Carpe Diem

What about the legalized ‘usurious’ ticket fees?

From the Detroit News on July 27:

A Michigan state representative said he will introduce legislation capping the markup on tickets sold on the secondary market — in particular on websites like StubHub — at 10 percent above face value.

State Rep. Douglas Geiss, D-Taylor, requested a bill in response to a story published Thursday on, which showed ticket prices for the Detroit Tigers’ upcoming seven-game homestand beginning Aug. 3 are, on average, listed at 17 percent above average ticket prices.

“It appears that we’ve got legalized scalping going on,” Geiss said Friday. “There is a need within society for those with tickets that they can no longer use. But when you start talking about tickets with a face value of $100 being listed for $1,000 … that is usurious.

MP: Forget about the high ticket prices in the secondary market (sometimes), what about the “legalized, usurious scalping” going on in the primary market?  The graphic above shows that if you order a single $17 ticket for the August 31 Detroit Tigers home game against the Chicago White Sox from the Tigers’ website, your total cost with a $4.75 “convenience fee” and a $4.10 “order fee,” brings the total cost to $25.85, or a whopping 52% above face value! That’s more than five times the 10% cap above face value Rep. Geiss is proposing for ticket sales in the secondary market!

Q: Would Rep. Geiss’s legislation capping ticket prices to 10% above face value apply to the primary market as well as the secondary market, making the Detroit Tigers’ current ticket pricing practices illegal?  And if not, why couldn’t the secondary market cap price tickets at 10% above face value, but then add a $10-20-30 “convenience fee” and a $10-20-30 “order fee”?

Instead of going after the “usurious” ticket prices in the secondary market, maybe Rep. Geiss should introduce legislation aimed at the usurious “ticket fees” in the primary market that can add more than 50% to the price of a ticket to a Detroit Tigers game.

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