In an effort to bring transparency to the ticket market, the New York State Senate and Assembly have passed legislation requiring ticketing companies to display “all-in” ticket prices with no hidden fees. The bill now awaits Governor Kathy Hochul‘s signature before it becomes law.
The bill will apply to both primary and resale ticket outlets and will require them to disclose all-in ticket prices for events in New York including all ancillary fees “in a clear and conspicuous manner.” That means ticket buyers will no longer be surprised by convenience, delivery, or other fees during checkout. The total cost must be shown in the initial listing rather than later on in the purchasing process. Even displaying the total fee in a smaller type size will be prohibited under the new law.
The bill also addresses issues of transparency in the ticket resale market by requiring sellers to disclose whether a ticket is being resold and what the original price of the ticket was.
“If people still want to buy a ticket, even though it was marked up two times, three times, four times, that’s their decision,” chair of the Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee and sponsor of the bill James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) told Billboard. “But they should at least know it was marked up.”
Related: John Oliver Breaks Down “Horrible” Ticketmaster Business Practices On ‘Last Week Tonight’ [Watch]
Additional provisions in the bill would prohibit selling tickets received for free (though they could still be legally transferred), charging delivery fees for tickets that are delivered electronically, and “knowingly” using the ticket purchasing software relied upon by scalpers.
An earlier version of the legislation included in an omnibus bill that Skoufis introduced in 2021 also had measures to help consumers get money back for events delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions and to prevent “holdbacks,” tickets reserved for insiders that never get released to the general public. The bill would have capped holdbacks at 10% and required the disclosure of the size of an artist’s allotment of tickets for specific events.
Referring to a 2012 Justin Bieber concert at Madison Square Garden where 28% of tickets were held for insiders including friends, pre-sales, VIP packages, and credit card partners according to a 2016 report by the New York Attorney General’s office, Skoufis said, “I guarantee you if that concert and many others had to disclose how many tickets they were withholding from their fans, they would not have held back nearly as many tickets because their fans would get pretty darn upset with Justin Bieber, or whoever the artist is. It would act as a sort of shaming tool. And so that is something I’m going to continue working on.”
The report said that 38% of tickets to the most popular shows in New York were reserved for insiders, though a more recent investigative report by Skoufis said Ticketmaster and Broadway representatives claimed holdbacks typically do not exceed 5% of the tickets they sell but could rise for certain events and markets.
Ticketmaster praised the new legislation despite being one of its main targets. “We are supportive of industry-wide reforms and believe even more can be done to aid artists in delivering tickets to fans at their set price points,” Marla Ostroff, Ticketmaster managing director–North America, said in a statement to Billboard. “We would like to thank Assemblymember [Daniel] O’Donnell, in particular, for his work and steadfast support of the New York entertainment community.”
Governor Hochul must sign the bill before the existing law expires on July 1st.