NJ Speaker takes on Springsteen over ticket prices
Fans weren't the only ones taken aback by ticket prices for Bruce Springsteen's 2023 tour.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin vows to hold a legislative hearing into the ticket pricing practices of Ticketmaster and other vendors.
Due to what Ticketmaster calls "dynamic pricing," the cost of a single seat to see Springsteen quickly ballooned to over $5,000 when tickets went on sale.
"I am extremely troubled by the actions of Ticketmaster and other vendors, whose policies have left so many unsuspecting fans with outrageous ticket prices and fees, making attendance to certain Jersey concerts unaffordable for working folks," Coughlin said in a statement. "It’s highly unfair that only the wealthiest can afford access to a quality show, under these circumstances."
Coughlin said the hearing will determine whether any of New Jersey's existing consumer protection and price gouging laws were broken, and said, "If we need to update laws regarding tickets and scalping, then let's do so."
Obscene ticket pricing and scalping are, unfortunately, real issues. Working to make our state more affordable for all residents to enjoy, especially as inflation has left people struggling, it’s our responsibility to investigate current pricing practices and the Assembly will conduct a hearing to ensure fairness and affordability in the process - New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin
Springsteen's manager, Jon Landau, defended the ticket pricing to the New York Times, and claimed the "true average ticket price has been in the mid-$200 range."
Landau said he believed that was "a fair price to see someone universally regarded as among the very greatest artists of his generation."
Ticketmaster has long been criticized for the way it grants access to buy tickets and for the huge prices often charged for even mediocre seats.
The vendor has also been highly secretive about it's behind-the-scenes operations.
Coughlin did not say when his hearing would be scheduled, and how much authority the hearing committee would have.
The New Jersey Globe pointed out the speaker could grant the committee subpoena power. That would give the committee the ability to compel Ticketmaster to both provide records of transactions and operating policies currently hidden from the public, as well as force witness testimony.
Springsteen's first concert in New Jersey is scheduled at the Prudential Center in Newark on April 14, 2023. Presumably, Coughlin would schedule the hearing before that date.