Golden State Warriors

StubHub suing Warriors and TicketMaster for “illegally excluding competition”

Oracle Arena NBA Playoffs Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors rarely have had problems filling Oracle Arena, and lately that’s been a massive understatement. The Warriors have sold out 118 straight home games and over 10,500 fans are on a waiting list for season tickets.

StubHub believes the Warriors and Ticketmaster are trying to keep all of the profits and fees from the reseller market for themselves, which is why they’ve taken action with a lawsuit against both parties.

Here’s a sampling of what StubHub is alleging.

— The number of Warriors listings on StubHub this season has decreased by 80%.

— Ticketmaster “refused to deliver tickets to fans who have purchased them over Ticketmaster’s Primary Ticket Platform until only a few days before the relevant event, delaying the delivery of their tickets for weeks or even months. Ticketmaster has done this to prevent these fans from reselling their tickets on competing Secondary Ticket Exchanges.”

— “If the anticompetitive actions complained of herein are not stopped, Ticketmaster is likely to seek to replicate them with other teams and entertainment venues throughout the United States, restricting more consumers to a single Secondary Ticket Exchange and forcing competitors and innovators, such as StubHub, to exit the business.”

— “Approximately 75% of Warriors tickets are sold as season ticket packages and virtually all of these are sold through Ticketmaster’s Primary Ticket Platform.”

— The Warriors require season ticket holders to resell their tickets online only through Ticketmaster.

Specifically, the Warriors “Non-Transferability” rule states: “Sale or resale of any [Warriors] tickets by unauthorized means is prohibited . . . . Authorized resale of your tickets via online means is limited to [Ticketmaster’s]” [Emphasis added]. Although there is no ambiguity in these restrictions, one season ticket holder asked the Warriors to confirm what they considered an “unauthorized means” of selling secondary tickets. The Warriors responded: “Any tickets being resold outside” of Ticketmaster.”

— The Warriors have threatened to cancel season tickets for those who don’t follow these instructions.

As one ticket holder explained:

Prior to the season, the Golden State Warriors had told us that they were forcing brokers to exclusively list on TM+, the official resale marketplace for the NBA. We decided not to oblige and see what transpired. Today (late-December 2014), I got a phone call from the Golden State Warriors concerning this same situation. . . . For the 11 home games so far this season, our breakdown of TM+ sales were below their standards. . . . If we followed their request from the beginning of the season, our numbers should be 100% sold via TM+ across the board. Given this disparity, the Golden State Warriors stated that if this number didn’t improve with our remaining inventory to close to 100%, we would not be given playoff invoices and not have the option to renew our seats for the upcoming season; but, if we were to oblige their current request and sell exclusively through TM+, our accounts would be ‘all set.’ . . . We have stopped listing on StubHub.

— Warriors ticket sales employees are instructed to “hammer” the point that tickets must be resold through Ticketmaster.

— StubHub also complains about a “misleading advertising campaign designed to cast doubt upon the reliability and authenticity of tickets purchased on competing Secondary Ticket Exchanges, particularly StubHub.” I assume they mean this spot below, where a guy pretends to scalp plane tickets at an airport.

Warriors tickets have soared in price in recent years (with increases anywhere from 46% to 150% when comparing 2012-13 to 2015-16), and that’s ahead of their impending move to San Francisco, planned for 2018. Also, it looks like the Warriors charge a more expensive “reseller” price for those with season tickets in the four cheapest sections.

warriors season ticket pricing

With an enormous waiting list, it appears — if we can believe StubHub’s claims — that the Warriors are using the high demand to their advantage by dictating the terms which season tickets can be resold.

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