Tough Getting Springsteen Tickets? Congress Eyes Crackdown | NBC 7 San Diego

Tough Getting Springsteen Tickets? Congress Eyes Crackdown

"Bots are computerized cheaters," said Jeffrey Seller, a "Hamilton" producer

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Charles Mann/Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Having a hard time getting tickets to the latest Bruce Springsteen concert or college football game? Congress is moving forward with legislation that could make it easier to score seats.

    Ticket sellers and re-sellers — including the producer of the hit Broadway show "Hamilton" — testified at a Senate hearing Tuesday and endorsed congressional efforts to crack down on the use of computerized software by ticket brokers to snap up tickets. These so-called "bots" rapidly purchase as many desirable tickets as possible for resale at significant markups.

    Drive-Thru Pot Dispensary Opens in Colorado

    [NATL] Drive-Thru Pot Dispensary Opens in Colorado

    When you think of a drive-thru, fast food probably comes to mind. But what about marijuana? Tumbleweed Express Drive-Thru in Parachute, Colorado, is the first of its kind. After nearly a year of preparation, the drive-thru pot shop opened for business on 4/20. 

    "Their timing couldn't have been better in my opinion, I mean everybody wants to celebrate," said Kyle Steele, a customer at the drive-thru.

    (Published Friday, April 21, 2017)

    "Bots are computerized cheaters," said Jeffrey Seller, the "Hamilton" producer and four-time Tony Award-winner. "The people who employ bots use sophisticated software that cuts the line, paralyzes the system, and holds and purchases every available seat before a human consumer has a chance."

    The House on Monday overwhelmingly passed legislation to make the use of the software an "unfair and deceptive practice" under the Federal Trade Commission Act and allow the FTC to go after those who use it. Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, the Republican chairman of the Senate Commerce subcommittee that held the hearing, said his panel will vote on similar legislation soon.

    "The digital age has made acquiring tickets easier than ever," Moran said at the hearing. "But an age-old issue, ticket scalping, has been made even more prevalent by advances in technology."

    The use of bots is one of the reasons why tickets to a Springsteen concert or Hamilton performance can sell out in just a few minutes. Seller said he has worked with Ticketmaster to try and cancel tickets of those they suspect are using bots. But he says the bots "invade" the Ticketmaster system the moment tickets go on sale and electronically purchase almost all the available inventory. That's one of the reasons tickets to the award-winning musical about the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton have sold for $1,000 or more.

    Protester, Official React to Arkansas Execution

    [NATL] Protester, Official React to Arkansas Execution

    Just before midnight Thursday, Arkansas announced it had executed death row inmate Ledell Lee. He is the first of four inmates scheduled to die before the end of the month when a crucial lethal injection drug is set to expire. A protester and a spokesperson for the governor reacted to the controversial execution.

    (Published Friday, April 21, 2017)

    Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, said he wanted to see Hamilton but decided not to because of the costly tickets.

    "This is a rigged market benefiting some greedy speculators," Nelson said.

    In a report earlier this year, investigators in New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office cited a single broker that bought 1,012 tickets within one minute to a U2 concert at Madison Square Garden when they went on sale on Dec. 8, 2014, despite the vendor's claim of a four-ticket limit. By day's end, that broker and one other had 15,000 tickets to U2's North American shows.

    The report said third-party brokers resell tickets on sites like StubHub and TicketsNow at average margins of 49 percent above face value and sometimes more than 10 times the price.

    Missing 15-Year-Old Girl Found, Teacher Arrested

    [NATL] Missing 15-Year-Old Girl Found, Teacher Arrested

    A missing 15-year-old girl was found in California after a month-long search. She was found with the Tennessee teacher who is accused of kidnapping her.

    (Published Thursday, April 20, 2017)

    New York's review also found that, on average, 16 percent of tickets are reserved for various industry insiders like the venue employees, artists and promoters, while 38 percent are reserved for presales to certain groups like holders of a particular credit card.

    Executives from StubHub, Ticketfly and the commissioner of the Big 12 college athletic conference all testified in favor of federal legislation that would try to crack down on the bots.

    Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12, said low prices for some college sporting events make them a target for scalpers.

    "The hard-earned money our fans spend on tickets to our sporting events should benefit our schools and student-athletes, not third parties who seek to make a quick buck off of our most passionate supporters," Bowlsby said.

    Bill O'Reilly Ousted At Fox News Channel

    [NATL] Bill O'Reilly Ousted At Fox News Channel

    Fox News host Bill O'Reilly was officially pushed out at the network. This comes after O'Reilly had paid out more than $13 million to five different women over allegations of sexual harassment. In a statement, 21st Century Fox said, "After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel." O'Reilly has denied any wrongdoing.

    (Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017)