The football team maintains it has the right to regulate the resale of its tickets under Massachusetts law.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

October 19, 2007

2 Min Read

Online ticket reseller StubHub, which is owned by eBay, has been ordered to turn over the names of 13,000 persons who have bought or sold tickets to New England Patriots football games. Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Allan van Gestel issued the order in response to a lawsuit.

The lawsuit was instigated by the team, which maintains it has the right to regulate the resale of its tickets. Massachusetts is one of a handful of states that seek to regulate the resale of sporting event tickets, outlawing the resale of tickets for more than $2 above a ticket's face value.

Patriots tickets have typically been reselling for four times or more above face value. On Friday, for instance, tickets for this weekend's game at Gillette Stadium were listed for many times face value on StubHub.

The Massachusetts law has been winked at for years by fans, many of whom simply have called an toll-free phone number listed in Boston newspapers and been connected to ticket agencies in New Hampshire.

StubHub has fought the Patriots on the issue, stating in court filings that, "It is plain that the Patriots seek this highly confidential customer information to further their unlawful, anticompetitive campaign against StubHub and its customers."

Patriots' attorneys have countered that the team is attempting to ensure that fans can get tickets at reasonable prices.

"One of our claims against StubHub is that knowing we have rules against resale on the Internet, they are out there soliciting people to violate our rules," said Daniel Goldberg, a Patriots lawyer, according to media reports. "In order to pursue that claim, we need to understand who has been persuaded by that inducement to list their tickets. ... We have hundreds of people on waiting lists willing to comply with our rules, so if individuals prefer not to comply with the rules, that's their choice."

In the wake of the ruling, offerings of Patriots tickets appeared to be increasing on the Boston site of Craigslist.

In his ruling, Judge van Gestel noted that the Patriots intended to use the StubHub information for various "allegedly legitimate uses, such as canceling season tickets of 'violators' or reporting to authorities those customers that they deem to be in violation of the Massachusetts antiscalping law."

The advocacy group Center for Democracy and Technology questioned whether the court order violates the privacy of fans.

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