in the hands of their fans at the original price.
The survey was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland on behalf of FFP from September 9 to September 15. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.