New York, NY - November 15, 2016 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a multi-state settlement with the National Football League (“NFL”) resolving antitrust concerns about the NFL’s league-wide mandatory price floor policy. The policy required each of the 32 NFL member teams to impose a price floor on all secondary market ticket sales on the NFL’s Ticket Exchange and related websites officially sanctioned by the league. Under this arrangement, which the NFL terminated after the investigation began, sellers were not permitted to list tickets for resale on the NFL’s officially sanctioned resale sites at a price lower than the face-value of the ticket.
“No sports fan should be forced to buy, or sell, a ticket at an artificially inflated price,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Under the NFL’s price floor scheme, fans were forced to pay inflated prices for even the least desirable NFL games. That is a slap to both sports fans and free markets. My office will continue to fight for the rights of sports fans and concertgoers by ensuring that secondary markets are free and competitive. In the meantime, I encourage every NFL team—and every team in professional sports—to heed the call of all sports fans and remove price floors from every team-authorized secondary ticket market.”
As a result of Attorney General Schneiderman’s investigation, the NFL eliminated its league-wide mandatory price floor policy during the course of the investigation, and that is enshrined in the conduct prohibitions of this agreement. As forward-looking precautions, the settlement agreement also includes disclosure requirements in cases where an individual team imposes its own price floor, prohibits the NFL from directing or requiring ticketing practices among teams that are designed to preclude fans from using competing exchanges, and prohibits the NFL from interfering with an individual team’s efforts to coordinate anti-fraud measures with competing secondary ticket exchanges. The agreement also provides for payment in excess of $100,000 towards the costs of this multi-state investigation.
This settlement is part of the Attorney General’s continued efforts to address troubling practices in the markets for sports and entertainment tickets. The Attorney General’s office released a report titled Obstructed View: What’s Blocking New Yorkers From Getting Tickets on January 28, 2016, highlighting troubling practices in the live entertainment industry that keep affordable tickets out of the hands of ordinary New Yorkers.
In June, New York passed legislation increasing penalties for ticket brokers who use illegal bots to snatch up tickets, following legislation proposed by the Attorney General.
A copy of the agreement can be found here.
The investigation and settlement are the result of a multi-state investigation lead by the Office of the Attorney General of New York. The agreement was also signed by the Attorney’s General of Florida, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
The matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Jeremy R. Kasha, Bryan Bloom, Zach Biesanz, Volunteer Assistant Attorney General Mariya Naulo, and Antitrust Deputy Bureau Chief Elinor R. Hoffmann. The Antitrust Bureau is part of the Economic Justice Division, led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Manisha M. Sheth.