The legal battle between the New England Patriots and the online ticket broker StubHub spilled onto the editorial page of the Boston Globe last week. In their December 27 editorial, the Globe rightfully called for repeal of a Massachusetts law regulating ticket resale prices. Unfortunately, the Editors missed a penalty call on the Pats for forcing fans to resell tickets only through the team’s exchange.
The legislature should allow the free exchange of tickets, but it must also stop the Pats from unduly restricting the property rights of a ticket owner. Consumers should be able to resell their tickets anywhere, whether by posting a note at the office or online with StubHub. The Patriots deserve a penalty for blatant “encroachment” on basic consumer rights.
Look at the fine print on the back of a Patriots ticket. There’s a list of prohibited behaviors, plus this nugget: you can only sell your ticket on the Patriot’s official website, where Ticketmaster takes a $10 “convenience fee”.
The Patriots have every right to set rules for the safety and enjoyment of fans at Gillette Stadium. But the resale of a ticket is beyond the scope of event enjoyment. Just think if GM tried to force Malibu owners to resell their cars only through Chevrolet dealers!