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Supply and demand


No longer a shady practice, ticket scalping got the A-OK from City Council.

Clifton Adcock April 25th, 2012

The Oklahoma City Council voted unanimously last week to repeal a 30-year-old ordinance capping the amount one can legally charge for an event ticket, while also creating a ticket-scalper buffer zone around Chesapeake Energy Arena.

OKC Thunder officials approve of the new ordinance.
Shannon Cornman

The process to revise the city’s ticket-scalping ordinance was initiated several months ago when a measure came before the council to raise the ticket-scalping cap from its previous level of 50 cents, as well as put a scalping-free zone around the arena. That proposal was met with resistance from the City Council. A revised version repealed the ordinance, but had requirements and regulations regarding Internet ticket sales.

Again, the council, and several scalpers who spoke at the meeting were not thrilled with that change.

At its April 17 meeting, the council entertained four versions: the previous two versions of the ordinance, a third choice that simply repealed the law, and a fourth that repealed the law and set a buffer zone around the arena.

The council unanimously approved the fourth option.

Revisions were needed to bring the policies up-to-date, City Manager Jim Couch said.

“We needed to do something.

Our system was antiquated and didn’t meet up with the technology and Internet stuff going on.”

Under the ordinance, the fine for scalping tickets within the buffer zone ranges from $500 for a first-time offense to $1,200 for subsequent offenses.

Special Projects Manager Tom Anderson said the buffer zone around the arena is not unique.

“The zone helps protect event-goers from possibly purchasing fraudulent tickets or mistakenly paying more than the box office charges,” he said.

The Oklahoma City Thunder has given the council’s action its seal of approval.

“It creates an appropriate distance between the arena and those who want to resell tickets,” said Dan Mahoney, Thunder vice president of corporate communications and community relations.

Both Couch and Mahoney said one of the big issues going forward will be fraudulent tickets, and that the public should be educated as to where legitimate tickets can be purchased.

“We always encourage our fans to use the only Thunder-authorized resale opportunity, our online Thunder TicketExchange, which is safe and authentic,” Mahoney said.

 
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