Proposed legislation that would give more power to consumers buying tickets for events in Georgia moved forward in the state senate this week, passing out of the Committee on Economic Development and Tourism after a hearing on Thursday. The bill is supported by many consumer advocates due to its potential to curb harmful restrictive practices put in place by event operators and companies like Ticketmaster, though the state’s professional sports franchises stand in opposition.

“There is broad public support for legislatures to do something about the stranglehold that Ticketmaster has on the market,” says Sen. Josh McLauren, a democrat and one of the sponsors of Senate Bill 183. “You’ve never seen a public that’s so aware, and so averse to what Ticketmaster is doing.”

Among its proposed updates to the law, the bill would make Georgia one of the growing number of states that gives consumers better protection against the use of restrictive mobile-only ticketing systems to stifle their right to use, transfer, or list for resale tickets that they have purchased. In effect, the bill would shift a ticket from the legal status of being something that the venue or event organizer owns but lets the consumer who pays for it use (with their restrictions) to the property of the individual who has purchased it, to do with as they choose. Other states with similar laws on the books include New York, Connecticut, Virginia, Colorado, Illinois, and Utah.

TFL and ATBS for ticketing professionals

As is typically the case, the live event industry lobby has come down hard in opposition of the bill, with representatives of the local sports franchises and Live Nation Entertainment speaking at the hearing. They argue that the consumer ticketing rights would benefit those who wish to resell tickets for a profit, rather than those who want to go to a game. During the hearing, lawmakers pushed back in many instances against their testimony, which included attempts at saying that restricting ticket transfer is a safety issue rather than an attempt to extend the long-alleged monopoly for ticket sales that Ticketmaster holds into the resale marketplace. The hearing also exposed the fact that the Atlanta Braves ownership also has a significant ownership stake in Ticketmaster as well.

The video from the hearing is available below:

2/16/23 – Committee on Economic Development & Tourism from Georgia State Senate on Vimeo.

The bill would next be voted on by the full Georgia Senate, while a parallel version is introduced to the state’s lower legislative body. Keep up with ticketing regulatory and legal issues here.

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