Premium Tickets A PR Battle For Cubs; Mariners Re-SalesPublished June 9, 2003
|Raise Your Hand If You
Paid $1,000 For Your Ticket
Yesterday morning's "SportsCenter" examined Wrigley Field Premium Ticket Services (Premium) — the Tribune Company-controlled ticket broker that gets preferred treatment by the Cubs. ESPN's Dave Frankel reported that Premium was "getting upwards of a $1,000 for a $45 ticket for" this weekend's Yankees series. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Greg Couch: "They've set up a building down the block from the box office where they are able to sort of skirt the scalping laws and scalp tickets to their own fans. ... You don't really know that it's the Cubs doing it. You go to the box office. You tell them I'd like two tickets to the Yankees game on Saturday and they say, 'Oh, the tickets are sold-out but if you go one block down you can go get tickets there.' You don't know that the game really wasn't sold-out, it's just the Cubs are holding all those tickets and selling them off to you for outrageous prices." Frankel said Couch "has turned the ticket issue into a personal crusade in several of his recent columns."
LEGAL TEAM: While Tribune Company and Premium attorney Jim Klenk, who is defending the entities against a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of Cubs fans, admitted that Premium is the "only broker to get its tickets supplied directly from the Cubs," he said that the policy is legal. Klenk also believes it is "rival ticket brokers, who the Cubs have been battling for years, who are really behind the lawsuit." Klenk added, "We are talking about 3,900 tickets at Wrigley Field. The Cubs sell almost three million tickets a year" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/8).
CORNERING THE MARKET: In Seattle, Peter Lewis reported that the Mariners hire off-duty police officers to help enforce the city's anti-scalping ordinance. But one broker is defending himself against charges in court, saying the team's practice gives it "greater control over the secondary market for prime seats — seats offered for resale by season-ticket holders through the team's Web site." The Mariners get 15% from the seller and 10% from the buyer on the online transactions, which are run by LiquidSeats' StubHub. Mariners Dir of Public Information Rebecca Hale said the team is "confident that the site is operating within the bounds of all city ordinances." Mariners VP/Technology Services Larry Witherspoon said that LiquidSeats restricts season- ticket holders from Seattle from "reselling tickets for more than face value" by blocking ZIP codes. But the broker's attorney claims that the team "facilitated and profited from Web deals that allowed season-ticket holders in Seattle to sell their seats above face value." A judge is not expected to rule until late summer (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/6).
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