New York Legislative Update: A Ticket To Ride…For Now

Tickets

AP Photo by Alan Diaz

By Carla Varriale, Esq.

This past July, prior to the expiration of a New York law permitting the resale of tickets without a price cap, New York State’s Assembly extended the free market for sports, concert and theater ticket resale in New York for another year. Among other things, Bill No. S05715A governs the resale of tickets to places of entertainment and requires the consumer protection board to report on the effectiveness of the regulation of the sale of tickets in New York.  As of the time this issue went to press, the bill was awaiting the signature of Governor David Paterson. 

The assembly’s decision effectively sidelined New York City Council Bill 727-A, which sought to improve the “sale of tickets to individual consumers by operators of theater, music or sporting events taking place in New York City at places of public entertainment.” Bill 727-A, the subject of public hearing in May, contained proposed pro-consumer provisions.  Some of those provisions required that at least 15 percent of the total number of tickets for an event be released from the box office when they initially go on sale, no individual be permitted to purchase more than four tickets for an event, tickets be printed with the date and time of the sale and a record of the total number of seats that were made available be displayed for at least six months after an event. 

What will be gleaned from the upcoming study of New York’s dynamic ticket market is not clear.  Nor is it clear whether this study will spur changes to New York’s ticket resale laws or additional consumer protections.  What is clear, however, is that this latest development highlights the emergence of transparency as a lodestar in the ticketing industry.

Carla Varriale, Esq. is a partner in Havkins, Rosenfeld, Ritzert & Varriale, LLP in New York. Her legal practice focuses on legal issues of interest to sports, entertainment and recreational teams and venues. She also teaches “Sports Law and Ethics” at Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education. She can be reached at 646-747-5115 and carla.varriale@hrrvlaw.com.

This article originally appearred in “Legal Insights”, a newsletter published by Havkins, Rosenfeld, Ritzert & Varriale, LLP, and is reprinted with Attorney Varriale’s permission.

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