New Ticket Buying Bill Introduced in Senate

The new bill called the 'Fans First Act' offers full disclosure on pricing, notation of seats and sections, clear labeling of resell tickets, and more.

By: Dec. 09, 2023
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A new bill has been introduced in the Senate promising consumer protections for ticketed events.

Called the 'Fans First Act', the bill requires ticket sellers to disclose the full price of a ticket, including all fees, notate the seat or section of the ticket, and indicate whether the seat is being sold by the "primary" seller, or a ticket broker or reseller.

The bipartisan bill is sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (Democrat of Minnesota) and John Cornyn (Republican of Texas), along with Senator Marsha Blackburn (Republican of Tennessee), Senator Peter Welch (Democrat of Vermont), Senator Roger Wicker (Republican of Mississippi), and Senator Ben Ray Lujan (Democrat of New Mexico).

The bill also offers reinforcements to an existing law banning the use of bots, requires that ticketing companies give full refunds for canceled events, and sets penalties at $15,000 per day during which a violation occurs, along with $1,000 per event ticket advertised or sold. The Government Accountability Office would also be required to study the ticketing market and make recommendations.

Ticketing practices by companies such as Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation have been highly scrutinized by fans and government alike. After Ticketmaster crashed during the Taylor Swift Eras Tour presale last year, the Senate held a hearing in January in which Senators from both parties scrutinized an executive from LiveNation. At the time, Senator Klobuchar said “This is all the definition of monopoly. Live Nation is so powerful that it doesn’t even need to exert pressure. It doesn’t need to threaten. Because people just fall in line.” The Justice Department is also conducting an antitrust investigation of Live Nation.

BroadwayWorld's Cara Joy David reported earlier this year that while Broadway shows don't suffer from Ticketmaster's monopoly in the same way that concerts do, the industry does still suffer at the hands of resellers, as Google searches often direct potential ticket buyers to unofficial ticketing sites, and the lack of clarity around primary vs. resell tickets causes buyers to unknowingly purchase resell tickets. The bill would aim to clarify this for buyers.

There have been other attempts to regulate ticketing companies this year. In July, the Ticket Act passed the Commerce Committee, which requires event ticket sellers to display the total ticket price upfront—including all fees—in any advertisement or marketing that lists a ticket price. Another bill calling for transparency in ticket prices passed the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives this week.

While none of these new bills have been passed into federal law, steps have been taken by companies to reduce the consumer burden under pressure from the White House. In June, ticket sellers including Ticketmaster and SeatGeek agreed to introduce “all-in pricing” for tickets.

The new "Fans First" bill has broad support from the music industry, including artists and venues, the Recording Academy, and talent and industry coalition Fix the Tix.

The bill is also supported by Live Nation itself, focusing on the bill's action on predatory scalping practices and the all-in pricing that it has already implemented. “We believe it’s critical Congress acts to protect fans and artists from predatory resale practices, and have long supported a federal all-in pricing mandate, banning speculative ticketing and deceptive websites, as well as other measures,” said a representative of Live Nation in a statement to NBC News.