US Senators Maria Cantwell and Ted Cruz are set to introduce the Transparency in Charges for Key Events Ticketing (TICKET) Act. The bipartisan bill aims to increase transparency in the live events industry, requiring ticketing merchants to disclose full ticket prices, including fees, upfront for large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events. The TICKET Act is one part of a broader effort to rein in deceptive junk fees that increase costs for consumers.
The TICKET Act follows the reintroduction of the Junk Fee Prevention Act in the House earlier this month and President Joe Biden’s call to action against excessive fees for concerts and other forms of entertainment during his State of the Union address in February. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Sheldon Whitehouse also introduced a companion bill to Biden’s plan in March. The Federal Trade Commission has also released a rule-making proceeding to investigate unfair acts or practices related to ticketing and other fees.
Impact on Ticketing Industry and Fans
If passed, the TICKET Act would promote competition in the ticketing industry by delivering ticket fee and speculative ticket transparency for the benefit of all consumers. Primary and secondary market ticket sellers, including Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster and SeatGeek, would be required to disclose the entire ticket price, including itemized fees, at the beginning of a transaction and prior to ticket selection. Total ticket prices must also be clearly displayed during event marketing. Secondary market sellers would be obligated to fully disclose speculative ticket status, meaning that the seller does not have actual possession of the ticket.
Ticket fees can comprise up to 58% of the total cost of tickets, according to a statement from the committee. The TICKET Act aims to increase transparency and reduce these hidden fees for fans. Live Nation and Ticketmaster have faced criticism in the past for their control over the industry and high fees. In December, Taylor Swift fans sued Live Nation after Ticketmaster crashed during presales for the artist’s “The Eras Tour.” The Senate Judiciary Committee examined Live Nation’s power over the industry at a hearing in January. Ticketmaster also pledged to return money to fans who purchased tickets to The Cure’s “Shows Of A Lost World Tour” earlier this year, after group leader Robert Smith criticized the prices.
The TICKET Act would bring transparency to the ticketing industry, which is dominated by a few large players that can capitalize on hidden fees. It aims to create a fairer system for all consumers and increase competition in the industry.
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