N.J. Speaker calls for hearings over ‘exorbitant’ concert ticket prices

Bruce Springsteen plays a guitar on stage.

File photo: Bruce Springsteen (Vince Bucci/Invision/AP, file)

After reports that some concert tickets in New Jersey recently sold for thousands of dollars, a top state lawmaker said he plans to take action to hold online ticket vendors accountable.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) announced he will call for hearings over the issue after NJ.com reported that some tickets for an upcoming Bruce Springsteen show sold for more than $4,000 last week.

“I’ve heard and understand that the exorbitant ticket prices in connection with initially Bruce Springsteen, but it’s certainly throughout other events as well,” Coughlin said. “I’ve heard from any number of constituents and others about [it] constantly being too expensive, and the fees being too high.”

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Coughlin did not specify when hearings would take place but said lawmakers want to ensure that leisure remains affordable for New Jersey residents.

“We have terrific venues, we attract terrific artists to perform…and it’s important for people, all people, to be able to get out and enjoy those things. And so I think we need to take a good hard look at how things are being conducted, how prices are determined, and how fees are assessed and look at it in a holistic way and see if there are things we ought to be doing to stick up for New Jerseyans,” Coughlin said.

Speaker Coughlin declined to say whether he thought vendors, like Ticketmaster, engaged in price gouging.

“We’re not going to jump to conclusions,” he said. “We’re not going to tolerate price gouging but that’s the point of having a hearing, to find out what’s going on.”

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Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

NJ.com later reported that Ticketmaster said only 1% of Bruce Springsteen tickets sold for $4,000 or more.

Affordability, a perennial issue in New Jersey, has been a top priority for state officials, after a tight gubernatorial election last November, which some politicians and pundits viewed as a referendum on the state’s cost of living.

According to CNBC, New Jersey is one of the most expensive U.S. states to live in.

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