With Super Bowl 50 approaching, the NFL is reportedly under investigation for anti-competitive practices.
"New York authorities are investigating whether the NFL is engaging in anti-competitive practices on its ticket-selling website, an official said Thursday," according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "The investigation is part of a larger probe by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman into high event ticket pricing."
While it is a larger probe that includes more than just the NFL, one of Schneiderman’s primary sticking points is “price floors” for tickets on the secondary marketplace. He criticized the practice in a report released Thursday.
The Associated Press added more context to Schneiderman’s report:
Many NFL teams encourage or even require ticket holders to use Ticketmaster's NFL Ticket Exchange platform, where the seller is prohibited from cutting the price below face value. That prevents lower prices when demand drops, making it harder for season-ticket holders to sell their tickets late in a season when their team is playing poorly.
Schneiderman’s report also said the official ticket-exchange platform “is frequently billed as the official resale site and the only ‘safe’ place to buy secondary NFL tickets,” per the Associated Press.
Schneiderman weighed in on Twitter:
Eric Schneiderman @AGSchneiderman
Our wide-ranging investigation uncovered various practices which have made ticketing a fixed game https://t.co/sWZJwRwWfy1/28/2016, 5:28:50 PM
While that may be the case, one argument from the NFL's side says fans who are looking to buy and sell tickets frequently have other options and can explore them if they do not want to worry about the price floors on Ticketmaster.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy referred to those various options on the secondary marketplace in his response, per the Associated Press: “The NFL does not require them to use the Ticket Exchange. The NFL imposes no restrictions whatsoever on any fan's ability to buy or resell tickets on other secondary ticketing sites or to do so at any price they choose.”