Lawmakers in Indiana are considering a bill that would make non-transferrable tickets unlawful in the state, but are facing strong opposition from both sports teams and concert promoters in their efforts. The legislation protects consumer rights to do what they wish with a ticket after they buy it – use it, give it away, or resell it – without restriction from promoters or primary ticket sellers.
“You bought the ticket, and that’s your property that you should be allowed to transfer,” bill author and Republican state Rep. Martin Carbaugh told the Indianapolis Business Journal.
The bill passed the House Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee by a 9-4 vote last week.
As currently written, the bill does not apply to sporting events, and operators for the large venues in the area – Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Ruoff Music Center, and the Amphitheater at White River State Park according to the IBJ – are all in opposition. They say such a restriction would make it difficult for them to attract artists.
Live Nation senior vice president Tom Mendenhall, who’s company manages two of the mentioned venues and handles ticketing for all but the motor speedway through its Ticketmaster subsidiary, disagreed with the idea that New York’s passage of similar restrictions on non-transferrable tickets means that such concerns are overblown. “Most artists are going to play in New York City,” said Mendenhall, whose company is the largest event promoter in the world and recently settled anti-trust action brought by the DOJ over its use of threats and coercion related to its ticketing business. “We’re not New York City.”
Such language is often employed by Live Nation in its efforts to kill legislative measures it doesn’t want to see. In 2017, Ontario lawmakers had included provisions requiring that promoters disclose how many tickets were available to the public prior to public sale (vs. those held back for presales, artist giveaways, or other purposes) only to see those provisions killed under threats that acts would simply skip the province entirely on their tours.
The bill also includes language prohibiting website operators from using the name of a venue, event, performer, or anything substantially similar to them in its website address.