Eric Church can­cels 25,000 tick­ets bought by scalpers

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - KRISTIN M. HALL

NASHVILLE — Coun­try star Eric Church has been bat­tling ticket scalpers for years as his pop­u­lar­ity grew and he be­gan sell­ing out are­nas. But he’s taken his big­gest step yet by can­celling more than 25,000 tick­ets to his spring tour that were pur­chased by scalpers and putting them back on sale for fans to pur­chase.

The singer told The As­so­ci­ated Press he’s go­ing to do ev­ery­thing he can do to stop what he calls a crim­i­nal or­ga­ni­za­tion that’s mak­ing mil­lions. “They buy thou­sands of tick­ets across the U.S., not just mine, and they end up mak­ing a for­tune,” Church said in an in­ter­view. “All of this is fraud.”

The tick­ets were re­leased on Tues­day for the re­main­ing stops of the 60-city tour. Pre­vi­ously pur­chased tick­ets for his tour stops in Canada, which start Feb. 28 in On­tario, have al­ready been re­leased. Church plays the Air Canada Cen­tre in Toronto March 2.

Church has used this same method to can­cel tick­ets pur­chased by scalpers for a few in­di­vid­ual shows pre­vi­ously, but never on this scale and few artists are as metic­u­lous as Church is when it comes to ver­i­fy­ing who is pur­chas­ing tick­ets for his shows.

In a re­port last year, in­ves­ti­ga­tors in New York At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Sch­nei­der­man’s of­fice cited a sin­gle bro­ker that bought 1,012 tick­ets within one minute to a U2 concert at Madi­son Square Gar­den when they went on sale on Dec. 8, 2014, de­spite the ven­dor’s claim of a four-ticket limit. By day’s end, that bro­ker and one other had 15,000 tick­ets to U2’s North Amer­i­can shows.

The re­port said third-party bro­kers re­sell tick­ets on sites like StubHub and Tick­et­sNow at av­er­age mar­gins of 49 per cent above face value and some­times more than 10 times the price.

Over the years Church has tried a va­ri­ety of meth­ods to crack down on re­selling tick­ets for money. He’s used pa­per­less tick­et­ing, where buy­ers have to show a credit card at the door of the venue. He’s also tried in­creas­ing the price of the tick­ets to make them less ap­peal­ing to re­sellers and has in­creased screen­ing of pur­chases through his fan club, which has ac­cess to the best seats be­fore the gen­eral pub­lic, ac­cord­ing to Field­ing Lo­gan, one of Church’s man­agers at Q Prime South.

Church ad­mits that a lot of th­ese meth­ods are ar­du­ous for the av­er­age fan, but he said he doesn’t want his most loyal fans to pay in­flated prices to see him per­form.

MIKE COPPOLA, GETTY IM­AGES

Eric Church is crack­ing down on scalped tick­ets for his 60-city tour, which in­cludes Toronto.

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