Lawmakers say the spirit of Tennessee’s ticket price transparency law isn’t being followed

By: - October 20, 2023 6:01 am
The Ryman Auditorium. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Pull up tickets on StubHub to see Jason Isbell at Ryman Auditorium Friday night, and a buyer might think it costs $90 for seats on the first level. But make a click, and the price jumps 48% to $133.

This type of ticket pricing isn’t supposed to happen in Tennessee because lawmakers passed legislation requiring online ticket sales to provide transparency in their pricing. In practice, this means when a person enters a ticket reseller’s site, the price they see on the front end is supposed to be the final price they pay, including all fees.

“Marketing is all psychology,” said Sen. Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville. “I’m sure psychologically [companies] love the idea of having a ticket there that people aren’t going to find out cost more until they click on it.”

The ticketing transparency bill — sponsored by Campbell and Rep. Caleb Hemmer, D-Nashville — responded to growing frustration among the public over the increase in hidden ticket fees on concerts and sporting events.

For several years, Ticketmaster drew much of the public hidden fee frustrations, but a look at the company’s ticket sales today shows it’s following the new law.

VividSeats shows tickets for next Sunday’s Titans game costing $262 for a first-level 50-yard line seat. But one click later, and the price jumps 36% to $356.

On Ticketmaster, a seat in the same row as the VividSeats shows a cost of $368.48 with the disclaimer a $2.95 fee will be added at checkout.


Hemmer said Ticketmaster worked with lawmakers on ticketing transparency legislation and was glad to hear they were following it.

The law requires a reseller to “not increase the price of a ticket sold through a website after a consumer has selected a ticket for purchase.”

By this measure the companies might be following the law, but it’s up to Tennessee Attorney General’s Office to enforce and inform companies if they aren’t.

Amy Wilhite, spokesperson for Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, said the office was aware of situation, but would not comment further.

When asked if he thought VividSeats or StubHub were following the spirit of the legislation, Hemmer had a simple response: “Definitely not.”


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Adam Friedman
Adam Friedman

Adam Friedman is a reporter with the Tennessee Lookout. He has a particular love for data and using numbers to explain all kinds of topics. If you have a story idea, he'd love to hear it. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 615-249-8509.