Ticket resales in NJ would be preserved under approved bill
TRENTON – People have long sold event tickets they can no longer use or given them as gifts – and, sometimes, endured big markups from brokers who swept up seats as they went on sale.
The Legislature is now considering whether to pass a law ensuring those resales can continue by requiring a transferability option to be offered on all ticket sales in New Jersey. A bill advanced through Senate and Assembly committees Monday, though with skeptical notes from some lawmakers.
Ryan Fitts, vice president and deputy general counsel for the online ticket marketplace Vivid Seats, said ticket transfers are “under assault,” as tickets are often electronic and technology can make them non-transferable.
“As in the case of most property, a ticket belongs to the fan who holds it,” Fitts said. “And that fan should be able to transfer the ticket on a platform of her choice if she cannot use the ticket herself. After all, they’re her tickets.”
Laura Dooley, head of corporate communications and global government relations for StubHub, said consumers should decide whether to use or sell a ticket they buy. Venues aren’t necessarily blocking resales – they just want it done on their platform, where they’d collect the fees.
“So, the debate today is not largely is resale or transfer of tickets good or bad. It’s: Who’s in control?” Dooley said.
“It should be consumers who decide which marketplace they resell their ticket on – not the team, not the venue, not Ticketmaster,” said John Breyault, vice president for public policy, telecommunications and fraud for the National Consumers League.
Six states have laws requiring that tickets have a transfer option, including New York and Connecticut.
But Ron VanDeVeen, president and chief executive officer of MetLife Stadium, said that the more restrictions there are, the more likely it is that bands and sporting events will skip New Jersey. He said FIFA might require non-transferable tickets as a condition of hosting the 2026 World Cup.
“We look at it as artists and teams are brands,” VanDeVeen said. “They have their relationship with their fans, and they determine how they sell their tickets right now.”
Lobbyist Matt Halpin of Public Strategies Impact said that for all the talk about the proposed law being pro-consumer, the most common reason venues and artists issue non-transferable tickets is to offer low-priced tickets to fans.
“It becomes attractive for other people to see a low-cost ticket and want to resell it and make money off of it, without having any interest in seeing the show at all,” Halpin said.
The bill was amended to exempt tickets for shows at venues attached to a hotel – meaning, essentially, Atlantic City casinos. That puzzled some lawmakers and worried Curt Voss, senior vice president of BB&T Pavilion, the concert venue on the Camden waterfront.
“This is artist-driven,” Voss said. “If artists decide to go to Philadelphia because they have the freedom to do what they want or now Atlantic City – Camden, it’s going to hurt Camden.”
Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at email@example.com.