Bucs pressured to back off ticket stance
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Ticketmaster and the Buccaneers backpedaled Thursday following a call from New York state's top lawyer.
They initially said they'd only sell tickets for Sunday's wild-card game between the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Floridians. That policy, instituted last week after the playoff schedule was released, would have kept New Yorkers from getting seats.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said he contacted Ticketmaster on Thursday about potential legal problems with the prohibition. Ticketmaster agreed to eliminate the Florida residency restrictions "the same day," Cuomo said.
"It raises issues, interstate commerce issues," the attorney general said in a phone interview. "There are constitutional prohibitions against states discriminating against other states' residents or impeding business by other states. There are possible discrimination issues."
Ticketmaster released a statement that said the Buccaneers had asked to restrict ticket sales for the game at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium.
"We see no legal issue with a team or venue choosing to make certain tickets available only to local residents for a particular event; however, with our client the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' permission, and as a goodwill effort, we lifted the restrictions earlier today," spokesman Joseph Freeman said in the statement.
Cuomo said he was also concerned that the "virtually unprecedented" restrictions would lead to consumer fraud and schemes as Giants fans looked for other ways to get their hands on tickets.
Ticketmaster made the request known to the Bucs, who agreed to change the policy.
"Earlier today we received a request from Ticketmaster to open sales outside of Florida for the remaining 500 tickets," spokesman Jeff Kamis said. "It was determined that due to our long relationship with Ticketmaster and numerous requests from our Buccaneers fans out of state, we would honor their request."
Tampa Bay won the NFC South Division with a 9-7 record while the Giants finished second in the NFC East at 10-6.