When I buy a ticket for a match or a concert, I should be able to resell it
One of the most fundamental elements of our economic success is the notion of property rights. Combined with free-market capitalism and the rule of law, they provide the not-so-secret sauce that fueled the greatest engine of prosperity in human history. What is needed is a common understanding that an individual’s property is their own and they can use it as they see fit, as long as no crime is committed. As technology and innovation continue to advance and create new opportunities and markets, protecting this system becomes an ongoing effort.
Several years ago, I purchased a lightly used Volvo SUV. I didn’t buy it directly from the manufacturer, or the Volvo dealership for that matter. I used a website that connected me with sellers across the country and made the purchase from a private owner. We negotiated a suitable price for the two of us. I was aware of the service history, and by signing the contract “as is” I was entering into a caveat emptor transaction. Meaning: Volvo didn’t care, had no say, or had any authority over the purchase (I don’t think they were even aware of it). When the cash transaction was completed, the seller’s private property became mine. I’ve since put 120,000 miles on it — the car has won multiple times the purchase price.
Currently, the second-hand market for event tickets operates in a similar (albeit cheaper) way. Buyers have a series of options to find and buy tickets for sports matches, concerts or other events. They are often connected to sellers through websites or apps which ultimately create a viable competitive marketplace. Buyers and sellers are able to make informed decisions and act in the way that best suits their needs – this is free market capitalism at its core. And it must be protected from the inevitable push of crony capitalism that increasingly translates into pressures for unnecessary regulations and restrictions.
If Joe and his family have tickets but can’t attend the Tampa Bay Bucs game because their daughter just contracted COVID, and Sarah and her kids are looking for tickets because she wants to celebrate a new promotion, we should celebrate the connection of buyer and seller. There should be no impediment to market resolution needs. The market operates in opposition to government regulations that impede and restrict, hindering economic activity and growth.
Defending free markets is the mission of the James Madison Institute. That’s why we’re grateful for a proposal from Rep. Randy Fine and Senator Ed Hooper — two policymakers who get it. Their political reform would ensure that the second-hand market is protected against heavy weapons. Florida, with more sports teams, concerts and large-scale events than anywhere on the planet, is a ripe target for the use of regulations to stifle second-hand markets and generate anti-competitive advantages.
Just like Volvo shouldn’t be able to dictate what I do with my car now that it’s my private property, no one should be forcing you to waste tickets to an event you can’t (or don’t want to) to assist. Representative Fine and Senator Hooper would protect this right by ensuring that ticket buyers always have the option of purchasing a freely transferable ticket. It would also prohibit ticket issuers from penalizing ticket buyers who choose to transfer, resell, give away or donate their tickets.
These are the types of ideas we should see in a free state like Florida – effectively using state politics to protect free markets and ensure that private property rights are not just enforced but celebrated. I don’t want Volvo telling me how or when I can sell my car, and I don’t want anyone telling me what I can do with the concert ticket that I can’t use either. I hope Rep. Fine and Senator Hooper’s concept is both popular and bipartisan as it is being debated in Tallahassee this session.
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Sal Nuzzo is the vice president of policy at the James Madison Institute.