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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Making Scalping Legal

Two years ago, I wrote a column advocating "Scalping The Scalping Laws." Among my reasons for making scalping legal was the simple fact that you can buy anything else in America and re-sell it for any price you like (thus the success of eBay). Today, the Missouri House and Senate have passed an economic stimulus bill that includes language legalize ticket scalping. It's headed for Governor Blunt's desk, and he's likely to sign it.

For years, sports teams and concert promoters and venues wanted authorities to crack down on scalpers, claiming it hurt their fans. What they were really protecting was their own interest, of course. They didn't like the fact that someone else was making money on their product.

Now, teams and promoters have done a 180, and support allowing the re-sale of tickets to all events. Why? Once they realized they can't stop out-of-state ticket brokerages and fans using online sites like StubHub, they decided to get a piece of the action themselves. The teams want to set up their own re-sale operations, in which they could add a "service charge" to the transaction, and urge season ticket holders to conduct all business through that official site. They also claim it would cut down on counterfeiting.

Today on my show, I asked Michael Naughton for his perspective. Naughton is VP of Finance and Ticketing for the St. Louis Rams.