Friday, November 24, 2006

Ticketmaster Sells $500 New England Patriots Tickets, Yet Not Being Sued

Yep. That's right. The New England Patriots are suing StubHub, which isn't a ticket brokerage but an exchange and does have below face tickets posted for many events, for allowing the sale of high priced tickets for up to and over $500.

Well, Ticketmaster has tickets for the Chicago Bears' visit to New England for $500, but you want to know why the New England Patriots aren't suing them?

Because they benefit from it. Check out this link to the proof with a click on this sentence.

This lawsuit should be thrown out of court. Ticketmaster's probably behind the scenes pulling the chains of unknowning Boston fans who want lower ticket prices, yet don't know what to do.

The simple fact is that Ticketmaster's own online system is getting the sales tar beaten out of it by StubHub's and Ticketmaster can't stand it. Ticketmaster wants to be the only ticket brokerage and seeing StubHub, which is not a brokerage but a simple market exchange online, as a threat to its survival.

Folks, don't be fooled by the Patriots or Ticketmaster in this lawsuit, they're not trying to do the fans a favor at all. At least that's my reasoned and experienced view.

New England Patriots Sue StubHub -'s Latest Report may have rolled up it's sleaves -- and it does this well -- but it totally misdiagosed the entire matter of the New England Patriots' lawsuit against StubHub. First of all, and this shows just how dumb the lawsuit is, StubHub can't "induce" a season ticket holder to scalp. In no ad material does StubHub encourage any ticket poster to do this. So if the Pat's lawsuit focuses on this idea, it's wrongheaded.

Second, claims that 30 tickets per game sold at StubHub's sites are fake -- but that's not StubHub's fault as many ticket brokers are guilty of selling fraudulent tickets and try to use StubHub to do this; Stubhub's the only company that actually does have a money-back guarantee to protect this. Ticketmaster has no such program, which brings me to Ticketmaster.

Ticketmaster is a true ticket brokerage, period. They've even told high-priced secondary ticket market tickets to Presidential inuagurations. But why isn't Ticketmaster, which sells nothing but at or over face value tickets, being sued? Because it has a contractual relationship with the New England Patriots. For example, Ticketmaster has tickets for the upcoming Patriots / Bears game for up to $500, far in access of the face value for the ticket. Why isn't Ticketmaster the focus of the lawsuit? Well, because the site where the tickets are sold belongs to Ticketmaster and the New England Patriots.

Check it out for yourself. If one know's what to look for, what appeared to be a lawsuit based on the idea of stopping ticket scalping, turns out to be a tool to clear the competition for Ticketmaster, leaving them to jack up prices.




We've rolled up our sleeves and tracked down some more information regarding the lawsuit filed on Tuesday by the New England Patriots against online ticket scalping company StubHub.

Okay, actually the stuff kind of fell into our laps but, hey, we take what we can get.

The action, as we understand it, isn't an effort by the team to attack the near-universal and long-standing practice of people selling tickets to sporting events for value greater than the price printed on the thing. Whether it's a guy with a computer or a laminated piece of cardboard with "I NEED TICKETS" in block letters, someone always will be looking to make a buck (or a few hundred) via the re-selling of seats.

The Patriots are focusing on a more specific dynamic -- the focused efforts of StubHub to induce season-ticket holders to engage in activities that violate their individual agreements with the franchise.

Put simply, the folks who have secured the ability to buy tickets to all Patriots home games agree not to re-sell the tickets at an increased price. For individuals who can't use their tickets to a given game, the team maintains a waiting list of folks who can acquire the tickets at face value, plus a relatively small service charge from Ticketmaster.

StubHub, we're told, was placed on notice of these contractual rights and responsibilities, yet has continued to induce season ticket holders to breach their agreements via specific advertisements in publications like the Boston Globe, which ads contain messages like "Are you a Patriots season-ticket holder who can't sell your tickets?"

The prevalence of the advertising efforts caused the organization to become concerned that the franchise is condoning the practice. The other problem is that some of the tickets bought and sold through StubHub are counterfeit. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, roughly 30 tickets per game purchased via StubHub end up being phony. And although StubHub eventually refunds the money, the consumers typically must jump through multiple hoops to make it happen.

Thus, one of the claims in the lawsuit is that StubHub has tortiously interfered with the team's relationship with its season-ticket holders, and the primary goal is to get the company to stop the practice. Any damages recovered will go to the Patriots Charitable Foundation, not to the team itself.

With all that said, the decision of the Patriots to pursue the action against StubHub creates a real risk that the media will begin to scrutinize more carefully the involvement of teams in the scalping of tickets -- including the widespread manner in which some teams turn profits on the sale of Super Bowl seats. But it appears that StubHub backed the Patriots into a corner on this one, and it should prompt any NFL team that maintains a relationship with StubHub to re-examine the wisdom of dealing with a company that might have provoked a course of action that, depending on how the dominoes fall, could eventually make it harder to realize those late January windfalls.