Archive for Monday, January 29, 2007

KU again going after ticket scalpers

Policy looks past parking lot to punish faculty profiteers

January 29, 2007

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It was about 9 degrees outside. The wind was blowing and the streets and sidewalks were covered in snow and ice.

As fans hurried inside Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 15 to watch the men's basketball game against Missouri, a group of people huddled in a nearby parking lot along Naismith Drive. They asked passers-by, almost in whispers, "Got any tickets?" "Need tickets?"

The scalpers were paying no more than $25 for extra tickets that Kansas University fans were willing to sell. The face value of the tickets was $45.

But to those looking to buy, one scalper offered a general admission ticket for $90. Another was selling two reserved seats for $200.

The ticket scalpers, a staple of sporting events for years, are once again in the KU athletic department's crosshairs. And it's not just traditional ticket resellers who are coming under scrutiny. Faculty and staff who resell their tickets online soon may face concerted efforts to halt their activities as well.

An age-old method

Two years ago, the KU athletic department decided it had enough of ticket scalping outside its venues.

The KU Public Safety Office was instructed to be on the lookout for those reselling tickets on campus as violators of a KU policy against trespassing, but it hardly seems to have made much of a difference.

On any given game day, a dozen or more individuals offer to buy and sell tickets to any takers.

Capt. Schuyler Bailey, KU Public Safety Office spokesman, said his officers must witness a transaction in order to take action. Whether the officers are even looking for scalpers depends on what other assignments they have, he said.

"It doesn't get pushed down as a priority, but there are only so many of us," he said. "This is a new change in procedures - a change in mind-set. It's going to take education to stop the selling."

Ticket scalpers can face punishments ranging from a request to leave the premises to a citation and fine. City prosecutor Jerry Little said the fines and punishment are typically about $150 and unsupervised probation, but can range up to $500 and a year in jail.

Tickets to the Kansas-Missouri men's basketball game are offered outside Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas University officials are trying to crack down on all unauthorized ticket sales, including tickets purchased at a discount by faculty and staff then resold at higher prices.

Tickets to the Kansas-Missouri men's basketball game are offered outside Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas University officials are trying to crack down on all unauthorized ticket sales, including tickets purchased at a discount by faculty and staff then resold at higher prices.

Stopping faculty resellers

The KU athletic department is formulating a new policy, which likely will include punitive measures, prohibiting all faculty and staff season ticket holders from reselling their men's basketball tickets, said Jim Marchiony, KU associate athletics director.

Essentially, the athletic department's position is that the tickets being provided to faculty and staff are sold to them at a discount because of their relationship to the university. The tickets are for the express use of faculty and staff, and their friends and relatives, Marchiony said. No one should be allowed to profit from the reduced sale price, he added.

"We're going to address that much more clearly and completely," Marchiony said. "There's a difference between faculty and staff doing it and season-ticket holders doing it."

Chris Orwoll, who has been on the KU faculty for several years, sells his tickets on eBay to games he can't attend. His seats are in the northeastern corner of Allen Fieldhouse.

He's sold his two tickets for as low as $45 and as much as $600. He pays about $1,500 for two tickets for the entire season, he said.

Season tickets are regularly priced at $1,800 per ticket, plus a mandatory donation to the Williams Fund. The minimum donation, $100, will generate seats in the upper-level corners, while faculty seats are generally in the corners over the tunnels.

Orwoll said the athletic department's letters - which have urged him not to resell his tickets - haven't coaxed him to change his ways, although he said he could see the department's point.

"At the same time, though, I can't use all my tickets," he said. "For people who are Williams (Fund) donors, I don't think they should have any control."

Online options abound

It doesn't take more than a minute and basic knowledge of Google to find tickets to virtually any KU men's basketball game - or any local or regional sporting event, for that matter. Navigate over to eBay and more options abound. There's even an option operated by KU; however, to use it, there are some serious restrictions.

Ticket sales before men's basketball games are common in the parking lots near Allen Fieldhouse. The Kansas University athletic department is working on a policy to prohibit faculty and staff season ticket holders from reselling their men's basketball tickets.

Ticket sales before men's basketball games are common in the parking lots near Allen Fieldhouse. The Kansas University athletic department is working on a policy to prohibit faculty and staff season ticket holders from reselling their men's basketball tickets.

Lots of tickets for sale - many selling for more than the cost printed on the ticket.

