by Ted Cox
I'm not normally one to side with a corporation -- much less a big-bucks, major-league sports franchise -- against average citizens in anything resembling the right to privacy, but I love what's going on in Massachusetts, where the New England Patriots have won a court judgment forcing StubHub to release the names of season-ticket holders scalping tickets online. The Pats have a ban on their tickets being sold above face value, and state courts have sided with the team, in part because of state laws that allow a maximum $2 markup along with some form of service fee. (Some $125 tix have sold for more than a grand on StubHub.)
True, StubHub, a subsidiary of eBay, argues that the Pats are just trying to bolster their own TeamExchange service, run by TicketMaster. (The corporate ties run deep here.) But TeamExchange sells no tickets above face value. Compare all this to what typically goes on in Illinois and Chicago, where scalping has been taken off the streets and pretty much moved online or legislated to the rich and powerful through so-called ticket brokers, where sports teams do their best to discourage ticket resale at any price -- fearing it cuts into additional ticket sales -- and where the Cubs and the Tribune Co. have their own operation reselling tickets at far above face value, a practice endorsed by local courts in a ridiculous ruling and copied by others like the White Sox. It's not clear if the Pats will follow through on threats to revoke the season tickets of those who resell them, but if only our local franchises used their immense power to be so altruistic, albeit in draconian fashion.