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Pascrell Praises Announced Senate Hearing on Broken Ticket Market

As complaints mount, new year pivotal to regulating Ticketmaster monopoly

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), lead sponsor of legislation to reform the ticket industry, praised an announcement today that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing January 24 on the lack of competition in the live events ticket market.

“After years of abuses and indignities, American fans and ticket buyers are crying out for help attending a live event without scrambling or being ripped off,” said Rep. Pascrell. “The recent Taylor Swift tour fiasco was not an isolated incident but the latest in a long conga line of cases where fans are treated poorly by Ticketmaster and its satellites. It is Congress’s job to find help improve Americans’ daily lives and experiences and protect consumers from abusive companies like Ticketmaster. I thank Senators Durbin and Klobuchar and my partner on the BOSS ACT Senator Blumenthal for focusing on these issues in the Senate. I look forward to the testimony at this hearing to bring forward the issues consumers, artists and small businesses face in this industry and peel back the curtain on the need for real legislation to put guardrails on the ticketing industry. This can be the year where Congress comes together to bring real regulation to live events ticketing.”

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.

For several Congresses, 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.

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