NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 24, 2012

Reps: Ticket restrictions cloudy in 2012

BOSTON — Boasting one of the highest priced tickets in the Major Leagues, the Boston Red Sox took an extra step this year to make sure its family-friendly priced tickets aren't gobbled up by professional resellers and sold on the open market for a profit.

The new ticketing system — known as "paperless ticketing" — is intended to make sure families have access to marked-down tickets so that they too can enjoy Fenway Park without breaking the bank.

A bill being studied on Beacon Hill, however, would make the Red Sox strategy illegal. And while its prospects for passage this session remain uncertain, proponents of the bill say consumers should have the right to do with their tickets as they see fit, and not have a team or venue dictate how they use their tickets after purchase.

"No one is guaranteed the right to get into a ball game. We'd love to guarantee that, but the Red Sox have the right to price their tickets however they want, and once they sell the ticket, they don't own the ticket anymore," said Jon Potter, founder of the Fan Freedom Project.

The bill (H 1893) was filed this session by Rep. Michael Moran, a Brighton Democrat and member of the Democratic House leadership team, seeks to restrict so-called paperless ticketing and put in other safeguards to protect consumers from ticket fraud.

"I don't know," Moran said this week when asked about the prospects of his bill passing with the start of baseball season right around the corner. "I think there's some concerns that are being raised by the chair of the committee with regard to paperless versus the secondary ticket market."

"The bill is, compared to last session, a much different bill that deals with counterfeiting and ticket brokers having to be bonded and have an address not a P.O. box. I think that makes it a better bill, quite frankly, but a lot of that has to be worked through," Moran said.

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