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StubHub president: ‘Am I looking to wake up and be regulated? No.'

Erin Fuchs
Deputy Managing Editor

Amid heightened scrutiny of the secondary ticket market, StubHub President Sukhinder Singh Cassidy said that she is working closely with state regulators.

“You know, am I looking to wake up and be regulated? No,” Cassidy said in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance. “Do we work pretty actively in every state with regulators? The answer is yes.”

In her interview with Yahoo Finance’s editor-in-chief, Andy Serwer, Singh Cassidy acknowledged the perception that the secondary market is “this controversial thing” but also said that it’s a business that serves fans’ needs. StubHub, an eBay (EBAY) subsidiary, offers a way for people to resell sports, theater, and concert tickets — and offers fans a way to access sold-out shows or games. However, critics deride StubHub and other ticket resellers as a forum for scalpers to make money at the expense of artists and desperate fans.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy of Joyus speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015 at Pier 70 on September 23, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Obviously, Singh Cassidy doesn’t see it that way. “At the end of the day, fans want to be able to go to an event when they want, how they want, the way they want, on their mobile phone ... And you want access. Right?” she said. “And so our job’s to provide a safe and trusted marketplace for that.”

Singh Cassidy made the comments in a conversation that aired on Yahoo Finance in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.

Pricing for ticket resales

The access that StubHub and other ticket resale companies provide comes at a price. In a report released last year, the Government Accountability Office looked at a sample of tickets sold on the secondary market and found fees averaged 31% (compared to 27% for the primary market).

That same report also noted that, in January 2018, a self-regulatory organization called the National Advertising Division asked the Federal Trade Commission to probe the fee disclosure practices at StubHub. The FTC has since held a workshop on online ticket sales but has taken no public action against StubHub.

Ticketmaster, on the other hand, has gotten in trouble with the FTC: In 2010, it reached a settlement with the agency over claims that it misled Bruce Springsteen fans into buying pricier tickets on the company’s resale subsidiary, TicketsNow.com.

States have also stepped in to regulate ticket resales. According to the GAO report from last year, several states cap the prices of tickets resold on sites like StubHub. That report also noted that policymakers, consumer advocates, and even ticket resellers have proposed or implemented rules to make sure consumers are well aware of all the fees they’ll be paying.

For her part, Sing Cassidy said StubHub prides itself on being transparent with fans who buy tickets on its site. “I think, you know, we feel pretty secure that as long as we stay true to the fan,” she said, “we'll be in a good place.”

Erin Fuchs is deputy managing editor at Yahoo Finance.

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