A change to the laws regulating ticket resale in Michigan is brewing, and it may spell bad news for individuals with season memberships for the Detroit Tigers, TicketNews has learned.
House Bill No. 4224, introduced in February by Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw), removes language prohibiting ticket resale for above the face value on tickets sold in Michigan. It also introduces language barring the use of software designed to interfere with the ticket sales process put forth by venue operators (banning bots, effectively). What it does not do is put any protections in place for those who hold those tickets against unilateral actions by rights-holders, such as those put in place by legislators in New York and Connecticut in recent years.
Michigan Rep. Tim Kelly (District 94) told TicketNews that the ticket legislation change was to “allow individual ticket holders to not have punitive consequences for selling their tickets when they cannot use them and recouping their money for them.”
According to a source familiar with the situation, the Detroit Tigers organization is considering a move to consolidate all of its inventory with one broker, based out of state. That, given there is no language preventing it, will likely mean the wholesale cancellation of tickets held by current season ticket subscribers at the discretion of Tigers ownership.
Many teams have requested the information on season ticket holders who have sold more than 10 percent on their official partner and have cancelled their tickets; one example is the Chicago Cubs. If the team performs well, the team benefits in revenue share agreements with the secondary market seller with proceeds from scalping.
A similar situation took place in Los Angeles over the winter, where the Dodgers revoked the season ticket memberships of hundreds – possibly thousands – and instead sold those tickets to Eventellect, based in Austin, Texas. The team has been sued for breach of contract by effected individuals, but California similarly has no protections against such actions related to ticketing.
The source says that the team is holding off on announcing this partnership until after the bill changing the law is updated, in order to avoid the potential blowback that could accompany such a move, particularly when the contract will be with a company located outside of the state of Michigan.
Requests for comment from the Detroit Tigers have not been answered as of Wednesday afternoon.