3 ticket resellers sue Madison Square Garden for canceling season tickets

Larry Hutcher, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Partner of DHC, is representing ticket resale firms suing Madison Square Garden for canceling their Knicks and Rangers season tickets. Read more as reported by the New York Daily News below:

Three ticket resale firms sued Madison Square Garden on Thursday for canceling their season tickets and forcing customers to buy those seats through the Garden’s company.

The firms say they’ve had an arrangement with the Garden for 15 years to buy the same season seats and the new policy violates MSG’s promise of renewal rights as well as a 2007 city law that “created a free market for the resale of tickets to sporting and theatrical events.”

Larry Hutcher, the lawyer for the three firms, said thousands of tickets are at stake for Knicks and Rangers games — in all price ranges — but the net effect on fans will be higher costs as the Garden put a floor under prices for the hotly sought seats.

Hutcher said the lawyers will seek a temporary restraining order in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday or Monday.

Madison Square Garden spokeswoman Kimberly Kern issued a statement saying “this lawsuit is without merit. … We are confident the court will come to the same conclusion.”

Smile For Kids, S4K Entertainment Group and JAJ Executive Services say “a significant portion” of their revenue comes from the resale of Knicks and Rangers tickets to individual and corporate clients.

They also said MSG is refusing to renew their season tickets solely because they are resellers, even though they have been buying the same seats for 15 years and investing in the teams by purchasing boxes.

The new policy limits people to purchasing eight season tickets. The companies were notified of the policy March 30 when they were told that they could not renew their subscriptions.

Ezra Azizo, president of Smile 4 Kids, said in an affidavit that MSG defended its position by saying the policy ensures “many of their valued fans” will now be able to buy tickets. He called that a “pretext.”

“MSG seeks to destroy ticket resellers by depriving them of inventory. Once the resellers are destroyed, MSG can reclaim inventory and collect additional fees and revenue by steering all ticket resales through its resale partner, TicketsNow.com.”

He said the result will be higher prices because while resellers can sell a $50 ticket for $10 when demand is low, MSG won’t sell it for less than $50. He said luxury $800 seats can be sold in the market for as little as $250, but MSG won’t go below $500.

“Our ticket policy simply limits the amount of tickets an individual can own or control in order to give many more fans access to Knicks and Rangers games. There is no restriction on the resale of tickets — any ticket we sell can be resold in any manner a buyer chooses. We do not single out professional sellers — they are able to buy tickets just like anyone else, and have the same ticket limits as everyone else,” the Garden said in its statement.

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