National Consumers League

NCL's Breyault testifies in support of legislation to reform the rigged live event ticket industry

May 24, 2016

Contact: Cindy Hoang, National Consumers League,, (202) 207-2832 

Washington, DC - The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, today testified before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade in support of legislation to reform a live event ticketing marketplace that is rigged against fans.

Currently, less than half of available tickets go up for sale to the general public for a typical event. For example, less than 300,000 of Adele’s 750,000 available tickets from her 2016 North American Tour were made available to the general public. The majority of tickets are diverted to fanclubs, premium credit card holders, and the stars themselves, who often scalp their own tickets on the secondary market. Of the minority of tickets that ever make it to general sale, Ticketmaster has stated that 60 percent of those tickets may be purchased by sophisticated computer programs called “bots” that can electronically jump the line to buy hundreds or thousands of tickets in a matter of seconds. Those tickets are then resold through brokers at greatly inflated prices.

“The modern ticket-buying experience is too often an exercise in frustration for fans who want only to see their favorite artists or sports teams at a fair price,” said John Breyault, NCL’s vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud, who spoke at the hearing. “Due to a backdoor system of private sales, secret ticket diversions, rampant use of ticket-buying ‘bots’ and unscrupulous broker practices, the average music and sports fan falls victim to a rigged system. To address the broken ticket marketplace, Congressional action is sorely needed.”

NCL spoke in support of H.R. 5245, the Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing Act of 2016 (“BOSS ACT”), introduced by Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ). The BOSS ACT offers comprehensive solutions that will significantly improve fan ticket buying experiences. By requiring greater transparency in the primary ticketing market, prohibiting egregious broker practices like undisclosed speculative ticketing, and limiting the ability of connected insiders to divert tickets to the secondary market, the BOSS ACT would lead to critical structural reforms in the ticketing marketplace.

To access Breyault’s full testimony, click here.


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit