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Ticketmaster undercover sting exposes scalper links

Ticketmaster has been accused of colluding with scalpers in an undercover expose broadcast on Canadian television.

Reporters from CBC News and the Toronto Star newspaper were able to capture footage that shows Ticketmaster employees claiming that its TradeDesk platform allows members to set up hundreds of accounts to purchase tickets in bulk. TradeDesk is an invite-only proprietary platform for reselling tickets.

While the company has publicly stood against scalpers and taken action against those using bots to secure masses of tickets to profiteer, a Ticketmaster employee at a trade event told the reporters that Ticketmaster’s ‘buyer abuse’ team will look the other way when such practices take place on its own platforms.

The unidentified rep said: “I have brokers that have literally a couple of hundred accounts. It’s not something that we look at or report.

“We’ve spent millions of dollars on this tool. The last thing we’d want to do is get brokers caught up to where they can’t sell inventory with us. We’re not trying to build a better mousetrap.”

At a closed event earlier this year the reporters filmed a Ticketmaster employee saying that 100 scalpers in North America are using TradeDesk to sell between a few thousand and several million tickets per year.

Ticketmaster did not dispute any of the footage, or refute claims made by the employees. However, it said that it is its clients, such as touring pop stars, who are responsible for pricing and availability.

In a statement included in the story, Ticketmaster said: “Ticketmaster is a technology platform that helps artists and teams connect with their fans.

“We do not own the tickets sold on our platform nor do we have any control over ticket pricing — either in the initial sale or the resale. In both cases, prices are set by the seller.

“We also do not determine when tickets are available for purchase or how they are allocated — those decisions are communicated to us by our client, the venue, after consultation with the event presenter.

“As long as there is an imbalance between supply and demand in live event tickets, there will inevitably be a secondary market.

“As the world’s leading ticketing platform, representing thousands of teams, artists and venues, we believe it is our job to offer a marketplace that provides a safe and fair place for fans to shop, buy and sell ticket sin both the primary and secondary markets.”

Ticketmaster recently announced it was closing resale sites Seatwave and GetMeIn.

Image: PublicDomainPictures