The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts veered from its usual fundraising pleas and upcoming event promotions Sunday to make an unusual request from its members: Please email state lawmakers to oppose legislation that could be a boon for ticket scalpers.
The bill would rewrite rules for ticket sales, allowing online vendors — think StubHub — to buy tickets in bulk to resell, and preventing companies — think Ticketmaster — from requiring that the person who buys a ticket be the same person who attends the event.
State Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Panhandle Republican who proposed the law, said it would protect people such as season-ticket holders who want to sell or give their tickets away. So-called “paperless” tickets that force a person to show a credit card and ID at the door of the event would be illegal.
“I don’t think that these publicly funded venues ought to be able to turn these tickets into airline tickets that are not transferable,” said Gaetz, of Fort Walton Beach.
But in his email to members titled “a call to action,” Arsht President and CEO John Richard called other parts of the proposal “dangerous.”
Richard wrote that the bill, which will get its first Florida House subcommittee hearing in Tallahassee on Tuesday, “will give ticket scalpers unlimited and unwanted access to affordable community tickets.”
A similar debate has played out across the country as Ticketmaster and StubHub have lobbied legislatures to revise state laws to benefit the two companies’ diverging interests. Ticketmaster pushes for anti-scalping, paperless tickets. StubHub favors paper tickets, saying they give fans more control.