Friday, May 15, 2009

Ticket Brokers and The State

Theatre Producer Ken Davenport noticed that Ace Tickets gets a prime ad space on the Mass Pike:

Yep, if my educated assumptions are correct, the state of Massachusetts sold advertising space (where there usually isn't advertising space) to an unofficial retailer of tickets to events like the Boston Celtics, The Boston Red Sox, and Broadway shows.

You probably would imagine that I pretty miffed at Mass, right?

Well, it bothers me a bit, but not because the Mass did it.
They needed the money and Ace was willing to pay it. Free market,
capitalism, blah-blah-blah. And frankly, local theaters, like The Wang Center and so on, couldn't pay for that placement in their wildest facility fee-filled dreams.

What bothers me is that many of us are still trying to fight these
brokers, screaming that they are the enemy of the state. Well, if the
state of Massachusetts is going to take a broker's money for advertising, if states like NY are going to repeal old scalping laws, and if companies like Ace are going to get huge write ups in the Boston Globe that includes quotes like, "If the Celtics made it all the way to the finals, his [Ace CEO] profits might be enough to put his three children through college," then the time has come to stop trying to throw pebbles at this problem.

Ken might not even be aware of the half of it. People who follow politics around here may remember that the cozy relationship our former Speaker Sal DiMasi had with the ticket broker lobby was one of the reasons for his downfall. Here is a WBZ story on the scandal:

Contradicting statements made both by DiMasi and his former accountant, Richard Vitale, Attorney General Martha Coakley said Vitale was paid $60,000 in lobbying fees by ticket brokers interested in changing the state's scalping laws. She said Vitale also communicated directly with the speaker and his top lieutenant, Speaker Pro Tempore Thomas Petrolati, before the bill passed the House last year.

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