MOMIX photo.

In an effort to make it easier for fans to see their favorite artists and productions, the Fans First Act was introduced by a bi-partisan group of Senators, and is endorsed by the National Independent Venue Association. This bill will be more successful with advocacy from CreativeOhio members.

If passed, this legislation will also allow ticketed arts organizations to avoid some of the recent issues that plague the industry. Many CreativeOhio members have struggled with fake ticket scams, bots, and resellers who take advantage of price gouging and other predatory practices, says Sarah Sisser, CreativeOhio Executive Director and CEO.

The Fans First Act (previously known as Fix the Tix) was introduced by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Peter Welch (D-VT). By empowering fans and consumers with greater flexibility, clear information, and strong protections, Fans First will create a more vibrant and sustainable live entertainment industry. The Fans First Act bill accomplishes four key goals:

  • Banning speculative and fake tickets
  • Making it illegal for deceptive marketing, websites, and URLs to trick consumers into paying more for tickets that may never get them into a show.
  • Requiring every ticket seller to show the full itemized cost of the ticket, including any mandatory fees, from the moment the transaction begins.
  • Providing clear penalties and state and federal enforcement.

The legislation comes at a time when the secondary market has tormented fans and artists in various ways. According to Bloomberg News, resale ticket prices on one platform, Stubhub, have increased more than 100% since 2019, while the face value of tickets has increased only 10%. Fans are locked out of tickets at initial on-sale and forced to turn to the secondary, where consumers pay an average of 47% higher prices. Fans and consumers are often led to believe that the speculative tickets they are buying are from the official venue box office – and end up paying more even though tickets are still available at a lower price from the actual venue. Brokers use deceptive URLs, paid advertisements, and unauthorized venue, festival, and artist imagery to make consumers think they are buying from the original market.

“The current ticketing system is limiting access to live entertainment, eroding consumer trust, and hurting fans and local venues,” said Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) in a news release.

The Fans First Act represents the most comprehensive piece of legislation in Congress to help combat predatory secondary sellers from inflating ticket prices that hurt both fans and artists. Advocates are encouraged to ask their Members of Congress to cosponsor this bill.

 

Photo: MOMIX photo (April 26 at the Palace Theatre). Image courtesy of CAPA.

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