08.16.09

Born to Wrong: Mushnick on the Jets and So-Called “Jersey Scalper Act”

Posted in Greedy Motherfuckers, Gridiron, Sports Journalism, Ugly New Stadiums at 5:54 pm by

While I certainly don’t begrudge anti-corporate crusader Phil Mushnick any opportunity to rip on PSLs and Giants Stadium, my guess is that today’s heavy breathing in the Post is factually suspect — the rantings of a man who’s never bought a ticket in his life, perhaps?

AMONG the desperate come-ons the PSL/NFL Jets are dangling to those who buy season tickets is this promise: “Exclusive opportunities for other stadium events.”

Really? How so? At a time when legislation is being fast-tracked to eliminate the insidious inside trading of tickets and ticket-buying opportunities to concerts held in New Jersey venues, what does “exclusive opportunities” mean?

Friday, we called the Jets to ask. Does “Exclusive opportunities for other stadium events” mean, for example, first crack at concert tickets?

“Yes,” the salesman replied. “That means you’ll be able to buy tickets during the pre-sale [before they go on sale to the public].”

In other words, what the Jets are promising in exchange for buying season tickets — first shot at concert tickets, tickets delivered from the inside for inside trade — is precisely what’s finally being acted against by New Jersey legislators and New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram, who have joined to try to eliminate such malodorous enterprise.

Current law mandates that no event in the Meadowlands can withhold from the public more than five percent of tickets for general sale. And the BOSS Act, introduced in June and in part named after Bruce Springsteen, whose New Jersey concert tickets often land in professional scalpers’ and ticket-agency hands long before the public gets first or fair crack at them, is designed to further diminish or eliminate inside ticket distribution and the double-dealing that drives it.

Now, I’m not gonna go and read the (federal, not New Jersey) legislation, which ought to keep me just as well-informed as Phil. But it seems that the proposed law doesn’t outlaw pre-sales, or even artist and promoter set-asides — it merely demands full disclosure of how many tickets are available beyond that.

It would also seem the 5% law Mushnick cites does not apply to pre-sales. Jets season ticketholders, people in the Coldplay fan club and anyone with an American Express card may be getting special access, but they’re still considered members of the public. What’s more, while this part seems a little dubious, the publicly-run New Jersey agency behind the Meadowlands interprets the current law to mean the 5% limit on hold-backs only applies to them, not artists, sponsors or media. That’s why Springsteen himself, who held back 12% last time around at Izod, hasn’t paid a fine like Ticketmaster.

Meanwhile, I get pre-sale offers from the Phillies (Jimmy Buffett!) all the time, and I’m not even a season ticketholder. Elitist? Maybe. Potentially illegal? Doubt it.

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