Live & Touring

Ticket scalpers fund major groups claiming to serve fans

The Ticket Buyer Bill of Rights Coalition is a collective of “consumer advocacy groups” that claims to “fight for your rights as a fan.” But in truth, it’s made up of organizations that receive funding from major ticket resellers like StubHub and Vivid Seats.

A well-sourced expose by Marc Hogan of Pitchfork dug into the public records for the most visible groups claiming to represent fans and found funding that calls into question whose side they are really on.

Hogan discovered that all five members of the Ticket Buyer Bill of Rights Coalition – the Consumer Federation of America, Fan Freedom, National Consumers League, Protect Ticket Rights, and Sports Fans Coalition – had received financial support from the scalping business.

  • National Consumers League funders include StubHub and Vivid Seats
  • Fan Freedom Project funders include StubHub
  • Protect Ticket Rights funders include ticket reseller trade group the National Association of Ticket Brokers
  • Sports Fans Coalition funders include StubHub
  • Consumer Federation of America funders include the aforementioned Protect Ticket Rights and Fan Freedom Project

Fans are fed up with a broken ticket-buying process that includes outrageous and often hidden fees, huge resale markups, and “speculative tickets” that sometimes offer seats for shows before they are even announced. But unsurprisingly, the legislation these so-called consumer groups proposed doesn’t address any of these problems.

That’s largely because the companies funding these consumer lobbies earn billions of dollars a year reselling tickets using deceptive SEO practices, confusing paid advertising, ghost tickets, and more.

“We need a fix that balances the needs of artists and actual fans, not Ticketmaster or ticket brokers,” wrote Hogan.

Bruce Houghton is the Founder and Editor of Hypebot, a Senior Advisor at Bandsintown, President of the Skyline Artists Agency, and a Berklee College Of Music professor.

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