Maybe — just maybe — the monster that is Ticketmaster is about to get slapped down. They've gotten away for years with outrageous service charges on tickets, but now politicians are taking an interest — because of another shameless ploy.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is demanding a federal investigation into what happened when tickets for some Bruce Springsteen shows in the New York metro area went on sale at 10 a.m. Feb. 2. Many customers who tried to buy tickets on Ticketmaster's Web site were immediately directed to TicketsNow, a subsidiary of Ticketmaster that essentially is a marketplace for scalpers. Tickets that had been $95 suddenly were hundreds, even thousands, of dollars more.
"At 10 a.m. on Ticketmaster they were all sold out, then at 10:01 a.m. the same tickets are on TicketsNow," says Schumer. "We want to find out how did they become available at TicketsNow so fast?"
The Boss also was not happy. Springsteen called it "a pure conflict of interest'' in a letter to his fans. The Ticketmaster CEO apologized and claimed it was all an innocent attempt to help customers. Schumer does not believe it, and neither do Springsteen fans.
The oh-so-cynical New York senator suspects Ticketmaster withheld the best tickets from the public, then shuttled fans to TicketsNow.
Go get 'em, Chuck. Put the whole Ticketmaster empire under the microscope. This could get you into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Editor's Note: tbt*/Tampa Bay Times is published by the St. Petersburg Times.