Monday, August 14, 2006

Higher Ticket Prices!

There are several different articles about several fans suing the Chicago Cubs for scalping their own tickets to games.

How would this happen?

According to all reports, the Cubs set up their own company, Wrigley Field Premium Tickets, owned by the same company that owns the Cubs (the Tribune Company), run by a Vice President of the Chicago Cubs, and had the Cubs do the accounting.

Since it was adopted in 1923, Illinois' Ticket Scalping Act states that entities that put on sporting events can sell a ticket for more than the face value.

Apparently, the Cubs sold the tickets to Wrigley Field Premium Tickets at face value and then WFPT sold tickets at a much higher rate.

Here, it seems as if the judge's opinion is as follows: Although both companies (the Cubs and WFPT) are owned by the same parent company (the Tribune Company), WFPT does not actually hold the sporting event. Apparently, neither does the Tribune Company. Therefore, WFPT can sell tickets at a higher rate than the face value.

All reports say that the plaintiff fans will appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

It is no stretch to see how this can harm consumers. A team can sell tickets to a sibling corporation, and then the sibling corporation raises prices through the roof. The team, being a part of this larger corporation, keeps all the profits of the larger price. The "face price" for tickets could possibly NEVER go up, but the reality would be different as the prices are raised significantly by the sibling company.

Also, throughout the years, many have asked if the Tribune Company (which publishes the Chicago Tribune) has a conflict of interest in covering the Chicago Cubs, the baseball team it owns. Why? Because the Tribune Company holds the sporting events. The Cubs might be a subsidiary of the Tribune, but the relationship is there to make many wonder. Why is a sibling company treated differently? It is all a part of the one.

(Another strange example of the lines between subsidiaries bleeding: ABC Sports will change to "ESPN on ABC" starting in September.)

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