Ticket buyers ought to have the right to resell

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Restrictions or outright bans on reselling tickets for live sports and entertainment events have been in place for years in many cities, and particularly around certain venues.

The stated purpose has been to protect fans from ticket scalpers who buy up tickets and resell them, usually at higher prices, although sometimes below the printed value if that's what the market dictates.

But state Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, believes such rules do more harm to the ticket holders who are not scalpers and who want to sell or give their tickets to someone else.

He has introduced a bill that would prevent original sellers or venues from putting restrictions on the resale of tickets.

Specifically, HB3041 would prohibit the primary seller from printing conditions and terms on the ticket and setting maximum and minimum prices for any resale. It also would not allow venues, sports teams and promoters to issue only nontransferable electronic tickets, which must be claimed at the venue by presenting an ID or the credit card used to buy them.

The legislation makes exceptions for tickets sold to events whose proceeds "are intended solely to benefit charity" and those issued free to students, faculty, staff, alumni, booster club members or substantial financial contributors at higher education institutions.

Oliveira's logic is simple: "When I had a ticket, I thought I owned it," he said. And if he owns it, he thinks he ought to be able to do with it as he pleases.

That makes sense.

But several professional sports teams and popular venues, including the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Cowboys and American Airlines Center, are on record opposing the bill.

They argue that the unintended consequences of the legislation would aid scalpers and therefore would be bad for the average fan.

An Arlington ordinance bans "solicitation and distribution" on many streets near Rangers Ballpark and Cowboys Stadium and specifically prohibits a person from reselling "a ticket or other admission license to an event, unless the person is within a structure for which a certificate of occupancy has been used."

Exceptions to that are if: 1) the sale takes place in the seller's or buyer's residence; 2) the ticket is for the buyer's personal use; and 3) the price is no greater than the issued cost of the ticket.

That, too, makes sense.

A spokesman for Oliveira's office told the Star-Telegram Editorial Board on Tuesday that the legislation would not overrule or repeal any city ordinance. So the Arlington ordinance would remain in effect even if the bill passes.

Both sides in this debate say they are trying to protect fans, although clearly some of the big players in the sports and entertainment industry want to be in control of their events, their venues and their ticket prices. That is understandable.

But Oliveira's property-rights issue is straightforward and clear. An individual who buys a ticket for an event should have the right to sell it to someone else.

If venues, sports teams, performers or show producers and promoters want to fight organized ticket scalping and exercise control over their events, that's fine. But they must find ways to do so that do not interfere with the basic property rights of ticket buyers.

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?