Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tried to attach the so-called “Fans First Act” bill as an amendment to an unrelated and essential bill being considered in Washington this week, only to see the attempt to get the bill in through the backdoor denied. The ticket industry regulations – strongly backed by Live Nation Entertainment and other industry insiders like the “Fix The Tix” coalition – were filed as amendment No. 2035 to a bill that reauthorizes and funds the Federal Aviation Administration.

The amendment was removed from the bill prior to its passage by the Senate, as it was not germane to the matter at hand. But it raises numerous questions regarding how and why it was put forth as an amendment in the first place. We have contacted the offices of Sen. Cornyn and bill co-author Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to ask how the package of ticket sale and resale regulations is associated with the funding of the FAA.

No response has been received as of Friday afternoon.

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Fans First is one of many bills that have been introduced at the federal level to address widespread consumer concerns with the state of the live event ticketing industry. It is the darling of the promoter and venue side, largely following the roadmap that Live Nation Entertainment put forward as its preferred regulatory climate. It would bring multiple new restrictions on competition in ticket resale rather than addressing any of the numerous concerns regarding competition and consumer choice at the primary box office.

FURTHER READING | Fans First Act Announced – Notably Lacking Fan Support

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Despite enormous push from the well-funded industry lobby, Fans First has not yet seen a hearing, which makes the legislation’s attachment to a fully unrelated (and essential) piece of legislation curious at best. This stands in contrast with the TICKET Act, introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). That bill went through a House hearing and mark-up, was amended following input from stakeholders, and passed out of committee unanimously on a bipartisan basis. It is scheduled for a full House vote next week.

FURTHER READING | Fix The Tix Has Priorities Matching Live Nation’s “Fair” Proposals

It bears mentioning that one of the bills that Live Nation Entertainment has lobbied for the most during this current Congress is not Fans First nor any of the other ticket-related legislation being debated. It is the Federal Aviation Administration’s reauthorization. David Dayen covered this as part of his reporting on the millions of dollars that Live Nation has spent on lobbying and throwing parties for Washington insiders in recent weeks and months.

Lobbying disclosures show that Live Nation has engaged in lobbying on other bills, like the TICKET Act, a more modest version that covers all-in pricing and speculative tickets and has passed committees in the House and Senate, as well as the BOSS and Swift Act, which is more comprehensive on transparency in all ticket pricing. (The bill Live Nation has lobbied on the most is the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, which suggests it either wants to insert something into or get something pulled out of that must-pass legislation, which will likely advance before a deadline next week.)

News of the trojan horse amendment from Sen. Cornyn was shared on social media late Thursday, and drew widespread criticism from consumers responding to the information as posted by More Perfect Union on X. That tweet has since been taken down.

“BREAKING: Ticketmaster/Live Nation is attempting to sneak legislation that would expand its monopoly power into a must-pass Senate bill,” the post read. “GOP Sen. John Cornyn yesterday filed to add the Ticketmaster-backed “Fans First Act” to a bill funding the Federal Aviation Administration.”

David Dayen himself responded to the post before it was taken down.

“Non-germane bill will almost certainly not get stuck into the FAA reauth; in fact Cornyn said that specifically about the cannabis banking/crypto bill,” wrote Dayen, sharing a link to his report. “But that this gambit comes right after Live Nation blanketed DC with lobbying is funny.”

TicketNews was told by a source close to the negotiation process on the Fans First Act that consumer protection advocates were promised by one senate sponsor’s office in December that there would be opportunity to amend and fix the bill’s flaws before it would be marked-up. This week’s effort to skip such a process entirely suggests otherwise.

The same source shared surprise that NIVA and its Fix the Tix campaign partners refuse to accept any dissenting opinion on the Fans First Act.

“It seems as if they work to silence such viewpoints and bully those dissenters merely for wanting a few more important fixes before consumer advocates will be willing to fully support the bill,” they told TicketNews on Friday afternoon.

“We’re down to a few issues that should be easy to resolve, so that we can send a bill to the president that improves the ticket buying experience without handing any player in the system inappropriate new market power that can be abused. But this requires NIVA and some of its friends to be willing to give a little more, compromise, and stop instinctively thinking it needs to attack everyone who disagrees.”

We will update this story if any comment is received from the lawmakers involved with the filing of the amendment or its original sponsorship.

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