A New York judge sided with a ticket broker that filed a lawsuit against the New York Yankees, issuing a temporary restraining order on Tuesday preventing the team from selling 49 of 52 tickets the club had canceled earlier this year. The brokers, of Maryland-based ASC Ticket Co., argue that the team’s cancellation of the tickets – which cost over $400,000 – violates Article 25 of the state’s Arts and Cultural Affairs law, which regulates legal resale of tickets.
“The court just granted a TRO (temporary restraining order) preserving 49 out of the 52 subscriptions which was a great result for us,” Larry Hutcher of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP told Amplify Media. “What they are doing is preserving the tickets,” he said, adding “Pending the determination of the motion, the Yankees agree not to sell them or otherwise transfer them. So in the event that we are successful, the tickets will still be there and the Yankees can’t argue that our request for a release is moot because the tickets have already been sold.”
In addition to their attempt to recover the revoked tickets, ASC is seeking damages of at least $1 million, due to the potential hit to their reputation in the industry and the industry itself if the revocation leads to their inability to fulfill orders.
“If the company can’t fulfill orders, it is going to adversely impact them with the consumers and the public on these ticket exchanges,” Hutcher told Amplify. “If you post a ticket, you need to be able to deliver them.”
The case is an interesting one to follow, due to the recent trend of teams looking to take a tighter hold on the resale market of their own tickets, either by threatening revocation for those who don’t use preferred partners, or outright cancellation of tickets that in some cases have been broker-held for many years. Often, those who find themselves without tickets have minimal recourse due to the ‘revocable license’ status of tickets that has frequently been upheld when challenged in court. But New York has laws on the books which expressly forbid teams or venues from restricting legal resale, including the cancellation of season tickets due to their having been resold.
ASC is arguing that the excuse the Yankees gave for the cancellation – vaguely worded as their analytics team having determined that the buying behavior didn’t fit the Yankees’ criteria – was nothing more than a cover for doing exactly what state law forbids.
After a breakout season by Aaron Judge and the addition of NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlines in the offseason, expectations are high for the Bronx Bombers in 2018. Oddsmaker Bovada has the team as co-favorite with the defending World Series Champion Astros to get to the Fall Classic, according to NJ.com.