December 20, 2015 7:30 pm
Updated: December 20, 2015 7:32 pm

Ontario mayor’s letter insists province stop online ticket gouging

Tickets for an upcoming Bruce Springsteen concert in Toronto were reselling for hugely inflated prices on ticket resale sites before Ticketmaster sales even opened, complains Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.

Photo by Andrew Walker/Variety/REX Shutterstock

SARNIA, Ont. — Mayor Mike Bradley’s letter to the Ontario attorney general has a joking tone, but the message is a serious one that speaks to many music fans: stop online ticket resellers from gouging concertgoers.

Bradley was shocked to see what happened when tickets for Toronto shows like Bruce Springsteen and Adele were sold out in minutes and appeared on broker sites for hugely inflated prices.

READ MORE: Adele shows across Canada sell out in minutes and fans feel frustrated

He wrote to the attorney general insisting on better consumer protections for concertgoers.

“Once the tickets for the Toronto concert were put on sale they were sold out in minutes. On the online ticket broker sites the prices were often three to five times higher than the face value of the seats,” he said.


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Then the Bruce Springsteen fan in him truly takes over, and the letter continues riddled with song references.

“Bruce fans had High Hopes they would be Dancing in the Dark on the floor of the Air Canada Centre… Instead, fans have gotten the Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out and will not be able to relive their Glory Days,” it continues.

Bradley doesn’t take issue with scalpers reselling for a profit – even though reselling a ticket for more than face value is technically illegal under Ontario’s Ticket Speculation Act – but insists that price caps are needed.

Many Adele fans were priced out of the market this week after tickets sold out within 30 minutes Thursday, then appeared for sale on StubHub with some sellers asking over $5,000 for seats in the Air Canada Centre balcony.


“This is now becoming the norm,” Bradley told Global News. “You saw something like 8,000 tickets for sale across Toronto and people still couldn’t get tickets and they had to go to StubHub.

“[Ontario] just brought in legislation to control payday loans. We control credit card interest rates. So why couldn’t we put a reasonable cap on ticket prices?” he asked.

“People shouldn’t be denied buying a reasonable ticket at a reasonable price.”

Bradley’s letter adds a snide postscript poking fun at some music fans.

“The same practice has happened to Nickelback and Celine Dion fans; however, I did not speak up at that time because I believe when people make poor life choices they should be responsible for their own actions.”

He says he’s gotten some good-natured responses from Dion fans but isn’t concerned about Nickelback blowback, because “Nickelback fans don’t read.”

He says the attorney general hasn’t responded yet, but he’s hopeful that the government will act.

“With the stroke of a pen you could being some care and control to the price of tickets and these agencies would have to abide by that, say they can’t sell for more than twice face value,” he suggests.

“I think the government should get the message that they’ve got a lot of unhappy consumers and this is something they can take the lead on, which will cost them nothing to act on.”



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