U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) issued a press release on Tuesday afternoon praising the FTC Online Event Tickets workshop which ran throughout the day on Tuesday in Washington D.C. Pascrell, who has long been a proponent of increased regulation in the event ticketing world and critical of the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger, was pleased with the workshop’s mix of industry representatives, consumer advocates, academics, and government officials who spoke on the various panels throughout the day.
“Millions of Americans have found common cause through their united dissatisfaction with the live events ticket market, and so I thank the FTC for finally turning its attention to the problem,” said Rep. Pascrell. “But by itself, it isn’t enough. More can be done by Congress and the administration to protect consumers, promote transparency, and go after the bad actors who make their living inconveniencing fans and ripping people off.”
Pascrell added that he believes more needs to be done to address the anti-competitive behavior he’s seen as an outgrowth of the dominating position Live Nation/Ticketmaster hold in the industry, particularly in North America.
The full press release is included below:
Pascrell Applauds Federal Trade Commission Ticket Workshop
Event follows Pascrell letter demanding action against Live Nation/Ticketmaster abuses
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), New Jersey’s only member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, offered qualified praise for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for holding a workshop on consumer protection issues in the online event ticket marketplace. The workshop heard from consumer advocates, trade association representatives, academics and government officials to assess practices in the marketplace.
“Millions of Americans have found common cause through their united dissatisfaction with the live events ticket market, and so I thank the FTC for finally turning its attention to the problem,” said Rep. Pascrell. “But by itself, it isn’t enough. More can be done by Congress and the administration to protect consumers, promote transparency, and go after the bad actors who make their living inconveniencing fans and ripping people off. I was encouraged to see near universal agreement on one panel about the need for regulation to improve transparency of ticket fees. At the same time, the Justice Department should be doing more to curb the Live Nation-Ticketmaster monopoly. The company should never have been allowed to exist and should be broken up. Americans are fed up with being gouged any time they want a little live entertainment.”
The FTC workshop was announced after Reps. Pascrell and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06), the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, wrote a letter to FTC chairman Joseph Simons in July 2016 highlighting a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study which found a myriad of consumer protection and competition issues in the primary and secondary live event ticket markets. The GAO report was commissioned in response to Pallone and Pascrell’s work, and the members urged Simons to do more to protect consumers in the marketplace.
Congressman Pascrell has been a leader in Congress calling for regulation of the opaque live events ticket market. Pascrell was an early critic of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, and repeatedly urged the Obama administration to reject it, warning that the union would crush competition and harm consumers. After Ticketmaster infamously redirected Bruce Springsteen fans to its secondary site TicketsNow to buy marked up seats without notice, Pascrell introduced the BOSS Act in 2009 to create better transparency in the sale of live event tickets and provide overhaul reform of the unregulated secondary market. Rep. Pascrell will be reintroducing a revamped version of the BOSS Act in the coming weeks.
In May 2018, Pascrell wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on his attempts to impose greater positive regulation on the fraught live events ticket market. In September 2018, Pascrell was featured in the wide-ranging investigation by the CBC into corruption in the live events ticket marketplace. Pascrell’s interview segment is available here, and the next month Pascrell wrote a letter to then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling for the Justice Department to open an investigation of continued market corruption by Ticketmaster.