Opinion

What a sell-out: How ticketing companies deny our property rights and monopolize markets

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Suhail Khan
Chairman, Conservative Inclusion Coalition
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      Suhail Khan

      Suhail A. Khan is the Fellow for Christian-Muslim Understanding at the <a href="http://www.globalengage.org/">Institute for Global Engagement</a>. He is a Washington, DC based attorney and has previously held many government positions. Khan served as Policy Director and Press Secretary for U.S. Congressman Tom Campbell (R-CA) where he worked closely on a variety of legislative initiatives, including religious freedom. More recently, Khan served as a senior political appointee with the Bush administration. He served in the White House Office of Public Liaison assisting in the President's outreach to various faith communities. Khan also served as Assistant to the Secretary for Policy under U.S. Secretary Mary Peters at the U.S. Department of Transportation. While at the Department of Transportation, Khan was awarded the Secretary's Team Award in 2005 and the Gold Medal for Outstanding Achievement in 2007.

      Khan serves on the boards of the <a href="http://www.conservative.org/">American Conservative Union</a>, the Islamic Free Market Institute, the <a href="http://www.muslimpublicservice.org/">Muslim Public Service Network</a>, the <a href="http://iarcnational.org/">Indian American Republican Council</a>, and on the <a href="http://buxtoninitiative.org/">Buxton Initiative</a> Advisory Council. He has spoken venues such as the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the Council for National Policy (CNP), the Harbour League, and the National Press Club. He has written opinion pieces for various publications including the Washington Post/Newsweek Forum On Faith.

      He was born in Boulder, Colorado to parents who emigrated to the United States from southern India. Khan is the oldest of five children, grew up in California, earned his high school diploma from St. Lawrence Academy, a private Catholic college preparatory school in Santa Clara, in 1987. He earned a B.A. in political science from University of California at Berkeley in 1991 and a J.D. from University of Iowa in 1995.

      For more information about Khan, please see the article <a href="http://www.glocal.net/blog/comments/the-muslim-in-the-white-house/"> "The Muslim In The White House"</a>.

But with restrictive ticketing, these transactions either become impossible or can only be processed through the same monopoly that sold the ticket the first time. Ticketmaster, the dominant primary ticket-seller, is owned by Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter and manager of the world’s most popular music stars. And through Live Nation, it owns or has exclusive booking rights in more than 120 major venues across the nation. Ticketmaster also owns TicketsNow, the second largest ticket resale marketplace, and operates its TicketExchange service for many sports teams and leagues, including the entire NFL. As you might predict, Ticketmaster’s restrictive tickets can often only be resold on Ticketmaster-owned resale services like TicketsNow. And as you would expect, this closed-loop monopoly leads to higher fees and poor customer service, and even allows the ticketers to set arbitrary minimum and maximum sale prices. It’s like purchasing a new car and years later finding out that you can only resell it to the original dealer and that the dealer gets to unilaterally dictate both the sale price and his cut of the transaction.

This strange attempt to thwart free market principles has already engendered legislative fights in a number of state capitols, with unusual coalitions of free market advocates and consumer rights crusaders banding together to oppose restrictive ticketing. Their message is simple: let the free market run its course, and let sports and music fans do what they wish with the tickets they buy.

Suhail A. Khan chairs the Conservative Inclusion Coalition and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Conservative Union.