November 17, 2016

New York Attorney General Scores For NFL Fans With NFL Agreement To Drop Mandatory Price Floor On Ticket Resales

By James J. Kovacs

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced a multi-state settlement with the National Football League (“NFL”) eliminating the NFL’s league-wide usage of a “mandatory price floor” in the secondary ticket market.

NFL rules had required all 32 teams to impose a mandatory price floor on secondary market ticket sales, not only on the NFL-owned Ticket Exchange website, but also on third-party websites sanctioned by the league as secondary market ticket retailers. Under the NFL’s price floor policy, an official seller was not permitted to list tickets for resale at a price lower than the face-value of the ticket.  As a result, NFL fans were forced to pay artificially inflated prices for tickets across the country.

While the mandatory price floor was halted during the investigation, the settlement requires that the NFL will “not reinstate” the league-wide price floor for 10 years. In addition to providing for a small monetary payment to be made to the settling states, the settlement also requires the NFL to refrain from implementing ticketing technologies designed to eliminate competition on the secondary ticket exchanges—a provision which protects resale sites such as StubHub, which have seen their market share squeezed by ticketing rules.  Constantine Cannon has represented StubHub in connection with its challenges to practices that restrain trade in the secondary ticket market.

The NFL settlement is the latest action taken by New York Attorney General’s Office against ticketing practices that it has alleged are unfair and raise costs to consumers. The office issued report earlier this year outlining the harms of mandatory price floors and ticketing fees designed to raise ticket prices on New Yorkers. In June, New York passed legislation proposed by Attorney General Schneiderman to increase penalties on the use of “ticket bots,” programs designed to scoop up large amount of tickets and then resell at higher prices.

New York’s NFL mandatory price floor investigation and settlement was joined by the Attorneys General of the states of Florida, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.

 

Edited by Gary J. Malone

Categories: Antitrust and Price Fixing, Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation

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