It Isn’t Scalping, It’s "Price Discrimination"

The Chicago Cubs have their own ticket-reselling agency [aka scalper] which sells tickets at prices above the face value. Well, it isn’t owned by the Cubs; it is owned by the Tribune Company, which owns WGN, Wrigley Field, and the Cubs. [Thanks to Fabio Rojas of the Marginal Revolution for the link].

Some disgruntled fans filed a lawsuit against the Cubs, arguing that the team is violating the state’s anti-scalping legislation. The fans lost. The judge decided that it was really an in-house deal between the Cubs and its reseller.

“It is undisputed that Tribune Company owns the ball club and Premium,” the judge said. The Ticket Scalping Act, she said, did not prohibit a single entity like the Tribune Company from owning a sports team and a ticket brokerage, or the team from selling its tickets to its sister company.

Most importantly, the judge said, plaintiffs failed “to prove that the business relationship between them violates any law or violates custom or practice.”

Was it really disgruntled fans who were upset by the arrangement? The Cubs don’t think so:

During the week long trial in mid-August, the Cubs argued the suit was filed to benefit rival brokers who want to eliminate competition from Premium [the Cubs-owned reseller].

Aahhhhhh. The penny drops. More attempts to use the legal system to restrict competition. It seems that other agencies are allowed to charge more to fans who wait until the last minute to get tickets and/or who do not like to wait in line; they just don’t want the competition from the Cubs.

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Author: John Palmer

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