The NY City Council is getting into the ticket turf fight.

A blog reader and POG who I also refer to as “the other Ken” tipped me off to a City Council meeting that happened on Friday to discuss, “the unavailability of tickets for entertainment venues for people in New York.”

The Council’s concern is when a much-in-demand event like Book of Mormon, Hugh Jackman, Barry Manilow at Radio City (ok, maybe I’m the only one that would pay broker prices for ol’ Barry eyes), it usually sells out instantly . . . and then, of course, the tickets pop up at the StubHubs, as well as all the online secondary market sellers on the world wide interweb.  And there are a lot of them . . . just look at this google search result for Book of Mormon tickets.

As you can read in this article-ette about the meeting, the Council is considering a bill “to force large venues to make 15 percent of total tickets available at a physical box office and limit sales to four tickets per person per day.”

And that would be like punishing a kid who didn’t eat his lunch because a bully stole it from him.

This isn’t the fault of the consumer who wants to buy six tickets for his family.  This isn’t the fault of the venue owners or Producers (although we could release some of our house seats, as I wrote about here).   This is the fault of the de-regulated secondary market, the bigger boys with the even bigger ad-words budgets, and the ease by which those guys can create businesses and resell purchased tickets.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an enemy of the secondary market.  I’m a fan of what (the good ones) have done.  They offer a service to a select clientele, and they’re able to get more than top dollar for providing that service (if only we could do that, there wouldn’t be a need for them).  But that internet and the laws have made access to that business so easy, that anyone with a credit card and a website can be a “ticket broker” and start buying and selling and pi$$ing off customers.

So Council members, be careful who you punish when coming up with a response to this crisis.  Don’t pull a Spitzer, who got so upset with facility fees that he forced a resolution that did nothing to help the consumer, and ended up just penalizing the Producer, while allowing the venue owners to do as they wished.  And they’ve all had to practically build another theater to house all the cast they’ve made from facility fees over the last decade (you can read about my Spitzer-anger here).

And if you want an opinion on this from a Producer before you craft your bill, you can contact me here.


(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



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  • Eric Grunin says:

    The City Council proposal isn’t aimed at Broadway, where the problem is addressed by a combination of premium pricing (to keep the scalpers from skimming the cream) and lotteries (to protect young audiences–tomorrow’s cream–from the scalpers).
    The proposal won’t hurt shows that will sell out in any case, but it will hurt the others. What if it were an opt-in program, with some promotional incentive for producers to sign on?
    As for your Spitzer post: the way you describe it, the ‘facilities fee’ was a way to dishonestly gouge an extra buck from the public. (“Dishonest” because the posted price was a lie.) The theaters then *chose* to gouge the Producers instead. But they didn’t have to do it at all.

  • Amyleigh1982 says:

    Maybe I misread, but doesn’t the key statement seem to be ‘4 per person’ not Per Group. One would think that another person in said group could purchase additional tickets. If it keeps a few more tickets out of the hands of scalpers and guarantees that at least someone has a chance of day-of tickets for a prestigious show, um, yay?

  • Camilla Petsche says:

    Wow! Ken would offering more matinee tickets help? It would certainly allow for more people to be hired as well.

  • Lewis Marlowe says:

    Or, the secondary market could be made illegal. Producers have created Premium Tickets to deal with the wealthy who want access to the best seats. And some shows are doing dynamic pricing as well.
    There should be a law. Truly. My business partner goes to concerts at MSG, RCMH, and other venues. He will try to get online the moment tickets go onsale, never can get through, and within 30 minutes all tickets are gone. Then 100’s show up on the secondary market.
    Sometimes capitalism is just wrong. Sorry. It is.

  • This is just like the paperless ticketing bill that made non-transferable paperless tickets illegal. While that bill protects consumers, it places a lot of stress on theater owners and producers. However, this new bill doesn’t even protect consumers. A scalper could simply send additional bodies to purchase tickets. This would be a huge annoyance to me, since I purchase tickets for my family of five. New York should focus efforts on the online scalpers and the seedy men in Times Square, not the box office.

  • Daisy Cody says:

    Daisy Cody

    Great post.Thanks Again. Want more.

  • Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.

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