Industry News

Ticketmaster and Seatwave up in arms at proposed bill to criminalise ticket price hikes

Ticketmaster Ireland and its secondary market platform Seatwave subsidiary have lashed out at proposed legislation in the country that would make it illegal to hike ticket prices more than 10 per cent on resale sites.

Ticketmaster, among the 24 interested parties that made submissions to the Irish government’s public consultation, stated in its paper to the Department of Jobs and Department of Sport that “the media frenzy around ticket resale has only served to confuse the public and sensationalise the issue.” The consultation is linked to the new Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill 2017.

Ticketmaster also stated: “Our data shows that less than one per cent 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.”

Seatwave, a platform that allows fans to purchase official tickets to sold-out concerts and owned by Ticketmaster, charges a 10 per cent “success fee” on sales, while also allowing sellers to set their own prices.

Ticketmaster was forced to defend itself and its subsidiary earlier this year when U2 (pictured) tickets sold out within minutes, but fans complained they were soon being resold for thousands of euros on Seatwave.

Seatwave said in its submission to the Irish government that it believes the introduction of legislation to regulate the ticket resale market “will be both ineffective and will, in fact, be detrimental to Irish fans.”

It added: “In Ireland, the ticket resale market used to take place underground or offshore – out of reach of any consumer protection.”

Aiken Promotions, promoters of large-scale concerts, is in favour of criminalising third-party resale, with founder Peter Aiken stating that it would “give the public the opportunity to purchase a ticket on a fair and equal footing for all.”

Several sporting bodies also provided input on the legislation, with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and the Gaelic Athletics Association (GAA) in favour of the Bill, while the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) stated in its submission that it would “welcome the opportunity to enter into a further comprehensive consultation process.”

The FAI said in its submission that legislation would be helpful “in order to combat the sale of tickets by persons who purchase tickets with no intention of ever attending the event but who resell the tickets at a significant profit.”

The Bill, put forward by Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan, is likely to be discussed at tomorrow’s (Thursday) parliamentary party meeting.

Last year, Noel Rock, a Fine Gael TD, put forward a private members’ bill that would stop fans from being “routinely gouged by people who seek to take advantage and make a profit for themselves.”

Rock called the submissions to the consultation process on possible legislation the “most blatantly alarmist things I’ve ever seen” and said the Government must proceed with legislation, according to the Irish Times newspaper. 

Earlier this year, he again called for new ticketing laws after exposing touts selling tickets for the Ireland v England Six Nations game for more than 10 times the market value in an undercover sting.