Here’s how NJ wants to improve your ticket-buying experience
⚫ NJ wants you to know the full ticket price at the start
⚫ Ticketmaster calls for the end to so-called speculative ticket sales
⚫ Venues and ticket sellers worry that one of NJ's proposals would backfire
As pop star Taylor Swift kicks off the U.S. leg of her Eras worldwide tour — a ticket that countless New Jerseyans were shut out from in the fall — New Jersey lawmakers are considering new rules to improve the ticket-buying process for all major events in the future.
An Assembly panel on Monday heard testimony from ticket sellers and venues on a series of bills that work to improve transparency for buyers who today are often one-upped by software and professionals looking to grab as many tickets as possible to the hottest shows.
"The tools are in place to go after the bad actors. The question really is, how do we strongly enforce the provisions that exist today?" Laura Dooley, head of government relations for StubHub, told the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.
Should ticket sites reveal inventory info?
Dooley offered support for a few of New Jersey's current legislative proposals, including one that would force ticket sellers to display certain information about inventory - such as how many tickets were made available to a show, and how many have been sold.
But, according to Ron VanDeVeen, president of Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, that move may actually offer too much transparency.
"I believe this provision will provide a roadmap for ticket brokers by allowing them to determine how many people they need to hire to buy as many tickets as possible," VanDeVeen said.
Ticketmaster on board with NJ ideas
The bills in question were up for discussion only on Monday. One measure that received broad support would force ticket sellers to show consumers the full price of a ticket at the start of the process, instead of tacking on a series of fees right before checkout.
"The all-in price is the real price of admission, and that ought to be the first thing a fan sees," said Marla Ostroff, managing director of North America for Ticketmaster.
Despite federal law barring bad practice, industrial scalpers continue to skirt the law by using bots and cyberattacks to try to unfairly grab tickets, Ostroff said.
"We are doing everything we can to fight the people who attack our on-sales and steal tickets meant for real fans, but those groups are also rapidly developing technology to counter our efforts," she said.
The public on-sale for Taylor Swift's latest tour was cancelled in November after bots managed to crash a "Verified Fan" presale.
During her testimony, Ostroff pushed for legislation that would crack down on the offering of tickets that don't even exist yet. Regulary, secondary ticketing sites offer seats to shows the day a new tour is announced, long before any on-sale dates, she said.
Under a different measure floated by New Jersey lawmakers, ticket brokers would have to clearly provide notice to site visitors that their website is for the secondary sale of tickets, and that the price of a ticket offered for sale may exceed the face value of tickets that may still be available for primary sale.
Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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