Yesterday, Sports Fans Coalition Executive Director Brian Frederick testified in support of New Jersey legislation that would allow sports (and music) fans to do what they wish with tickets they purchase. Some venues and teams are now using “paperless ticketing” which restricts the ability of fans to do what they want with their tickets. Here was his testimony:
Good afternoon. My name is Brian Frederick and I am the executive director of the Sports Fans Coalition, the largest nonprofit fan advocacy organization in the country. We were established in 2009 to give sports fans a voice on issues of public policy.
Sports Fans Coalition fights to make sure that fans have access to games both on television and in the stadium. Because fans have spent billions and billions of dollars financing stadiums, we deserve to see our local teams play. So we fight against all media blackouts and for affordable seating in public stadiums.
I am here on behalf of New Jersey/New York chapter chair Scott Weiss and our many New Jersey members to support provisions in A2258 and S875 that protect consumers’ right to buy, sell or give away tickets as they wish – a right that is fundamental tied to affordable access to public stadiums.
To understand the need for this legislation, we to need look no further than the Bronx. Earlier this month, the Yankees publicly complained that tickets were priced too low on the secondary market, and that they were looking for quote “fan-friendly” alternatives that would eliminate this situation.
To you and me, fan-friendly alternatives might include lowering the price of tickets, but not to team owners. What they have in mind is a restrictive ticketing system that would lock all ticket resale into a single, monopoly platform where tickets could not be sold below face value. As we are already seeing elsewhere, teams would use ticket restrictions to charge fans additional fees to resell or transfer their tickets – these are, after all, the people that brought us $11 beers and $35 parking. And that is to say nothing of the inconvenience of a system in which every member of your party to be present before anyone can enter the stadium.
The corporate interests pushing restrictive paperless tickets claim to be protecting fans, but whether we are season ticket holders who sell our extras or fans who purchase $1 seats to NBA games and $5 seats to NFL and MLB games, we know restrictions are our enemy. As fans, restrictive paperless tickets mean less control, more hassles, no price competition and more fees paid to franchises that already receive billions in public subsidies from the same fans that they are gouging at the box office.
I urge your support of S875 and A2258. Thank you.