The decision by the University of Kansas to consolidate its secondary market tickets in the hands of one organization has landed the school in the middle of a legal battle, as one ticket broker is seeking disclosure of deal specifics through state open records laws while the other fights back, claiming such data constitute trade secrets.
“Only 16,300 tickets are available at each of the roughly 18 home games played at Allen Fieldhouse each year,” the exclusive broker, Overland Park-based Tickets for Less LLC, said in legal filings attempting to keep the specifics secret. “Needless to say, these tickets and the information surrounding their marketing and sale are highly valuable commodities in this small, yet hotly contested marketplace.”
Seeking the information is Goody Tickets LLC, also based in Kansas. Owner Jeff Goodman has contested that the information is a matter of interest to the public, and that the school has prioritized its relationship with its exclusive broker partner over other operators such as himself, as well as members of the public who have been season ticket holders for the Jayhawks.
“It relates to a public records request generally and because the requested Agreement relates to tickets distributed by the publicly funded Kansas Athletics to its donors,” Goody’s attorneys wrote.
“Several Kansas taxpayers and Kansas Athletics’ donors are Goody’s clientele. Therefore, each have a vested interest in matters relating to the operation of Kansas Athletics, specifically basketball ticket distribution and the seating made available for donations made.”
His claims also indicate that some of his clients have been threatened by Kansas Athletics that their season tickets could be revoked if they sell any tickets to him, while selling in similar fashion to Tickets for Less would incur no such penalties.
While the two brokerages battle it out in court, with a hearing on the matter scheduled for August, Kansas has been “put in the middle” in this situation and is simply going to abide by whatever the court decides. It already provided a redacted copy of its agreement with Tickets For Less, with the fight now going to what information was redacted, and how much of it should be available to the public.
At its core, of course, is the fact that the University of Kansas is one of the most successful and popularly followed basketball teams in the country. The program has made 30 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including five Final Four bids since 2000 and cutting the nets down as the 2008 champion. With just over 16,000 seats, Allen Fieldhouse has sold out every game since the second contest in the 2001-02 season, according to KUAthletics.com.