Vivid Seats Slams Ticketmaster-Backed Colorado Bill in Memo
Vivid Seats came out strongly in opposition to proposed legislation in Colorado that Ticketmaster and Live Nation are pushing to get passed. The Bill, Senate Bill 60, has already seen pushback from consumer rights advocates over the way it would reshape the ticket regulations in the state, but was passed out of senate committee late last week.
According to Vivid Seats, the bill is a trojan horse from the event giant, which is pushing hard to end consumer ticket rights through legislation despite being under heavy scrutiny for its alleged monopolistic behavior in both the primary and secondary ticketing spaces. In its memo, Vivid Seats argues that the bill would upend the current system where event operators are limited in their ability to restrict resale or transfer rights of consumers, or for venues to deny consumers access to events they purchased tickets through resale marketplaces, through its provisions.
Under the current ticketing regulations, the company memo writes, “it is more difficult for [Live Nation Entertainment] to exert market power over competitors in Colorado because the State Legislature has safeguarded competition by protecting the ability to transfer tickets and by prohibiting ticket sellers, like Ticketmaster, from discriminating against ticket resale.”
Colorado is one of six states that currently protect consumers from such restrictions, joining New York, Connecticut, Virginia, Utah, and Illinois in such consumer protections. Those opposed to SB 60 say that its language would effectively eliminate those protections by empowering venues and event promoters to declare almost any ticket listed for resale outside of their own chosen vendors as “fraudulent” and therefore subject to immediate cancellation and fines.
“Through Senate Bill 060, LNE is attempting to neuter these key pro-competition protections by vastly expanding an operator’s right to revoke so-called “fraudulent tickets,” Vivid’s memo continues.
“LNE/Ticketmaster (or it’s venue clients) would have the right to review a competitor’s resale site, claim that the site’s practices are “deceptive” in some respect and then revoke the tickets on the competitor’s site and post those for sale on its own site. There is no standard of proof, and no appeal, just one market participant elevated to regulator and granted the right to remove inventory from a competitor.”
TicketNews reached out by email to both of the bill’s sponsors, Democrat Robert Rodriguez and Republican Mark Baisley, to ask them if they were aware of this issue with their bill, but have not received a response as of Monday afternoon. Specifically, we asked the senators if there was any aspect of the proposed legislation that would prevent a venue or event operator from restricting the resale of tickets to one preferred platform, then claiming that any off-platform tickets are deceptive and thereby null and void – largely the scenario outlined by Vivid Seats in their memo.
This is not a purely academic question. Since the announcement of the ticket sales policy for Zach Bryan’s upcoming Burn Burn Burn tour, we have been asking the tour operator and promoter for clarification on their ticket resale policy. For that tour, the country singer (and notable Ticketmaster “hate” enthusiast) has decided to use the AXS system to lock all tickets to mobile-only formats, which will then allow the tickets to be restricted from transfer, and only able to be resold through the AXS system with a price ceiling (and likely, price floor) in place.
In states with no consumer protections like Colorado’s in place, this isn’t much of an issue, because ticket transfer or resale rights aren’t legally protected at a national level. But in three states that the tour is scheduled to perform – New York, Virginia, and Colorado – such policies are currently against the law. But the event promoter, ticket operator, and artist have all either ignored our questions, or informed us that we must contact someone different for clarification on their policies, who then does not respond to the request for comment.
That a tour operator is seemingly at least considering blatantly ignoring existing protections in place for consumer ticket rights, it is not a far leap to be concerned that promoters and event operators might aggressively misuse a law such as SB 60 that empowers them to do so with the backing of the law, nullifying those consumer ticket rights even in states where they exist like Colorado.
“While the proposed enforcement structure of SB 060 is ripe for abuse, and we cannot support it, we do support many of the pro-consumer concepts discussed in SB 060 if they are divorced from the anticompetitive provisions discussed previously and enforcement of these provisions remains with the Attorney General,” the letter concludes, signed by Vivid Seats’ VP Ryan Fitts.
We will update this story if any response is received from Sens. Rodriguez or Baisley to our questions.
Last Updated on February 27, 2023 by Dave Clark
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