Saturday night, the number one seed Philadelphia Eagles, will take on the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. Tickets on reseller sites start at around $400, plus fees, as of Monday night.
Last week, the website Philadelphia Sports Nation Tweeted a seating chart of the Linc showing which seats are up for resale. The Tweet generated a lot of anger directed toward people suspected of buying season tickets only so they could resell them for a profit. Many called for the Eagles not to renew season ticket holders who sell their tickets.
Sports teams and leagues tell fans how much they dislike the insane prices fans are paying for tickets. Musicians say the same about their concert tickets. Teams could help fight high resale prices, but doing so would require dramatic action.
Most sports teams sell season tickets through licensing rights, such as a “personal seat license” or a “stadium builder license.” Before fans can buy actual tickets, they must purchase a license that gives them the “right” to do so. Likewise, most teams have clauses that allow them to revoke or terminate the agreements for any reason.
Although teams have the right to deny renewing season tickets to anybody they want to, for virtually any reason, doing so can be a thorny issue.
Occasionally, a team denies a fan’s season ticket renewal. When they do, the matter can become litigious. That’s one reason teams don’t do it very often. When they do, for the most part, the courts have sided with the teams and upheld the view that tickets are revocable licenses.
The other reason that teams are reluctant to revoke season ticket privileges to those reselling on the secondary market is that the leagues have partnerships with official resellers.
On the one hand, teams dislike inflated resale prices. On the other hand, people resell tickets at a handsome profit on the leagues’ official websites. If that smacks of hypocrisy, the teams will point out that at least official resellers help protect against counterfeiting and fraud.
One organization that has taken a stand against teams booting season ticket holders for reselling their tickets is the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB), which calls it an “unfair business practice.” They believe teams should be happy that somebody bought season tickets, and the objective should be to ensure a tushy in the seat for the game.
I’m with them that far, but in a web post, NATB Executive Director Gary Adler says the teams’ message about “price integrity” is “tired” because those seats have already been “paid for – full asking price.” Mr. Adler probably hasn’t paid three, four, or more times face value to see his favorite team.
The NATB argument is insincere and unpersuasive. Tickets for events have become a “land grab,” and “insider trading” has caused prices to skyrocket. Speculators are grabbing tickets and making large profits. Fans are getting shut out or paying through the nose on the secondary market that Alder represents.
Although I haven’t researched specific cases, I doubt teams have offloaded season ticket holders who resell a game or two here or there, even if it’s a playoff game. I’m just speculating, but it’s more likely that before a team decides not to renew season tickets, there has to be a long and consistent pattern of reselling tickets.
Reselling tickets above their face value is known as “scalping.” The laws on reselling tickets vary from state to state.
Individual states could impose penalties on people who resale tickets over face value. Teams could rescind tickets or season ticket licenses.
Local municipalities set the rules in four states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, and Virginia).
There are sixteen more states with restrictions on tickets above face value — including Pennsylvania.
Scalpers have probably existed since the Roman Coliseum opened. There’s no deterrent to reselling tickets. Reselling them through an official reseller is financially rewarding.
Penalties for reselling tickets over face value ranging from fines to losing season ticket privileges, might help — but aren’t likely to happen.
If selling tickets above face value at least incurred a penalty, it might reduce the occurrences.
In this make-believe world, the official site for reselling tickets for those who couldn’t attend a game would still exist. The difference is sellers could only price their tickets at face value. The broker would earn a modest fee for the transaction. Somebody who couldn’t attend a specific event could recover the cost of their ticket(s) while simultaneously keeping butts in the seats.
Of course, fans obtaining tickets at fair prices, instead of getting gouged by people reselling tickets, happens only in the make-believe world. In the NFL and all the leagues, most fans will have to pay two, three, four, or more times the face value of tickets on official reseller sites.
What did you pay for your Eagles playoff tickets?
Andy Bloom is president of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He has programmed legendary stations including WIP, WPHT and WYSP/Philadelphia, KLSX, Los Angeles and WCCO Minneapolis. He was Vice President Programming for Emmis International, Greater Media Inc. and Coleman Research. Andy also served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio). He can be reached by email at email@example.com or you can follow him on Twitter @AndyBloomCom.
One thought on “Andy Bloom: You paid how much for Eagles playoff tickets?”
How about getting gouged by the team and ticketmaster? When tickets officially hit the market for the public on the 10th, I waited in a queue for an hour and when I finally got my shot, it took me 50 unsuccessful attempts to land tickets in my shopping cart. I finally got something and I paid $675 ($100 fees included; $575 face value) PER TICKET that was “Verified by the Eagles” in section M14. Right now on Ticketmaster, there is at least 20 tickets in the row behind me that are “verified resale” tickets going for $435 per ticket (fees included!). That’s a $240 per ticket difference. There’s gotta be at least 30 tickets available in that section total that would’ve cost me $500 less for a pair. It wasn’t the scalpers cleaning up on these tickets. No doubt any fan that bought tickets on the official public sale held by the team and ticketmaster severely overpaid.