Touring

Ticketmaster President: Reps. Pascrell & Porter Are Wrong, Company Has Processed More Than $600M in Refunds

Jared Smith
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Jared Smith

The following letter was submitted to Billboard by Ticketmaster President Jared Smith in response to a letter posted on Billboard earlier today by U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Katie Porter (D-CA). Last month Ticketmaster revealed its plan to offer refunds for all canceled and postponed Live Nation and AEG shows.

Respectfully, Mr. Pascrell and Ms. Porter either misunderstand or elect to misrepresent the realities of our business and refund policies, as we outlined in our April 17 response letter to them. It is entirely disingenuous and flatly wrong to claim that we have “pointed the finger at others.” To reiterate, Ticketmaster is a platform that allows event organizers to sell tickets directly to consumers. The fact is, the money we need to refund fans is held by our clients, many of whom are the same independent venues, promoters and arts companies the representatives claim they are trying to help. Our clients are the lifeblood of the industry. They are the employers of the stagehands, performers, box office, concessions and security workers, and the struggling artists whose livelihoods have been decimated by government-mandated shutdowns of our industry across the country.

To be clear, we could not agree more completely that many fans are struggling and need cash refunds. In fact, we believe all fans deserve an opportunity to receive a cash refund if they choose to do so. That is exactly why we have committed to doing more than anyone else in the industry to assist affected fans. Here is where we stand:

· Ticketmaster is currently offering refunds on 100% of canceled events and has already worked with event organizers to begin offering refunds on more than 80% of the nearly 30,000 events that have been canceled, postponed or rescheduled.
· So far, we have already processed over $600 million in refunds, a number that grows every day.
· In fact, our largest clients are leading the way. Live Nation is now offering refunds on 95% of rescheduled shows and working hard to move postponed shows into new dates or cancel them.
· In contrast, not a single one of the other major ticket marketplaces (Stubhub, Vivid Seats, Gametime and SeatGeek) are offering cash refunds on postponed or rescheduled events, under any circumstances.
· Even worse, the largest ticket resale marketplace in the U.S., StubHub, is now not even providing refunds on any canceled events.

Courtesy Photo

Regardless, we will continue to do our work with an entire industry that has come together to overcome these challenges in unprecedented ways. Large and small alike, our clients are all dealing with the same issues and are all working diligently with us to do right by their customers. We welcome the opportunity to discuss our situation, and that of our industry, with any member of Congress who is interested in learning more.

Sincerely,
Jared Smith
President