Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Get yer tickets for the tout debate

Next week, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is going to investigate ticket touting. The people who will be giving evidence are as follows:

At 10.30am The Rugby Football Union
The Football Association
The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club

At 11.00am Harvey Goldsmith CBE
Concert Promoters Association
DF Concerts
National Arenas Association

At 11.30am Ticketmaster
The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR)

At 12.00noon eBay
The Association of Secondary Ticket Agents (ASTA)

At 12.30pm Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Shaun Woodward MP, Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State
Department of Trade and Industry
Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP, Minister of State for Industry and the Regions
The Office of Fair Trading
John Fingleton, Chief Executive

So, that's an hour and a half of people generally against the idea of tickets being resold, against half an hour of people who might have an opposing viewpoint cobbled together at the end.

Not entirely the most balanced of slates, then; and not many people there representing the people who actually go to concerts.

The terms of reference:
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee announced on 1 May 2007 an inquiry into ticket touting. The Committee is particularly interested in the following issues:

The underlying causes of ticket touting, and its impact on performers, promoters and the public;
Whether or not resale of a ticket, at face value or at a higher value, should be permitted in principle; and whether the acceptability or otherwise of resale depends on the circumstances in which tickets are offered for resale;
The impact of the Internet upon trade in tickets;
Whether or not tickets’ terms and conditions banning transfer and onward sale are fair or enforceable;
The merits of new approaches by ticket agents attempting to prevent transfer of tickets, including wider use of personal ID; and
Whether or not the existing offences of sale by an unauthorised person in a public place of a ticket for a designated football match, or for events at the London 2012 Games, should be extended to cover other sporting or cultural events.

While this sounds superficially balanced, the sense that this is more 'selling tickets on is a bad thing' than a totally open-minded approach - after all, planning to consider the merits of Glastonbury-style ID controls would suggest an expectation of a decision that controls are required.