Two former New Jersey Devils season ticket holders are suing the NHL team, claiming the hockey club violated state law by restricting the re-sale of individual game tickets off their subscriptions through a third-party agency.
The lawsuit was brought forth on Tuesday by New York residents Rey and Alex Olsen, who had their season tickets revoked by the Devils after the 2013-14 season, according to court papers. The complaint outlines other plaintiffs to include all Devils season ticket holders, those season ticket holders who had their subscriptions revoked because of re-sale on the secondary market and all season ticket holders, “who were charged copying or other extra contractual fees imposed upon season ticket holders whom the Devils identified as compting re-sellers.”
The suit seeks a remedy of $100 for each violation.
The Olsens had been season ticket holders for the Newark-based team since 2011, according to the complaint. The lawsuit claims that, “like many season ticket holders,” they were unable to attend all 40 home games over the course of a schedule that sometimes includes two or more games a week.
To avoid “wasting tickets,” season subscribers often put the tickets up for re-sale via the secondary retail ticket market, the lawsuit claims.
StubHub was singled out as a viable marketplace in the complaint. The ticket service provides “safeguards to minimize the opportunity for fraud in the secondary sale of tickets,” and the Devils “have no justifiable reason to preclude or penalize season ticket holders who sell Devils tickets on StubHub,” according to the complaint.
The complaint singles out registered ticket brokers that conduct business through Internet sites as a legal means of re-selling game tickets.
The lawsuit claims that the Devils, “like most major league sports teams,” are “desperate to control the secondary market for game tickets because the consumer has the choice of purchasing from a secondary retailer or the Devils ox office.”
The National Hockey League has an agreement with Ticketmaster, and the Devils have made the “NHL Ticket Exchange,” run by Ticketmaster, its “official” re-seller, according the lawsuit.
And that is a holding penalty, according to the plaintiffs.
“The Devils wish to restrain competition to its box office sales,” the complaint alleges. The team refuses to renew season ticket subscriptions to those who sell individual game tickets via the secondary market, the lawsuit claims.
Ticket Network CEO Don Vaccaro lamented the move by the Devils as shot against the common folk who just want to buy an affordable ticket to see hockey and others sports.
“The devils action is slippery slope for all of professional sports,” he said. “It appears that some pro teams are starting a process of gentrification by evicting lower income folks out of their stadiums. What should really concern the teams is giving the Obama administration the talking points that it needs to change the taxing structure on incentives for sports stadiums. Billionaires creating systems to keep lower income folks out of the sports stadiums and arenas are all the ammunition that he needs.”
The lawsuit says the restrictive re-sale practice violates New Jersey law and the Consumer Fraud Act and that the Olsens and others suffered “economic loss” by the limitations and eventual revocation of season tickets.