NASHVILLE, TENN. – U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced the Fans First Act, which would help address flaws in the current live event ticketing system by increasing transparency in ticket sales, protecting consumers from fake or dramatically overpriced tickets, and holding bad actors who engage in illegal ticket sale practices accountable.
“Fans have become increasingly frustrated with how difficult it has been to obtain affordable tickets to see their favorite artists perform,” said Senator Blackburn. “Bots are snatching up tickets and selling them for exorbitant prices on secondary markets, while some ticketing companies are selling speculative event tickets that don’t even exist. This bipartisan legislation builds upon my work to safeguard artists and their fans in the online ticket marketplace.”
“The current ticketing system is riddled with problems and doesn’t serve the needs of fans, teams, artists, or venues,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation would rebuild trust in the ticketing system by cracking down on bots and others who take advantage of consumers through price gouging and other predatory practices and increase price transparency for ticket purchasers.”
“Buying a ticket to see your favorite artist or team is out of reach for too many Americans,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Bots, hidden fees, and predatory practices are hurting consumers whether they want to catch a home game, an up-and-coming artist or a major headliner like Taylor Swift or Bad Bunny. From ensuring fans get refunds for canceled shows to banning speculative ticket sales, this bipartisan legislation will improve the ticketing experience.”
In 2016, President Obama signed Senator Blackburn’s legislation, the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act, into law, which prohibits ticket scalpers from using software to purchase high volumes of tickets.
The Fans First Act would help address the following areas of reform in the current ticketing system:
Ticket Sales Transparency:
- Requires all live event ticket sellers and resellers to disclose:
- The total cost of the ticket, including fees, when the fan initially selects a ticket for purchase;
- A breakdown of the ticket cost;
- Clear terms and conditions of purchase;
- Which seat or section they are selling in to avoid ticket misrepresentation;
- And whether or not they are the original seller.
- Strengthens the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act, signed into law in 2016, to further prohibit the use of bots to purchase tickets online.
- Requires sellers and resellers to provide proof of purchase to consumers within 24 hours of purchase.
- Requires sellers and resellers to refund consumers the full cost of the ticket when events are canceled.
- Requires a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study to further study the marketplace and make recommendations.
Stopping Bad Actors:
- Imposes civil penalties on resellers engaging in illegal ticket sale practices, creates a reporting website for fans to file complaints, and tasks the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general with enforcement.
- Prohibits the sale of a ticket that the reseller represents they possess but actually do not, known as a speculative or “spec” ticket.
- Prevents the use of deceptive websites and bad actors masquerading as legitimate sellers.
- Requires reporting of BOTS Act violations from ticketing companies to the FTC and requires the FBI to share ticketing violations with them.
- This legislation is endorsed by the Fix the Tix Coalition, National Independent Venue Association, Seattle Theatre Group, Recording Academy, Recording Industry Association of America, National Independent Talent Organization, Eventbrite, Performing Arts Alliance, North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents, International Association of Venue Managers, Songwriters of North America, Americans for the Arts, Americans for the Arts Action Fund, Future of Music Coalition, Artists Rights Alliance, Music Managers Forum, Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and Association of Performing Arts Professionals.