Sen. John Cornyn pushes for legislative reforms targeting predatory ticketing practices
DALLAS - Senator John Cornyn is proposing legislative reforms aimed at targeting predatory ticketing practices.
The move comes months after the Ticketmaster system crashed while thousands tried to buy tickets to the Taylor Swift concert. Many fans ended up with resale or fraudulent tickets.
The goal is to fix the current ticketing system for live performances and events. It targets bots, professional scalpers and predatory sellers on the secondary market overinflate ticket prices and fracture relationships between artists and sports teams and their fans.
American Airlines Center is a top destination for big-name performers, but not typically under the circumstances we saw Thursday.
"Not only have I lost a fan down the road. They also say, ‘I’m not buying your stupid t-shirts,’" said Texas country singer Max Stalling.
Musicians, venue owners, sports team execs and fans vented to Cornyn about predatory ticketing practices.
Dave Brown is the general manager of the AAC. He says the venue hosts approximately 70 major entertainment events a year.
He told Cornyn bots are a big problem: computer systems buying up huge chunks of tickets and reselling them for double and even triple over face value.
Kate Testone tried to buy tickets to the Taylor Swift concert in Arlington. She waited in the queue for seven hours and got nothing.
"I wasn’t able to get anything except resale tickets, and you’re looking at $450 for an obstructed view," she said.
It's a problem Sen. Cornyn says he's working to address with bipartisan support in Congress.
FILE - A Ticketmaster website is shown on a computer screen. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
"Obviously, we’re here because of concern from fans being punished literally by predatory secondary market ticket scalpers," he said.
The so-called Fans First Act would increase transparency, requiring ticket vendors and resellers to disclose taxes, fees and refund policies to consumers.
"All of this of course causes harm not only to the fans by the people trying to make the fan experience optimal," Cornyn said.
The act would also prohibit the use of bots to purchase tickets and strengthen artist and venue rights. It also prohibits sites from tricking consumers into believing they are buying directly from the artist or venue.
Though it is not clear how this process would stop mass computerized purchases, part of the enforcement will fall to the FTC and state attorney generals to impose civil penalties to bad actors, something venue operators say is much needed.
Cornyn says the next step is to sit down with Sen. Klobachur, a Democrat, and work out the bill's remaining differences. Once that's done, the senators will seek other bipartisan co-sponsors and then move this through Senate judiciary committee and ultimately across the floor in Senate.