As Congress Returns To DC, The Push For Ticketing Reform Picks Up

The United States Congress is back in session after the holiday break and begins its election year summer schedule of legislative weeks alternating with back-in-the-district “work weeks.” In even-numbered years, July and August are often make-or-break months for pending legislation. Among the pending pieces: ticketing reform.

The House overwhelmingly passed the TICKET Act in May, garnering broad and deep bipartisan support, but it still needs Senate approval before heading to President Joe Biden for his signature.

To that end, the Fix the Tix Coalition is calling for a big push July 9, urging supporters to contact their congressional representatives in support of the Fans First Act, a toothier version of ticketing reform introduced by Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, and, like the TICKET Act, supported by a wide swath of politicians from both parties.

“The Fix the Tix Day of Action is an important moment for all of us who believe in fair and transparent ticketing,” said Stephen Parker, Executive Director of the National Independent Venue Association. “It’s a time to elevate the voices of fans and artists and harness their power as constituents. This is more than a one-day campaign. It’s a collective cry to protect the integrity of live performance. We urge Congress to listen to the voices of fans and artists and put comprehensive ticketing reform on their list of must-pass legislation in 2024, alongside other critical legislation such as FY 2025 Appropriations and the Farm Bill.”

The House-approved TICKET Act Act mandates all-in pricing and implements guardrails on the secondary market. It requires secondary sellers to disclose that fact. In addition, unless a specific agreement is in place making a partnership formal, a secondary seller cannot imply or suggest they are affiliated with a venue, team or artist. Further, secondary sites are prevented from using the name of artists, venues or teams in a deceptive way. Secondary sellers are also required to make their refund policies clear. The reforms would also require primary sellers to provide refunds for cancelled events or to provide replacement tickets in certain situations. It would also ban speculative ticketing.

Fans First builds on those reforms, with more stringent requirements and enforcement provisions.