Held Up Without a Gun: Pascrell Knocks Ticketmaster for Springsteen Tour Price Surprise
Fans should have clear understanding of The Price You Pay before entering ticket on-sale process
Washington, DC, July 21, 2022
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), Congress’s foremost critic of the broken live events market, today called on Ticketmaster to adjust its policies to be more fan friendly after fans experienced wildly surprising ticket prices to attend concerts in Bruce Springsteen’s new tour, just the latest scandal from the greedy ticket monopoly.
“When Yogi Berra said it’s déjà vu all over again, he could have easily been talking about Ticketmaster and another unwelcome surprise for Springsteen fans,” said Rep. Pascrell. “After the long hiatus, we are all excited that Bruce is going back in tour. But Americans have the right to enjoy some live entertainment without getting ripped off. Ticketmaster sees popular events as an opportunity to soak regular Americans. My colleagues and I are hearing from irate customers who are fed up, and the New Jersey and New York dates aren’t even on sale yet. Fans should know exactly what they are getting into before getting involved with an always high stress concert ticket sale. And I hope that these policies and prices are reconsidered, or at least better publicized to fans, before the bulk of the concert dates go on sale next week.
“The fact is that multi-billion dollar live events ticket marketplace cries out for reform. The BOSS ACT legislation I have previously introduced would bring much needed transparency to sale, pricing and distribution of live event tickets. I have been working closely with my colleagues and stakeholders on revising our legislation and expect to reintroduce the improved bill shortly. I was first alerted to Ticketmaster’s shenanigans over a decade ago when Ticketmaster surreptitiously directed Springsteen fans to buy tickets for jacked up prices on their ticket reselling site. And the countless issues since they continue to remind us that the unholy Ticketmaster-Live Nation union should be broken up by the DOJ and FTC once and for all.”
On March 22, 2022, Rep. Pascrell wrote to the heads of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division urging them to overhaul federal guidelines to make it easier to overturn bad mergers. As part of the agencies’ joint inquiry into modernizing merger regulations, Pascrell flagged the Live Nation-Ticketmaster as a “posterchild of consolidation gone bad” and urged its dissolution.
Pascrell has been a leader in Congress calling for regulation of the opaque live events ticket market. Pascrell was an early critic of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, and repeatedly urged the Obama administration to reject it, warning that the union would crush competition and harm consumers. In May 2018, Pascrell wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on his attempts to impose greater positive regulation on the broken live events ticket market.
Two months later, Reps. Pascrell and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06) wrote a letter to Federal Trade Commission chairman Joseph Simons highlighting a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study which found a myriad of consumer protection and competition issues in the primary and secondary live event ticket markets. The GAO report was commissioned in response to Pallone and Pascrell’s work, and the members urged Simons to do more to protect consumers in the marketplace. In response, the FTC organized a workshop on event tickets held in June 2019 to review many of the challenges faced by ticket-buying fans. Pascrell attended a House Energy and Commerce Committee oversight hearing in early 2020 on the lack of transparency in the ticket marketplace.
Pascrell has been the principal sponsor of the BOSS Act, overarching legislation that would impose a basic level of transparency upon the ticket industry so fans have a fair chance to purchase tickets on the primary market and also seeks to protect consumers who choose to use the secondary market to purchase tickets. Pascrell is working to reintroduce the legislation this year. A full section-by-section breakdown of a prior version of the BOSS Act is available here.