Four years after ticket scalping became legal in Minnesota for the first time in nearly a century, legislators are once again grappling with the economics of ticket sales.
Most of the state's professional sports teams and Twin Cities cultural heavyweights lined up Tuesday against a House bill that would allow ticket buyers to give away or resell concert, sports or game tickets without having to adhere to restrictions imposed by such sellers as Ticketmaster.
The bill was supported by a representative of EBay, which operates the online ticket brokerage StubHub.
Among the opponents was Jack Larson, vice president and general manager of the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, said the bill "is about making it easier for scalpers to be a middleman.We cannot have scalpers run our business."
When the law legalizing scalping was overwhelmingly passed by the legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2007, proponents said the old law had become increasingly unenforceable with the advent and spread of online ticket brokers. After opposing it for years, the state's sports franchises and law enforcement officials dropped their opposition to the change.
Andrew Kaplan, representing concert promoter Jam Productions, said computerized ticket brokers have been engaged in "a nuclear arms race" of increasing technological complexity that freezes out ticket buyers.
The House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee took no action on the bill, but planned to take it back up next Wednesday.