Come the end of August, live-event ticket sellers and purchasers in the state of New York will be operating under a new set of rules, thanks to legislation signed into law earlier this summer that at least one industry expert—TicketIQ’s Jesse Lawrence—has called “the most impactful regulation of the ticket market over the last 25 years.”
The statute’s key provisions are:
• Upfront disclosure of the total cost of a ticket “clearly and conspicuously,” eliminating the practice of “drip pricing”—hiding fees until late in the online checkout process. In addition, online resale marketplaces must share the original face value of the ticket.
• Expanded penalties for the use of scalper bots and ticket purchasing software.
• A ban on delivery fees for tickets that are sent electronically or that buyers must print themselves.
• Prohibiting the resale of a ticket that was initially offered to the public at no charge.
Although major ticket sellers lobbied against the legislation, many, including Ticketmaster, have gone on record saying they are not opposed to the all-in pricing provision as long as it is applied to everyone in the business. Recall that StubHub tried to go the all-in route some years ago, hoping to win over consumers and expecting to compel the competition to join them—an effort that ultimately failed.
Whether or not the new law will impact ticket prices or sales volume remains to be seen. As Lawrence pointed out in his recent column for Sportico, previous studies indicate all-in pricing reduces demand, conversion rate and average transaction price.
But regardless of its ultimate market impact, New York’s statute—currently unique in the U.S.—is almost certain to be a model copied by other states given its popularity among ticket buyers. (The provinces of Ontario and British Columbia enacted similar legislation in 2018 and last month, respectively.)
Noting that the New York law passed unanimously in both the Assembly and the Senate, politicians in other state legislatures are sure to see such pro-consumer bills as an effortless way to curry favor with voters. It’s also possible that Congress could take a similar view and explore federal legislation, having already held hearings on online ticket selling in 2020.