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Ticketmaster's Scalping Bill Pulled - For Now

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by Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - On Tennessee's Capitol Hill, a hard-fought battle over ticket scalping in Tennessee ended Wednesday with a cease fire.

The sponsor of a bill pushed by Ticketmaster pulled his legislation after months of debate.

Both sides claimed to be looking out for the consumers.

But the real debate appeared to have been about control -- with Ticketmaster on one side and ticket resale websites, like StubHub, on the other.

In the end, the sponsor of the Ticketmaster legislation admitted that he just did not have the votes to go on.

"There is a serious problem out there. It needs to be addressed, and I hope you all will join me in doing that next year," Rep. Ryan Haynes told a House committee that was set to hear the legislation.

Haynes pulled the bill that, on its face, would have cracked down on questionable sales techniques used by professional ticket scalpers to jack up the price for big concert and sporting events.

But Ticketmaster's opponents objected to language that they argued could give the ticketing giant control over all ticket resales in the state.

Haynes dismissed those claims, but he admitted his opponents won this round.

"Unfortunately, the other side did a very excellent job maligning what this bill actually did and what the intentions of it were," he said.

But longtime consumer advocate Elizabeth Owen, who now works for the StubHub-funded Fan Freedom Project, disagreed.

"The bill had so many excellent points in it that would be good both for business and consumers. It was just that one little sentence that said the venue could inhibit the consumer's right to sell that ticket again. That's the only thing we disagreed on," Owen said.

In the end, there was one point of agreement from both sides -- agreement that this issue will be back next year.

Email: pwilliams@newschannel5.com

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