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Ticketmaster Canada COO warns legislating supply and demand 'futile'

Big concerts at Rogers Arena could return as early as this fall. (Photo source: Rogers Arena)

Head of Ticketmaster Canada says as long as people are willing to pay more than face value, 'cheaters' will profit

'To try to legislate supply and demand or pricing is really futile,' says Ticketmaster Canada COO

Close to 17 billion 'bots' identified, blocked in North America last year, compared to six billion in 2016

TORONTO (NEWS1130) – The head of Ticketmaster Canada is not expecting a possible crackdown on high-price event sales by the BC government to have much impact on the industry.

Patti-Anne Tarlton says as long as people are willing to pay more than face value for a chance to see their favourite artist or sports team live, ‘cheaters’ will find a way to profit from it.

“With BC, they have an eye on where governments are going in other provincial jurisdictions. Our biggest challenge is to keep pace with the demands of consumers that want tickets available always and also, you know, back to the be aware of where you’re buying the tickets in a very digital and cluttered world.”

Tarlton, who is the chief operating officer for Ticketmaster Canada, says close to 17 billion “bots” were identified and blocked in North America last year compared to six billion in 2016.

“That doesn’t mean that we have stopped every one of them. It’s an international problem. Those that are developing these robotic codes and selling them, they don’t live local. The challenge of course is enforcement of it. We invest millions to try to combat those cheaters.”

Because most bot operators aren’t local, she adds it’s difficult to stop them.

The BC government is currently developing legislation which could involve capping ticket prices, but Tarlton says, “To try to legislate supply and demand or pricing is really futile.”

She¬†credits the final tour by the Tragically Hip — after it was learned lead singer Gord Downie was dying — with prompting action by the Ontario government.

“Easy to picture in your head: There’s four million Canadians that wanted to get into those events, but there would only be a couple hundred thousand tickets.”

Ontario’s legislation includes capping ticket prices at no more than 50 per cent above face value.