TicketNews has written several stories related to the Chicago Cubs cancellations of long time season ticket holders. Our investigation has raised more questions than answers. After calling dozens of ticket brokers over the last few day, we have discovered that out of state brokers have taken the brunt of the cancellations, particularly those located in the state of New York, though the New Yorkers are not the only ones feeling the pinch.

Additionally, we spoke with several brokers located in New York but who maintain Illinois addresses who were successfully able to renew their tickets.

We have reached out to the Chicago Cubs for comment, but so far they have refused to confirm or deny the criteria used determine the cancellations, other to maintain that the accounts they are cancelling are alleged nonresident ticket brokers. The Cubs maintain that they are cancelling those accounts to provide more ticket opportunities to Cubs “fans”, which we have interpreted as Illinois residents.

Background stories
Chicago Cubs Raise Ticket Prices

Brokers Accuse Chicago Cubs of Selling Them Out

Are the Cubs Using StubHub to ID Brokers?

Gouging Baseball Fans

A similar issue occurred in 2008, during the NFL playoffs, when Ticketmaster and Tampa Bay Buccaneers instituted a policy to only sell tickets to Florida residents. Then NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo stepped in and convinced Ticketmaster and Tampa Bay to change their policy of denying ticket sales to non-residents, stating that the policy raised “interstate commerce issues”, as well as discrimination issues because “(t)here are constitutional prohibitions against states discriminating against other states’ residents or impeding business by other states. There are possible discrimination issues.”

Cuomo Supports New York Ticket Buyers

NY Fans Win, Can Buy Tampa Tickets

The Cubs policy of cancelling out of state residents seems to raise at least three issues, including the interstate commerce and potential discrimination issues raised by former NY AG Andrew Cuomo in 2008 (see reference links to news articles above), as well as potential violations of NY state law. New York state Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, Article 25*, section 25.30 specifically places prohibitions on any operator of a place of entertainment, or operator’s agent to restrict the resale of any tickets included in a subscription or season ticket package or as a condition to retain any contractually agreed upon rights to purchase future subscription or season ticket packages.

We asked the current NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman if the interstate commerce and discrimination issues raised by Cuomo in 2008 might also apply to the Cubs and the MLB today, as well as their agent, StubHub, since the entities operate and sell tickets in the state of NY. Unlike 2008, the office has not received any complaints at this time, so they “respectfully declined to comment.”

Their office did provide information as to how an individual or business could file a complaint by providing the following web links.

NY AG Antitrust Bureau [Click Here]

NY AG Antitrust Bureau Complaint Form [Click Here]

We will of course update this story as we receive more information.

Next: Is StubHub Providing Broker Information to Teams to Preserve It’s MLB Relationship

Darnell Goldson: [email protected], 860-993-3906