New Jersey governor Phil Murphy is being urged not to sign a bill that would scrap legislation capping ticket holdbacks to five per cent.
Venue owners in the state have heavily endorsed the bill, which was reportedly quietly fast-tracked through legislature without any public hearings on the matter.
Now, a group of US secondary ticketing advocates including Scot X. Esdaile of US Minority Ticketing Group (USMTG), Tom Patania of NJ Ticket Brokers, Gary Adler of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) and Darnell Goldson of TicketNetwork have joined forces to urge Murphy to review the proposed changes.
A letter from the group to Murphy is calling for him to veto the bill as it reportedly is intended to benefit the entertainment industry giants, rather than the consumers of New Jersey.
Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of the NJ Citizen Action advocacy group said she admits some of the parts of the bill are positive, but said: “Why, at the same time, it’s removed some really important consumer protections, like the 5 per cent,” according to Ticket News.
She also highlighted the need for public hearings: “These were all things we would have talked about if we had the opportunity go to a hearing and testify.”
In addition, the letter points to research by the New York Attorney General, which found more than 50 per cent of tickets are commonly held back from big concerts and shows. A smaller pool of available tickets leads to soaring ticket prices and frustrated fans.
In 2009, New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen held back some 2,262 tickets, or 12 per cent, from public sale. Sixty per cent of the 10 best sections in the venue were holdbacks, with only 108 of the seats closest to the stage available to the public.
“The bill appears to be pro-consumer, but after careful review of the language, it is clear there are impediments to free market and consumer choice,” the letter reads. “This legislation would harm consumers and New Jersey businesses, specifically small businesses.”