Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Political Nitwitery in Michigan

As I mentioned previously, a Michigan state representative wants to cap ticket prices sold on the secondary market for concerts and sporting events to a legally-mandated maximum of 10% above face value. I've argued before on CD that if the 10% price cap applied to tickets sold in the primary market, it would basically put Ticketmaster out of business, since its fees are often in the 20-25% range.   But that's not Rep. Geiss's target - he's upset about tickets sold on Seat Geek, Stub Hub, eBay, Craigslist, etc. 

In today's Detroit News, I argue that a legally-mandated ticket cap of 10% above face value won't change the underlying market forces that frequently lead to ticket prices selling above face value, and would be an unworkable government price control that would make fans worse off, not better off.  And where do these politicians get the infinite wisdom to know that "10% above face value" is the "correct" or "fair" price, and not 5%, 15% or 30%? 


At 8/29/2012 5:33 PM, Blogger Doug said...

"I'm selling a Beatles ticket and cool crayon drawing of John Lennon bundled for $850, the ticket is sold at face value, and the cool crayon drawing my toddler drew of John Lennon is $800. I will only sell them together for one price."

The solution is coupling legally-allowed scalpable items with tickets as a bundle. Scalping laws are BS, as this example shows.

At 8/29/2012 6:40 PM, Blogger kmg said...

So is that politician implying that the state of Michigan does not have bigger problems to deal with?

If that politician is having trouble finding things to do for Michigan within the confines of his abilities....

....Bah, what am I thinking? Democrats never vote out hard leftists, no matter *what* they do.

At 8/29/2012 7:04 PM, Blogger Hans said...

The "Senator" should have he/her pay tied to the average cost of a ticket..

At 8/29/2012 7:26 PM, Blogger Michael E. Marotta said...

Well, actually, Hans, the senator's salary is tied to the price of a ticket. Michigan has a state income tax. Profits from ticket sales generate government revenue. The senator is, in effect, taking the food off the tables of government employees.

I wonder, also, what standard determines which events are important enough to be regulated. So-called "major league" sports? There is an old joke about Harry Caray leaving his car window down when he parked and ran into a supermarket. On the dash were three tickets to a Cubs game. When he came back, there were two more.

How about Major League Soccer, or Roller Derby? Would this apply to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra or the upcoming Jazz Festival? (In 1969, I paid $5 to see Alice Cooper play in an empty supermarket. Curiously, there were no scalpers.)

At 8/29/2012 8:22 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

The "Senator" should have he/her pay tied to the average cost of a ticket..

Which pay? The modest reported number or the vast fortune in perks that aren't recorded on a ledger?

At 8/30/2012 8:09 AM, Blogger BlogDog said...

Surely you mean "50% more."

At 8/30/2012 8:19 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

If one person voluntarily agrees to pay a price for an item, is that not the fair price? After all, everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it.

At 8/30/2012 8:22 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

I'm confident that if Rep. Geiss put his own house on the market and there were competitive bids, I don't think he would turn down an offer that was 15% above list price. Why would a ticket to a Tigers game be any different?

At 8/30/2012 9:52 AM, Blogger Scott Drum said...

Democrats are quite consistent in their appeals here.
Finding a ticket when you want one is subordinate to making sure others don't profit from selling theirs. It's the same reason they subordinate being able to find a job to making sure that others don't profit too much from having good ones.
Of course, catering to these feelings is not exactly recent news. Coveting the property of others is at least as old as Moses.

At 8/30/2012 2:44 PM, Blogger Its GSATT said...

Ya, I'd like to see them enforce that.

Mettallica vs Naptster round 2


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