A number of bills that would reform the ticketing ecosystem are under consideration by the Massachusetts legislature, and are going to be the subject of a hearing on Monday, September 20. The bills bring forward a number of consumer-friendly changes to the regulations on live event ticketing in the state, which regularly sees high-profile concerts as well as games for all four professional sports.
With four bills submitted, the hearing will likely be a process of discussion that will help hone in on the needed changes to the ticketing ecosystem, in hopes that lawmakers can agree on a set of reforms that could be passed to the benefit of consumers in Massachusetts. The hearing, which will take place in front of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, will be streamed in the virtual space (details here). The committee is led by co-chairs Sen. Susan Moran and Rep. Tackey Chan and co-vice chairs Sen. Paul Feeney and Mary S. Keefe.
“I think all of the bills that are being discussed have a lot of good, pro-consumer measures in them,” says Brian Hess, Executive Director of the Sports Fans Coalition, a group that often advocates for improvements to the consumer ticketing experience. “I think that Massachusetts is taking a good, measured approach to this sort of legislation – it hasn’t been knee-jerk. I commend Chairwoman Moran and Chairman Chan of the joint committee for taking up this issue and working to improve things for the people of Massachusetts.”
The four bills to be discussed and their respective sponsors are:
- H 430 – An act to reduce discriminatory restrictions by enhancing transparency in ticket sales (John J. Mahoney – D 13th)
- H 442 – An act to modernize the issuance and sale of sports and entertainment tickets (Michael J. Moran – D 18th)
- S 174 An Act to modernize the issuance and sale of sports and entertainment tickets (Nick Collins – D-Suffolk)
- S 242 – An Act relative to the fair distribution and pricing of event tickets (Michael F. Rush – D – Norfolk and Suffolk)
With variations, the bills strike on several key issues related to ticketing – transparency, transfer rights, refund guarantees, and much more.
“First of all, it’s important that consumers have access to a competitive ticket marketplace, whether we’re talking about companies in the primary marketplace like Ticketmaster or secondary ticketing companies like StubHub, Vivid Seats, or what have you,” says John Breyault of the National Consumers League. “What we look for when we see bills in consumer protection legislation is, does it help consumers get information that they need, and does it help protect them from bad actors.”
We’ll check back with more details following next week’s hearing.