New Senate Bill Would Require Ticket Vendors to Show All Ticket Fees Upfront
A new bill was introduced by the U.S. Senate yesterday (April 26) that would require event ticketing vendors to provide a breakdown of ticket costs, including the hidden fees that are generally tacked on when customers go to checkout, for sports, concerts and other live events.
Several large-scale ticketing fiascos over the last few months have brought many issues within the live event industry to light. Over the fall, Ticketmaster's servers crashed during a presale for Taylor Swift's Eras tour, and many fans were left unable to get tickets. Ticket resale vendors, such as Stubhub, had tickets priced as high as $20,000 by the time the sale had ended.
As a result, the Senate conducted an antitrust hearing on Live Nation and Ticketmaster in early 2023 to highlight the lack of competition within the live music and ticketing industry.
When The Cure announced their first North American tour since 2016 earlier this year, the band provided a statement saying that they did not participate in Ticketmaster's Dynamic Pricing system, assuring that they wanted to keep the ticket prices low for fans. They also made it so that tickets wouldn't be transferrable, in order to ensure that they didn't end up on resale sites.
Still, when fans purchased tickets during the band's presale, they were shocked to see that for some venues, the total fees cost more than the face value of the tickets themselves. Frontman Robert Smith contacted Ticketmaster directly to try and uncover the reasoning for the high fees, and the company, in turn, issued a partial refund to fans who'd purchased them.
The new bill, called the Transparency in Charges for Key Events Ticketing (TICKET) Act, is co-sponsored by Washington state Senator and U.S. Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, and Texas state Senator and raking committee member Ted Cruz. The committee noted that ticket fees can make up anywhere from 21 percent to 57 percent of the total cost of the ticket, according to CNBC.
The TICKET Act aims to allow for competition within the ticketing industry "by delivering ticket fee and speculative ticket transparency for the benefit of all consumers." Therefore, if the bill is passed, Live Nation and other ticketing vendors will have to reveal the entire cost of the ticket upfront, including all of the fees, so that fans know what the total cost will be before checking out.
READ MORE: Ticketmaster to Salvage Reputation by Educating Customers, Lawmakers About Fees
“The price they say should be the price you pay. This bill is one part of comprehensive legislation I plan to introduce to rein in deceptive junk fees driving up costs for consumers,” Cantwell asserted in a statement.
“We appreciate the good work of Senators Cantwell and Cruz,” Live Nation acknowledged in a statement [via Ultimate Classic Rock]. “This bill is a good starting point – we support all-in pricing – but in order to protect fans and artists more can and should be done, including ensuring artists can determine how their tickets can be resold, banning speculative tickets and deceptive websites."