The schedule has been set for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s hearing on the ticketing ecosystem, which will take place on Wednesday, February 26 in Washington D.C. Titled “In the Dark: Lack of Transparency in the Live Event Ticketing Industry,” the hearing will kick off at 10 AM at a meeting of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee at the Rayburn House Office Building.
“We launched our bipartisan investigation because of concerns about potentially unfair and deceptive practices occurring in the primary and secondary ticket marketplace,” reads a quote credited to Energy and Commerce Committee Chariman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO). “Unfortunately, the investigation has thus far validated our concerns.”
“Consumers face a number of disturbing practices in the industry, including a systemic lack of transparency and fairness. This hearing will give us the opportunity to hear directly from companies about troubling practices in the live event ticketing marketplace and push them to put consumers first going forward.”
Given the statement from Reps. Pallone and DeGette (and the title of the hearing), it is expected that the hearing will have a strong focus on the lack of transparency consumers face in the ticketing world, and how it can be used to mislead consumers related to the available inventory for an event relative to the perceived demand. Another point of emphasis to be expected is the emerging trend of artist-imposed restrictions on ticket transfer and the detrimental impact that has on consumer rights.
Other expected hearing topics based off the questions from lawmakers include the widespread use of fees and the practices of hiding them until the final step of the purchase process, speculative ticket listings, and attempts by venues and primary ticket vendors to make the use of event or venue names in URLs by competitors unlawful.
Beyond that, several additional areas of concern are expected to be raised at the hearing, according to TicketNews sources. Their negative impact to consumers of imposed price floors on primary-aligned resale marketplaces is likely to be raised, as well as what some consider discriminatory practices related to charging variable pricing by gender common to certain events are likely to be discussed. Similarly, the use of mobile-restricted ticketing and the role that plays in the large-scale harvesting of consumer data sold without disclosure to primary ticket platform marketing partners will likely be debated as well.
Representatives of both the primary and secondary ticketing world are expected to provide testimony for the committee. Live Nation, Anschulz Entertainment Group (AEG), Tickets.com, TicketNetwork, StubHub and VividSeats all received requests for documents and responses to questions from the committee in November.
Additional information related to the hearing will be posted on the subcommittee page here as the event approaches.