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New York ticketing bill targets end to dynamic pricing

New York could make the use of dynamic pricing for tickets illegal under an omnibus ticketing bill submitted last week to shake up the industry’s practices.

The proposed legislation, which would impact Broadway ticketing practices, among others, was introduced by New York State Senator James Skoufis after launching an investigation into the leading ticketing sellers in US city.

The investigation, which heard testimony from the Broadway League, NFL’s Buffalo Bills and StubHub, among many others, was launched earlier this year to examine “potentially unfair and deceptive practices occurring in New York State’s primary and secondary ticket marketplaces for live events in order to identify any legislative and policy reforms that would help ensure sales are fair, equitable, transparent, and accessible for consumers and other stakeholders.”

In addition to targeting dynamic pricing, the bill also looks to clearly define what a ticket reseller is, as well as fine those that use bots to procure large amounts of tickets. It also seeks to provide specific guidelines for refunding of cancelled events – an issue that has become more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic and its raft of forced cancellations.

For primary ticket sellers, the proposed legislation would look to stop operators from charging an additional fee from fans that wish to resell through their secondary ticketing arm.

Primary sellers would also be required to limit service charges to 20 per cent of the face value of the tickets, while venues would need to tell the public how many tickets they are going to hold back, and have to limit it to 10 per cent.

With regards to dynamic pricing, which is closely related to venue holdbacks, the legislation would require venues to state the ticket price without the ability to raise the price if an event is selling well, or in high demand.

The new bill states that ticket sellers would be “prohibited from charging greater prices for tickets in similar sections and rows that are subsequently offered for sale to the general public after the original date they were placed on sale.”

In addition, the proposal will put an end to exclusive ticketing deals with venues, stating that “[a] contract between an operator of places of entertainment and a primary ticket vendor shall not provide for the primary ticket vendor to be the exclusive and sole primary ticket vendor for the operator of places of entertainment.”

The New York State Senate’s Investigations and Government Operations Committee is currently reviewing the bill. It will decide whether or not to send the proposed legislation to the Senate.

Image: Peter K Burian / Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International / Edited for size