A firestorm over usurious pricing for Bruce Springsteen concerts in New Jersey has prompted Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin to call for hearings into Ticketmaster’s pricing policies after some premium seats have surpassed the four-figure range.
“I am extremely troubled by the actions of Ticketmaster and other vendors, whose policies have left so many unsuspecting fans with outrageous ticket prices and fees, making attendance to certain Jersey concerts unaffordable for working folks,” Coughlin said in a statement on Thursday. It’s highly unfair that only the wealthiest can afford access to a quality show, under these circumstances.”
But the details of the hearings have still not been worked out, Coughlin’s staff has told the New Jersey Globe.
It’s not clear whether the hearings will be assigned to a standing panel. Coughlin hinted that it could go to Consumer Affairs, chaired by Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Washington Township), by noting in his statement that “we have strong consumer protection laws in our state.” He could also assign the hearings to Tourism, Gaming and the Arts or any committee the speaker picks. Or Coughlin could create a select committee formed to handle this one issue.
There’s also no decision on timing, although it would almost certainly come before Springsteen’s April 14, 2023 concert at the Prudential Center in Newark – his first home state concert in seven years.
The biggest question will be whether Coughlin asks the Assembly to arm the committee with subpoena power that would permit a request for records and the authority to compel witness testimony.
“Obscene ticket pricing and scalping are, unfortunately, real issues,” stated Coughlin. “Working to make our state more affordable for all residents to enjoy, especially as inflation has left people struggling, it’s our responsibility to investigate current pricing practices and the Assembly will conduct a hearing to ensure fairness and affordability in the process.”
The speaker also noted that one of the goals of the probe could be to determine if New Jersey needs to update current laws governing ticket pricing and scalping.
“Price gouging, particularly in the primary market, cannot and will not be tolerated,” Coughlin said.