MR Exclusive: Legislating Concert Tickets in Tennessee

Expanding on the 2014 Artist Roster print magazine article on concert ticketing, Q Prime South Management’s VP of Touring Fielding Logan takes time to further explain the Tennessee Sports and Entertainment Industry Coalition. 

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TicketArticle-WebGraphicIn the state of Tennessee in 2012, Logan testified as a representative of the Tennessee Sports and Entertainment Industry Coalition to combat ticketing challenges. “In 15 different states it’s eBay-owned Stubhub vs. Ticketmaster and groups financed by Ticketmaster,” he said. “Ticketmaster paid for our lobbyists but we were trying to pass bi-partisan laws to protect fans and prevent scalpers from tricking customers.”

This organization had the same mission as the Fans First Coalition; both are backed by Eric Church, Q Prime South and The Bridgestone Arena, among others. The coalition wanted to make it illegal for scalpers to use venue or artist names in web addresses, to say whether tickets were speculative or not, and to publish the exact seat location and the original face value.

“[The coalition’s breadth] was amazing: colleges, venues across the state, artists, professional sports teams including the Titans, TPAC, NASCAR, and even some tiny playhouse in Cookeville,” continued Logan. “From Bristol to Memphis, anyone actually doing business and paying taxes in Tennessee was lined up.”

Opposing the Fans First Coalition was StubHub and organizations like the Fan Freedom project.

“Stubhub and their army of lobbyists did a lot to cloud and confuse the issue,” continued Logan. “Our Republican sponsor out of Knoxville decided to pull the bill at the last minute because he was getting calls from ambiguous free market, free enterprise consumer protection groups saying ‘this is my ticket and I should be able to do whatever the heck I want with it.’

“My understanding is there is now an armistice in Tennessee where the legislature has basically said we’re not touching a ticketing bill from either side.”

In retrospect, Logan notes legislative efforts to prevent scalping on a state level may be irrelevant. “It’s a national issue,” he said, noting Ticketmaster’s new re-sell program TM+. “A lot of what [the Tennessee Sports and Entertainment Industry Coalition was] trying to address is going to be solved organically, from a technological standpoint, and Ticketmaster is probably happier to dedicate their resources to advancing a better, more transparent market.

“[My] biggest disappointment with the commission is that everyone fighting on the other side was largely ambiguous, out-of-state consumer protection groups. The presumption on my part was every opposing testimony was being paid by Stubhub.”

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For the full article: “Recapturing Lost Revenue On The Road: a look at today’s concert ticket industry” featuring Logan and The Bridgestone Arena’s Director of Ticketing, Lonnie Wilkerson, pick up a copy of the Artist Roster print magazine. Magazines are included for free with yearly subscriptions to MusicRow.

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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] @EricTParker

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