Monday 24 July 2017

Ticketmaster hits out at proposed touting legislation and criticises 'media frenzy'

Adam Clayton (left) and The Edge from U2 playing at Croke Park in Dublin in 2008 Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Adam Clayton (left) and The Edge from U2 playing at Croke Park in Dublin in 2008 Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Sasha Brady

Ticketmaster has objected to the possible legislation to govern the sale of tickets on the secondary market.

Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan has put forward a Bill that would see those who resell tickets at inflated prices face fines of up to €5000 if they are found to be in breach of the 10 percent profit limit.

Aiken Promotions and the GAA have supported the Bill, which the Government has said it will not oppose, but Ticketmaster and Seatwave have criticised the proposed legislation.

This follows the controversy around the number of high-profile concerts taking place in Ireland this year that have sold out in record time, before appearing on secondary ticketing websites for inflated prices.

However, in a submission sent to the Government as part of a public consultation, Ticketmaster said that the issue around ticket resales has been exaggerated by the Irish media.

In its statement, it said there's "no evidence to support the view that any of our clients are placing tickets directly onto the resale market.

Tickets for Ed Sheeran's 3Arena gig sold out in record time. Photo: Damien Eagers
Tickets for Ed Sheeran's 3Arena gig sold out in record time. Photo: Damien Eagers

"Our data shows that less than one percent of the tickets that Ticketmaster Ireland sells on behalf of its clients are subsequently resold - a vastly different story to what is told in the Irish press."

It also argued that "the media frenzy around ticket resale has only served to confuse the public and sensationalise the issue."

Seatwave, a secondary ticketing website that charges sellers a 10 percent commission, also outlined its apprehension about the Bill.

The company which is owned by Ticketmaster, argued that the proposed legislation will push the problem onto the black market.

The submission stated: "In Ireland, the ticket resale market used to take place underground or offshore - out of reach of any consumer protection.

"There is often rhetoric in the media that the resale market is broken, but this is not the case. The resale market is an example of an efficient market with ticket prices clearing at their market level.

"Event organisers can look to the resale market to give them an indication of how they should be pricing their tickets."

The Bill will be debated this Thursday.

A similar Bill was introduced in January by Fine Gael TD Noel Rock but a glitch in his total ban on online ticket resales would have penalised ordinary people and blocked them from selling tickets to family and friends through social media if they were unable to attend the event.

Meanwhile, the issue around ticket touting continues to leave many Irish music fans disappointed.

It took just minutes for the majority of tickets for U2's Croke Park gig in July to be snapped up when they went on sale in January and it wasn't long before they appeared for sale on secondary sites in excess of €2,000.

It was a similar story for sold-out concerts and festivals, including Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder, Electric Picnic and more.

A spokesperson for Ticketmaster declined to comment and said the "submission speaks for itself".

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