The Coalition for Ticket Fairness (CTF) has expanded its scope from its base in New York with the hire of its first federal lobbyists, according to reporting by Politico. The organization, which advocates for expanded consumer ticketing protections, retained Jonathan McCollum and Jack Roach of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron to lobby on live event ticketing practices and restrictions, according to a disclosure filing.
CTF’s move to national-level effort comes at a time where federal lawmakers and regulators alike have shown ever-increasing interest in the live events and ticketing landscape.
In October, the Federal Trade Commission announced plans to issue rules regulating so-called “drip pricing” – the tactic of showing one price while a consumer is browsing a website only to see unavoidable fees added at the end of the transaction. President Joe Biden quickly added his support to ridding the U.S. consumer landscape of “junk fees” at a press conference flanked by the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Rohit Chopra and FTC Chair Lina Khan.
“These are junk fees. They’re unfair, and they hit marginalized Americans the hardest, especially low-income folks and people of color. They benefit big corporations, not consumers, not working families,” the president said. “Today’s actions are going to save consumers more than $1 billion each year.”
More recently, Live Nation and Ticketmaster have found themselves squarely in the crosshairs of angry consumers – drawing sharp rebuke from lawmakers of both parties after the badly botched presale for Taylor Swift tickets in November. Numerous lawmakers called for the Department of Justice to break up the two companies, with committees in both the House of Representatives and Senate preparing probes.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) also dropped hints recently that legislation is already being worked on that would bring transparency requirements on ticket availability at the federal level – something that CTF has lobbied for in New York, but has long been fought against by Live Nation and other industry insiders, who have gone so far as to threaten that tours would skip cities or states where such disclosures were required.
Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift have already begun the process of moving tickets that had been held back from initial sale to consumers, with thousands more likely still actually available for the “sold out” show.
CTF has been active in the lawmaking process in New York for several years, helping advocate for consumer ticket rights as the state Assembly has regularly debated changes to its arts and cultural affairs laws regulating tickets. New York has some of the strongest consumer protections surrounding tickets rights, including bans on rights-holders cancelling tickets solely on the basis of them having been re-sold, and requirements that consumers be offered tickets delivered in a fashion not fully controlled by rights-holders, such as restrictive mobile-only formats.
The most recent updates to the New York Arts & Cultural Affairs laws were passed in the summer of 2022.
Davidoff Hutcher & Citron already lobbies on behalf of CTF in New York, and has worked with the group in its efforts there through several legislative sessions.
Last Updated on December 15, 2022 by Dave Clark