One eBay user - jcaywea - had seats to two games available for sale. Two tickets to the March 3 Texas game, for seats in the upper northeastern corner, are selling for more than $75 each. Face value on the tickets is $45.

It's not so simple, though.

"Ticket face value for KU basketball tickets is misleading, because they require a large donation," the user wrote in an e-mail. "If you sold the (two) tickets for $90, most people would be losing quite a bit of money."

She said she has sold tickets to a number of games that she was unable to attend over the years, ranging in price from $20 to $150 apiece.

A few weeks ago, the athletic department launched its own online Ticket Marketplace. According to Marchiony, "upper-level Williams Fund members" can post their season tickets online for resale.

The tickets are sold for as much as 115 percent of face value, $51.75 per seat per game, with the seller retaining the full face value of the tickets, $45, and the department's ticketing company retaining a 15 percent service charge, or $6.75.

In order to purchase tickets, an individual must register with the athletic department and be a donating member of the Williams Fund or purchase a $50 membership. The University of Oklahoma has a similar system, limiting the final sales price to 15 percent above face value, OU spokesman Kenny Mossman said.

Law and policies

The eBay user - jcaywea - is not the only one who insists the value of a season ticket is more than what's printed because of the Williams Fund donation requirement. It's a popular argument for why the university has no business trying to stop those who sell tickets on the street.

Marchiony's argument is that if no one wanted to donate money, the athletic department still would sell tickets to the events - meaning that the donations are not an addition to the price, but rather a way to set an order for who may purchase tickets first.

"If 16,000 people wanted to buy season tickets and none of them wanted to donate money, we'd still have to seat the building," he said.

Donations range from the minimum, $100, up into the tens of thousands of dollars or more. The vast majority of these donations, 80 percent, are tax-deductible as contributions to an educational institution.

The more that's donated, the more perks - including where seats are located - are accumulated.

Other universities - Notre Dame for instance - have policies strictly prohibiting any reselling of season tickets. Some - like Kansas State, Texas A&M and Southern California - choose to endorse Web sites like www.stubhub.com for ticket resales. Stubhub.com does not limit the resale price.

Recently, the Kansas Speedway began advocating for a law that would make it the only lawful vendor of tickets to the racetrack in Kansas City, Kan. The legislation is yet to be introduced in the Kansas Legislature. Similar legislation several years ago would have placed limits on all events statewide, but was unsuccessful.

There is no law, however, that prevents an entity such as KU from limiting who may buy and sell its tickets. Essentially, KU could choose not to sell tickets to someone who breaks its rules.

Comments

KS 8 years, 2 months ago

KU, butt out. Once you have sold the ticket, it is not yours anymore. What control freaks. I agree, this is a "non-problem". Lew just can't stand to see someone sell a ticket for more than he did. Greedy ole KU.

Newell_Post 8 years, 2 months ago

Let the free market handle this non-problem. All college sporting events are completely non-essential "bread and circuses" things. I see no compelling reason for any government in any form to interfere in the free commerce between buyer and seller for non-essential, entirely voluntary activities of this type. Caveat emptor. Laissez-faire. (In this case.)

cowboy 8 years, 2 months ago

I think the scalpers names are actually Lew and Jim

thomgreen 8 years, 2 months ago

Here, here. Let the free market reign. The Kansas Speedway already has a policy in place that if they catch a season ticket holder selling their tickets they could face having their tickets made invalid. They try to keep a tight grip on their market. I do not think government has any business sticking their nose in this. As far as KU, or any other entity that sells tickets, the only control they should have over scalping should on be on their immediate property.

jhkfan 8 years, 2 months ago

Why can't KU develop the same system for faculty that it does for students? They have to show ID to get in so that they can't sell tickets.

budwhysir 8 years, 2 months ago

Would this also create a problem for games played at Arrowhead, or do they print and sell thier ownt tickets for the games played there??????

optimist 8 years, 1 month ago

In the past I would have agreed with the University position on this issue but in the Lew Perkins era I feel differently. The University has made it cool to soak fans to see the Hawks live. I have no sympathy.

I personally dislike scalpers and have never sold tickets to events for more than face value. I generally give them to friends when I can't go. If no friends want them I may sell them to someone I don't know very well but never for more than face value.

