WASHINGTON – July 18, 2011 – Dozens of chart-topping recording artists joined professional sports teams, industry leaders, and more than 60 venues across the United States today to launch the Fans First Coalition (www.standwithfans.org), a nationwide, not-for-profit dedicated to protecting fans from fraudulent and unscrupulous ticket practices. Today’s launch coincides with the peak of the live entertainment season. High-season for fans attending live events means it is high-profit season for scalpers who use technology to secure tickets and deceptive marketing practices to sell those tickets to the public.
“The Internet has revolutionized the way fans access and purchase tickets, but it has also created an environment where fans are routinely victimized by fraudulent ticketing practices,” said Michael Marion, Fans First Coalition President and the General Manager of the Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, Ark. “The Fans First Coalition seeks to put an end to these practices and ensure fans have a good event experience, from ticket purchase through the final out or encore.”
The coalition brings together fans, hometown theaters, artists, sports teams and prominent voices in entertainment. Members include: Live Nation Entertainment; the Carolina Panthers (NFL); JAM Productions; Red Light Management; the Carolina Hurricanes (NHL); Verizon Arena (Ark.); Ticketmaster; Durham Performing Arts Center (N.C.); Target Center (Minn); The Recording Academy; and more than 30 recording artists ranging from Anthrax to Kenny G and from Maroon 5 to Megadeth.
Adam Levine, lead singer of Maroon 5 noted, “We need to make sure that fans get the tickets, and not scalpers. Fans First is fighting to do just that. Our band wants our tickets to be sold at the face value that we set, so that the real fans can get the tickets -- not scalpers.”
In recent months, fan complaints and media reports have revealed the number of unsavory and fraudulent ticketing practices robbing fans of an enjoyable live entertainment experience. Fans First’s mission focuses on raising awareness about the following ticketing practices, and then advocating for industry, legislative or regulatory changes to address them:
- Fans are routinely misled into purchasing tickets from websites that masquerade as being affiliated with artists, teams or venues. These phony, non-sanctioned sites trick fans into believing they are buying tickets directly from the artist or venue rather than the resellers who operate them.
- Scalpers use software and other illegal means to secure as many of the best seats as possible the second tickets go on sale, just to sell those tickets back to fans.
- Many ticket resellers do not inform fans that their websites are resale sites, and that prices often exceed face value.
- Fans are not aware of the true cost of their tickets until after they have made a purchase.
- Many resale marketplaces and companies sell tickets they do not have in-hand, and do not disclose this to the ticket buyer. Fans are often unaware that the tickets they purchase are “speculative” in nature – that is, they may be unable to see a game, concert or show if the ticket seller cannot fulfill speculative orders, even after paying for tickets.
“Ticketing should always have fans’ best interests at heart,” said Marion. “That’s why as artists, teams, venues and fans we’re working together to make common sense changes to how tickets are purchased, marketed and sold.”
Fans First has launched a website (www.standwithfans.org) where fans can learn more about the issues and access information and resources they can use to protect themselves. The Coalition will also use Facebook and Twitter (@standwithfans) to share information and collect fan feedback.
Fans First will also advocate for industry, legislative and regulatory changes in the way tickets are marketed and sold. The coalition opposes legislative efforts in the U.S. Congress and several states to ban venues from requiring identification at ticket will-call windows and that institute restrictions on the ability of artists, managers, teams and venues to choose paperless tickets when they are a suitable option for their events.
“With today’s technology, we are able to get tickets into the hands of fans at face value, but these methods are under attack,” said Randy Levy, Treasurer, Fans First and President, Rose Presents, Minneapolis. “Because will-call only and paperless ticketing threaten to put scalpers out of business, they have initiated a nationwide lobbying effort. It seems silly lawmakers would entertain legislation to assist scalpers in the first place. We can all agree there are more important issues deserving of our elected officials’ focus.
About the Fans First Coalition
The Fans First Coalition is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization dedicated to educating members of the general public, policy makers and consumers on issues related to improving access to reasonably-priced tickets, and enhanced protection against fraudulent business practices. Operated by a Board of Directors, Fans First brings together fans, hometown theaters, artists, sports teams, and prominent voices in entertainment. For more information, including a complete list of current members, visit www.standwithfans.org.