Senate introduces Fans First Act to improve ticket buying process
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators recently introduced the Fans First Act to address flaws in the ticket-buying process for live events.
Almost a year after the U.S. Senate held a high-profile hearing on the concert ticketing industry, a group of high-profile senators has unveiled the Fans First Act that promises to make significant changes to the current system. The bill seeks to address three main issues: price transparency, consumer protection, and individuals trying to sell tickets at extremely high prices. The bill’s sponsors are Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and John Cornyn Texas, along with Republican Senators Marsha Blackburn and Roger Wicker and Democrats Ben Ray Luján and Peter Welch.
In late 2022, consumer dissatisfaction with the ticketing industry, especially Ticketmaster, peaked during the overwhelming demand for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. Swift fans sued Ticketmaster, accusing the company of anticompetitive practices and allowing scalpers to purchase tickets. The Senate Judiciary Committee conducted a hearing to scrutinize Ticketmaster’s significant influence in the industry.
The proposed act mandates that all ticket sellers and resellers disclose the complete cost of a ticket, encompassing fees. Additionally, it requires a detailed breakdown of the ticket price, as well as complements existing initiatives aimed at improving live event ticketing, such as the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act introduced in 2016. The BOTS Act aims to prevent scalpers from using software to purchase large quantities of tickets.
The new bill seeks to enhance the BOTS Act by explicitly forbidding the use of bots for online ticket purchases. Additionally, sellers and resellers would be obligated to furnish proof of purchase within 24 hours and offer refunds to buyers in case of event cancellations. The Fans First Act aims to curb scalping activities by prohibiting the use of misleading websites and the sale of “spec” tickets. “Spec” tickets are tickets advertised by resellers that they do not physically possess. Resellers involved in illicit practices will face civil penalties as well. Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, has expressed support for the bill.
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