Rep. Janis Sontany
Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Criminal Practice and Procedure
The Tennessee General Assembly
217 War Memorial Building
Nashville, TN 37243
Subject: HB2420, to criminalize resale of concert tickets above face value
Scheduled for Hearing on January 30, 2008
Dear Chairwoman Sontany and Members of the Subcommittee:
I write to oppose HB2420, which would make it a criminal offense for any Tennessean to re-sell a concert ticket for more than $3 above face value.
In the 20 years since Tennessee allowed open markets for ticket resale, consumers have enjoyed greater choice and opportunity to buy and sell tickets to their favorite events. More recently, the rise of online ticket exchanges has brought more competition, safety, and convenience to sports and music fans.
Moreover, over these last 20 years, we find no instance where state law enforcement has raised concerns about consumer protection or illegal activities associated with ticket resale exchanges. Instead, this legislation is driven entirely by a mistaken reaction to the extraordinary demand for Hannah Montana tickets on a recent concert tour.
Hannah Montana represents a unique situation that has tapped into a new “tween” market of kids between childhood and adolescents. All this brimming demand has clashed with a limited supply of tickets in the primary market, which has spilled over into the legally-operated secondary market. Indeed, the resulting hype and publicity of the ticket shortage has undoubtedly benefited the creators of Hannah Montana television programs and branded merchandise.
HB2420 misses the big picture of how tickets are issued, allocated, distributed and sold to the public. Indeed, ticket resellers are not to blame for the limited supply of tickets and high demand from consumers. As in all markets, if demand exceeds supply and prices are fixed at a relatively low level, a secondary market will develop.
Hannah Montana has left town, but if you still feel the need to address imbalances in supply and demand for tickets, I would recommend the Sub-Committee direct a study on the business practices of the primary marketplace for concert tickets, and issue a comprehensive report.
The Internet has brought accountability and transparency to the 22% of all online consumers that have purchased event tickets through the Internet. But HB2420 would take Tennessee in the wrong direction, regulating upstream against a nationwide current of liberalization for ticket reselling. We therefore ask that you oppose HB2420 when it comes before your subcommittee.
Thank you for considering our views, and please let me know if I can provide further information for your deliberations on this important issue.
Executive Director, NetChoice
cc: Subcommittee Members
Rep. Eddie Bass
Rep. Bob Briley
Rep. Henry Fincher
Rep. Judd Matheny
Rep. Eric Watson