Scalpers create an inflated market price by acquiring a lot of tickets thus reducing the supply of tickets that is only resolved on game day in front of Allen when people who strongly desire to see the game are willing to pay a higher price than they ordinarily would have. I equate them to these people to spam email about hot stocks right after they buy a bunch of it. Then people buy it believing the emails and the spammer makes a bunch of money and the guy who buys the stock at the inflated price gets the shaft. Scalpers are just as bad in my view.

compmd 8 years, 1 month ago

So the athletics department wants to threaten professors, and the university will stand by and let this happen?

"There's a difference between faculty and staff doing it and season-ticket holders doing it."

So, its ok for the people who pay you piles of cash to resell their tickets, but not ok for a professor to do so because he gets a discount, eh Jim? What punitive measures would be taken against faculty? Any professors here who would be able to fill us in since the article didn't? I'd LOVE to see the public fallout of the university punishing tenured professors because the athletics department doesn't like them.

bd 8 years, 1 month ago

Cast system is alive and well at KU.

Alfred_W 8 years, 1 month ago

For what it's worth, please note the following correction:

Not counting Williams fund donation, regular ticket price is $1800 per PAIR not per seat. This is $300 more than the faculty/staff price for two seats.

The article makes it sound like the staff discount is more than 50% - it actually amounts to about $5 per ticket.

As far as the new policy goes...good luck with that, fellas - you'll need it!

sourpuss 8 years, 1 month ago

Really, this is just KU being cheesed that GASP someone DARES to MAKE MONEY off of their athletes. By gum, if anyone is going to exploit these young men and women for profit, it is the university! Well, more specifically, the athletic department. I seriously doubt the English department is seeing the windfall. And what is really gagging gross about all of this is that the margin of "profit" is inconsequential. Wow, someone made a couple of hundred bucks over the course of a season for seats he didn't want his rump in. Good grief, how, just HOW petty can you be, KU Athletics?

shirinisb 8 years, 1 month ago

Why doesn't KU go after the drunk dumbasses that drive all over campus trying to run things/people over instead of scalpers?

jackv444 8 years, 1 month ago

If there is not a state or city law prohibiting scalping, how can KU create their own?

Mkh 8 years, 1 month ago

I've got to join in the calls here for Lew's head and whoever else is behind these attacks on KU season ticketholders. KU Athletic Dept. already rapes season ticket holders. Every year we have to pay more and more money to get worse and worse seats.

I about lost it a few years ago when they re-did the seating arrangements so the Dept. could rake in even more money.

They took away the seats that Phog Allen gave to my grandfather when the place opened in 1955, we basically would have to put up a small house as collateral to keep them. Rather than do that, they got told where to shove it.

This people are discraceful is the pursuit of the almighty dollar. Mr. Allen would be ashamed.

Mike Blur 8 years, 1 month ago

I echo the sentiments of everyone here, and I'll take it a step further. The KU Athletic Corporation was created to be separate from the University itself, and it should have its tax-exempt status REVOKED, hereto and forthwith.

An alleged non-profit that is so naked in its greediness deserves the beatdown from the tax man.

thanksforcoming 8 years, 1 month ago

Is it scalping if you sell the tickets for face value. Or are they saying you can't sell your ticket at all?

Tiamak 8 years, 1 month ago

To the guy that said scalpers are no different than spammers, so what do you call it when you go to the movies and the movie theater sells you a box of popcorn for $4.50 and a soda for $3.50 knowing it only cost a few cents to make. Or the same way you buy a car and the price is marked up above the MSRP. Ticket selling is a billon dollar business and KU wants its share buy any means it can get it.

Anybody, that sides with the athletic department is just siding with the big brother I will watch over you rule. Bottom line is the athletic department doesn't want any competition; they don't want the general fan to go to the game because they know the general fan can not afford to spend the type of money they are asking you to donate. You turn your ticket back in to the athletic department, someone else buys a registration to purchase tickets through the athletic department and captain Lew and Jim turn around and resale you that exact same ticket that was already sold. May it be for face value or for a hundred dollars that is the exact same thing they are trying to make illegal, the reselling of tickets.

Why hasn't the athletic department said anything about their good friends at Ace Sports or other tickets sources like Stubhub, that mark the prices far higher than the street vendor. KU's problem is that there are two many black guys selling tickets and I guess they figure that the ones that are on the basketball court and the football field are just about enough for the university. Yes the majority of huslters are black but what about the non black fans that sell the tickets to the hustlers and the non black fans that stand right in front of the ticket office and sell their tickets without any problem sounds like a double standard?

