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Baseball: mlb joins ranks of legal ticket scalping

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posted on Feb, 19 2005 @ 06:08 PM
ths is the same bunch that are trying to regulate the fantasy sports industry...gotta wonder just what mlb is up to

MLB pinch hits for scalpers: Broker deal allows league to resell sports tickets

Major League Baseball has pulled off an Internet squeeze play that puts it in the business of scoring big bucks from sports fans and shrinking the supply of affordably priced tickets.

The move puts MLB in the big leagues of legal scalping.

Prime seats for some events are commanding huge dollars at MLB's newly acquired ticket Web site, including $1,013 for U2 at the FleetCenter, $2,300 for clubhouse seats at the Kentucky Derby and $33,075 for a suite at the NBA All-Star Game.

MLB Advanced Media, a unit of Major League Baseball, earlier this week paid more than $66 million for California-based, one of the top ticket sales sites on the Internet. already processes online orders for several MLB teams, including the Red Sox, at officially listed prices. But it's the other side of the business that could prove controversial for Major League Baseball.

Under its ``Premiere Ticket Window,'' resells tickets to NBA, NFL, college sport and other events, sometimes for thousands of dollars apiece.

Such auction-house bidding would appear to clash with the policies of MLB franchises such as the Red Sox, who have pushed to punish street scalpers and box out brokers when tickets are sold.

``From my perspective it is the average fan who gets cheated,'' said Russ Haven, legislative counsel for the New York Public Interest Research Group.``It raises real concerns because average fans are priced out of the market.'' yesterday was selling individual tickets to this weekend's NBA All-Star Game in Denver for more than $3,000 apiece, in one case. The official, league-set price for the tickets ranges from $200 to $300 apiece.

Closer to home, tickets to see Boston College's men's basketball team were for sale at for $264.

A spokesman for MLB Advanced Media defended the deal, saying the core of the venture is to improve the ticket-buying experience for baseball fans. Baseball fans are increasingly relying on the Internet to buy tickets now, said Jim Gallagher, a spokesman for the MLB unit.

``Let me state categorically: The deal between MLB Advanced Media and has nothing to do with the secondary-ticket market,'' Gallagher said. ``This has everything to do with improving the fans' experience getting to the game.''

Gallagher would not say whether MLB plans to sell baseball tickets at significant price markups in the future.

But some observers said Major League Baseball's entry into the ticket resale business could help further fuel a trend toward sky-high prices for games, concerts and other events.

Haven, whose consumer activist nonprofit has fought for anti-ticket scalping laws in New York, said MLB may end up blazing a trail for others to follow.

``When an enterprise like Major League Baseball (gets involved), I'd be surprised if other sports teams didn't take a look at the model,'' Haven said.

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