As a part of the USMTG's mission to create a national alliance of minority ticketing and entertainment event business owners, we advocate for laws that will reduce the disenfranchisement of minority business owners in the entertainment industry.
To accomplish our goal, USMTG has outlined 11 main discriminatory practices. We suggest banning each and offer alternative practices that will create a more equal entertainment industry for minorities.
- Eliminate Paperless Ticketing Options Only (Transferability) – Paperless ticketing is the practice of selling tickets which are non-transferable. If a person buys a ticket and can’t use it, they would not even be able to give the ticket away, since they would only be allowed entry with the credit card and ID of the person who purchased the ticket. Currently, there is a new law (Extender Bill) which disallows the selling of paperless tickets only, but it sunsets annually unless renewed. We would like to see this law become permanent, or at least changed to a multi-year renewal (5 years).
- Disclosures/Transparency on Tickets Available – Oftentimes event tickets sell out, it seems almost instantaneously, and ticket brokers are often blamed for the quick sellouts. This past year the NY Attorney general released a report which stated that often 40-60% of the tickets are not available for the general public, they are held back for VIPs to purchase or for insiders to sell (promoters, artists, venues). We are pushing for a law which would force the ticket sellers to list the number of tickets available, and how many are available for the general public to purchase.
- Standardize Money Back Guarantees and Other Disclosures - Standardize disclosures, including face value, money back guarantees (including fees, etc.), and posting of ticket prices so that they are identical for both primary and secondary sellers.
- Fair & Equal Access to Internet Marketing – StubHub/Ebay and Google have colluded to drive up adverting costs for small businesses using white label/private label marketing tools. Investigate possible collusive activities between StubHub and Google, and ban Google and other online search engines from discriminating against small businesses
- Ban Floor Pricing – Many teams are now forcing sellers to set a minimum ticket price, disallowing sellers from lowering ticket prices. Floor pricing is directly linked to higher ticket prices. Ban setting the lower limits for ticket prices. http://nypost.com/2016/02/21/yankees-doing-more-and-more-to-price-out-the-common-fan/
- Reduce Licensing and Bonding Fees – Several states have exorbitant licensing and bonding fees. In the entertainment capital of the world, New York, licenses are $5,000 and bond fees are $25,000. These costs are major barriers to smaller businesses, and disincentives smaller ticket resellers from registering. We are advocating fees to be reduced to $100. This would greatly encourage the smaller ticket resellers to come out of the shadows and register. The effect to state budget would be negligible.
- Eliminate or Reduce Ticket Selling Buffer Zones – Currently, ticket resellers cannot operate within a certain distance to a venue, on the average from 500 to 1500 feet of venues. These distances are arbitrary, and especially unfair to tax paying and registered ticket sellers, especially when when the facility holding the event is a tax payer funded venue.
- Ban URL Restrictions – States and the federal government should ban state restrictions to URL usage. Several states have passed laws defining what language can be used in URLs used for advertising. Google has done the same. The laws at first glance appear to be pro-consumer, but after careful review of the language, it is clear there is an impediment to free market and consumer choice. We believe these laws potentially violate the Federal Copyright Act and harms consumers by limiting choice. It is common practice for all retailers, not just ticket sellers and resellers to advertise the event or venue in the display URL of PPC ads or in the 2nd and 3rd level domain of their URL. This bill effectively prohibits this type of online advertising. Prevented from accurately marketing and describing the tickets being sold, these bills place smaller ticketing businesses at a huge disadvantage to their larger competitors.
- Exclusive ticketing contracts - Restrict public funded or 501c3 venues and organizations from creating exclusive ticket pacts with ticker sellers and resellers. Public funded organizations should be open to all brokers to participate with. More competition breeds lower prices for consumers.
- 3rd Party Information sharing – Sellers must have information sharing agreements with resellers, marketplaces and exchanges before sellers share that information with 3rd parties (including the venue, artists, teams, leagues, etc.).
- Ban Genre restrictions/ inequity – Ban venues from imposing restrictions on ticket distribution on certain genres and not others.
USMTG believes that this list of legislation will not only offer more opportunities to minorities in the entertainment industry, but also support our success.