Whatever you the consumer demands there is always a mark up, be it a basketball or football tickets, a box of popcorn, or a car. Damn near everything in this country is marked up or better yet scalped if it is a commodity that you want or need. So to the person that said scalpers are no better than spammers next time you go to McDonalds and you order your favorite value meal try asking old Ronald how much money he is making off you? I bet you that Big Mac cost about twenty cents to make and guess what he charged you about fifty times that amount, far as I know scalping or reselling tickets doesn't raise your cholesterol!

EvanstonReader 8 years, 1 month ago

Folks, it is not like KU is reselling them for a higher price, they are trying to control the price to keep it lower. If any thing, they are allowing those who cannot afford season tickets the ability to see a game with out paying 2 to 5 times as much. Furthermore I think it is tacky for the faculty and staff to resell their tickets, especially on Ebay. How do you live in the Lawrence area and not know someone who would like to go to the game and be willing to pay the face value. I wonder how many of them buy the discount tickets just to resell them.

What would really solve the problem is if people would not sell/buy their tickets to/from the professional scalpers (if you have ever been to any such event you know who they are). If I ever have any spare tickets to an event that I cannot find someone who can use it before I arrive at the event I look for another fan that would like it. I refuse to sell the ticket to scalpers and I have, in the past, had to just take the ticket in with me.

The scalpers should be bearing the heat of this discussion not KU. And I personally laud Lew and the gang for developing ways of generating revenue for KU and KU Athletics that is not in the form of more taxes. Why should taxpayers that are not fans or who cannot afford higher taxes pay for these things if people who are fans are whiling to pay more?

Staci Dark Simpson 8 years, 1 month ago

What about ticket brokers like Ace? They sell their tickets for more than the right outside the arena scalpers do? Why do people buy them? If you just want to throw your money around throw some over here!!

KEITHMILES05 8 years, 1 month ago

It is obvious many of you have no idea how tickets are sold. If you have ever gone to Ebay this year there have been hundreds of them listed by professional ticket brokers. Those are the ones Lew and Jim should be outraged looking at their asking prices.

There's not a damn thing they will be able to do other than to keep scalpers away from AFH and Memorial Stadium. Other than that they can yell all they want but they will be powerless to do anything.

a2thek 8 years, 1 month ago

oh know....watch out ebay the univ of Kansas is coming after you.

I guess nobody cares about the resale of tickets at Memorial Stadium.

TheOriginalCA 8 years, 1 month ago

I don't like seeing the spare change beggers out there at the corners and curbsides scalping tickets and behaving as they do. Most of these guys are LHS dropout thugs who could be seen at Veterans Park "owning" the basketball court, doing drugs, and only allowing "their crowd" to play ball. It's the SAME GUYS in both places.. trust me.. I see them every time I go to a game and I know most of them by name and I can't stand any of them. At the very least, these guys should NOT be allowed to do this on KU property and I see nothing wrong with KUAD laying down these rules. Other than that, yes, scalping should be allowed as long as the scalpers don't block sidewalks, go onto someone else's private property without permission from the owner.

Mkh 8 years, 1 month ago

On the other hand, why should you get to keep the seats forever ? That doesnt seem fair to other fans.

Did those other fans also make donations to the University for the past 50 years? If so, then they have just as much right.

It's not fair to cancel out 50 years of contributions from the people who helped build this program; and then just say ok let's start all over...start the bidding.

3e8 8 years, 1 month ago

Nothing to see here, let's move on.

KU is selling Jayhawks tickets for less than the market price. And by market-price, I mean the price that enough people are willing to pay to fill up the Phog. Unless KU raises the price of the tickets, takes drastic un-American action against the scalp-ees i.e. dedicated fans that don't want to go to every game or camp out, adds game-seats, or reduces the number of reserved season tickets, scalping will probably continue to be "a problem." Any resources spent combating it will be a waste of time/money.

Phog67 4 years, 11 months ago

If you own something and you no longer want it, you can give it away, sell it or toss it. There is no more to it.

I bought a home and sold it for more than I paid for it.

I bought an Art Deco figurine and sold it for more than I paid for it.

I bought KU tickets and sold them for face value one time and for more than face value another time.

It's MY BUSINESS!!!! It's MY DECISION!!!

Pretty soon, every freaking thing is going to be illegal!

ENOUGH!!!

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