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‘Fans First’ Live-Event Ticketing Reform Bill Introduced By US Senators 

Six US Senators have introduced a new “Fans First Act” to address the multiple discrepancies in ticketing sales across the country. The live event ticketing system in the US is saturated with fake or overpriced tickets from resellers, making it nearly impossible for fans to be able to afford to go see their favorite live events. 

The bipartisan bill was brought to Congress by three Republicans and three Democrats; John Cornyn of Texas, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Peter Welch of Vermont, and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico. 

This is the newest move from Congress to battle “high and exploitative” ticket pricing for things like concerts and other live events, according to reports

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The issues with online ticketing sales have always been present, but issues reached a head in 2022 with tickets for Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen’s tour’s crashed Ticketmaster and subsequently crashed the website and made prices increase exponentially. 

At the time, several Taylor Swift fans sued Ticketmaster for “fraud, price-fixing, and antitrust violations” and alleged that “intentional deception” from the site allowing scalpers and resellers to buy a majority of the tickets to upsell them exponentially. 

For example, within the first few hours of Swift’s tour tickets going on sale secondary sellers were able to purchase a majority of them and price them at up to $22,000.

The suit alleged that “because no other venue can hold half as many people as the stadiums and venues working through Ticketmaster, Taylor Swift and other popular musicians have no choice but to work through Ticketmaster.” 

The US justice department started an antitrust investigation into Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, after this incident to look into whether or not they abused their power in its multibillion-dollar entertainment industry. 

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The Fans First Act is seeking to improve transparency with ticket pricing by requiring all live event ticket sellers to advertise the total price of a given ticket, including all fees and additional charges, so that when a fan goes to purchase a ticket, they understand the total price immediately and aren’t caught off guard by large fees and additional charges when they checkout. 

Fans will also have a clear understanding as to whether the ticket they’re purchasing is from a reseller or the original retailer. 

The Fans First Act will also work to strengthen the requirements of the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act which was signed into law in 2016. The BOTS Act worked to prohibit the use of bots to purchase large quantities of tickets for resellers to later upcharge. It also imposes civil penalties on resellers practicing illegal sales.

“The current ticketing system is riddled with problems and doesn’t serve the needs of fans, teams, artists or venues. This legislation would rebuild trust in the ticketing system by cracking down on bots and others who take advantage of consumers through price gouging and other predatory practices and increase price transparency for ticket purchasers,” said Congressman Cornyn.

Live Nation, the owner of Ticketmaster, also released a statement supporting the new bill: “We support the Fans First Act and welcome legislation that brings positive reform to live event ticketing. We believe it’s critical Congress acts to protect fans and artists from predatory resale practices, and have long supported a federal all-in pricing mandate, banning speculative ticketing and deceptive websites, as well as other measures. We look forward to our continued work with policymakers to advocate for even stronger reforms and enforcement.”