Touts bill won’t see ticket prices fall, say TDs

People queuing to buy tickets

Neither high prices for entry to concerts and sports events nor resale websites will be tackled in proposed Government efforts to clampdown on ticket touts.

That is according to opposition TDs who have questioned the veracity of the anti-ticket touting legislation driven by both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly highlighted how concert-goers here face inflated prices for tickets for major music events while the same gigs in other European countries are far cheaper for fans.

“Fatboy Slim is playing in the 3Arena the week after next,” said Ms Daly. “Ticket prices run from €51.50 to €61. A few weeks later, he is playing in Utrecht in the Netherlands. There, the tickets are €28, nearly half the price for the exact same gig on his tour.

“Drake is playing in the 3Arena in April. Tickets start at €79 and go up to €276. For the same gig in Belgium, people will pay from €56 up to a maximum of €106 for the very best, premium seats.

“The Government should be asking itself if the touts are the real rip-off merchants here. Should this not be the aspect to focus on if it really wants to bring down the cost of tickets?”

Ms Daly made her comments during continued discussions around legislation championed by Fine Gael’s Noel Rock and Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly.

The legislation proposes banning the resale of tickets for above face value, making it an offence to sell or offer to resell a ticket or to publish an ad for one more than the designated price.

Anyone found guilty of selling on tickets in such a way could get a €5,000 fine.

The Government expects that the measures could come into law before the summer.

However, Ms Daly also questioned whether the changes would take on websites offering resales.

“The bill targets the people doing the selling and leaves the websites alone,” said Ms Daly.

She highlighted how tickets were resold online with significant “transaction fees”.

“The people running these resale websites do not do it for the good of their health,” said Ms Daly. “They charge a transaction fee for each ticket sold.

“In the case of Ticketmaster, it had two bites of the cherry until they shuttered Seatwave. Ticketmaster got a transaction fee when it sold the original ticket and then got another transaction fee when that ticket was sold on.

No doubt when Ticketmaster sets up its ‘fan-to-fan’ ticket exchange, it will continue to charge transaction fees.

“If Seatwave is anything to go by, those ticket transaction fees will not be cheap. In one case I know of, for an Electric Picnic ticket costing €285, the transaction fee was €52.99. That was after Seatwave had already charged the seller a 10% success fee. The word ‘racket’ springs to mind here.”

Junior business minister Pat Breen said the bill would continue its passage through the Dáil and that the Government agreed with the sentiment that “ticket profiteering must be tackled”.

It was wrong that they can profit “from the talent of sports men and women and entertainers,” said Mr Breen.

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