September 22nd, 2006
By Matt Deegan
If you bought a Dave Matthews Band ticket from a secondary vendor such as eBay or Craigslist for more than its face value, you may be turned away at the door of the John Paul Jones Arena tonight or Saturday night.
Musictoday, the official ticket provider for the arena, has a broker prevention department that monitors tickets on secondary Web sites, said Larry Wilson, the arena’s general manager.
Broker protection officials search the sites for tickets that are being sold above face value and then invalidate some of the tickets. Fans who purchase them online do not know they have been invalidated. They would find out when they hand their ticket to an arena ticket handler, who would scan it to reveal that it is invalid. The fan would then not be allowed in the arena.
“Unfortunately, that’s true,” said Del Wood, chief operating officer of Musictoday. “There’s no way to notify a third party. We want to take care of the primary fan.”
Musictoday’s ticket reselling policy is outlined in its “ticket user agreement” that all who purchase tickets on the JPJ site agree to comply with. It reads: “We strictly prohibit the resale of any tickets obtained through this site for more than the purchase price. If you are found to be or we in good faith believe you are reselling, trading or brokering tickets for profit that you purchased through this site, we may at our sole discretion cancel all or part of your ticket order and all or part of other pending orders in your name and/or put all or part of your orders and all or part of your other pending orders in your name at will-call for pick-up only by you.”
Wilson said this search-and-invalidate action is a trend among artists and is being driven by them individually, not ticket vendors.
“The entertainers and acts don’t want tickets in the hands of scalpers,” he said. “They set the tickets at a certain price for a reason and they want to keep them at that. If you purchase your ticket through the proper means, you won’t have a problem. If you purchase your ticket from a scalper or on the Internet, you are taking a chance.”
Pat Jordan, the manager for the Dave Matthews Band, said the group spends a lot of time and energy telling fans where to buy tickets and where not to buy tickets.
“We want to serve the fans and get as many tickets into the fans’ hands, not into the hands of brokerage firms,” he said.
Jordan said the band auctions off leftover tickets remaining after the initial “sellout,” with profits going toward its charitable organization, Bama Works.
Wilson said that last October when the Rolling Stones played at Scott Stadium, hundreds of tickets, doled out by Musictoday, that were put up for bidding on eBay were invalidated and those concertgoers were turned away.
Some states have laws for ticket sales to thwart scalping, and Virginia grants localities the ability to license or prohibit the resale of tickets, whether through scalping or brokerage firms. State law does not prohibit it.
“It’s not our intent to make arrests for that type of enterprise,” said Lt. Don McGee of the UVa police force about scalping. “But we don’t want it to impede with vehicle and pedestrian traffic.”
Catherine England, a spokeswoman for eBay, said the invalidation policy is unfortunate for fans.
“The secondary ticket market is driven by fan demand, and the reality is, a lot of the initial ticket market does not meet demand,” she said. “The interest of promoters is sometimes not in the interest of the fans. That’s just the reality of the market.”