Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

True North cancels some tickets

Safeguards in place to keep scalpers away

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Attention scalpers of NHL tickets -- True North Sports & Entertainment has got you in its crosshairs.

Scott Brown, director of corporate communications for Winnipeg's still-unnamed team, said Monday it has already cancelled a number of season ticket orders from people who didn't want to play by the rules.

"There are a number of checks and balances between now and the seat allocation process. People can be assured if they don't follow the proper steps, we will cancel the transaction," he said.

Brown declined to go into specific details about indiscretions but said some buyers weren't agreeing to the terms set out on the driveto13.com website.

"We told people there are a large number of legal stipulations that they must follow through on. As the vendor, we have the ability to cancel the transaction if we think it's not legitimate."

For every cancelled transaction, people at the top of a waiting list for tickets, which sold out on Saturday, will be contacted about buying the ducats.

Brown said fans need to realize all they have done is put down a deposit on the right to purchase a ticket. If they complete all the proper steps, they will own the tickets, he said.

Transfers aren't allowed during the first year, Brown said, but if a season-ticket holder with the Manitoba Moose can't afford NHL tickets and would like to transfer them to another person, True North will bring them both down and walk them through the process.

"For the first year, season-ticket holders are on the hook for all charges associated with the seats. We gave (Moose season-ticket holders) an exclusive pre-sale window. The loyalty that we've shown them, we expect them to show the responsibility back," he said.

Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said it's not illegal for tickets to change hands at face value. However, it's illegal to sell the tickets for more than face value.

The province's Amusements Act has a section that says: "No person shall sell, barter or exchange for anything any ticket of admission to a place of amusement for a price or consideration greater than that paid or given (therefor) to the owner of the place of amusement to which it is an admission."

Police have pursued charges against those flouting the law in the past and may pursue charges in the future, Michalyshen said.

"We really want to caution people.... Like anything else, if the price is too low or if the price is exceedingly high, that should be the red flag," he said.

He said he wasn't aware of any formal complaints about scalping. He cautioned people about offering goods or services in exchange for tickets.

"That's not something that we would encourage," he said.

However, one farmer in southwestern Manitoba said he thought advertising extra cash online for scalped tickets gave him an edge.

Within hours of posting his online ad, he'd already made a verbal agreement to spend an estimated $7,000 getting the rights to two P5 tickets from another man, part of a $15,000 commitment.

"If you're going to sit around and try and do it all perfectly, jump through every single legal hoop, well, you're going to come in last and that's just the way it is," he said.

The farmer said he got flak from people who saw his online ad.

"When stuff goes out of people's price range, they get a little pissed off," he said.

Winnipegger Noel Zapotoczny, 32, wrote a message online chastising those trying to make a profit on season tickets as having "no heart, no passion and no love of the game.

"(For) those of us who (truly) have fond memories of the Jets and want to pass on the same memories to our children, it sickens us that (there) are people like you out there making these experiences either tainted or unaffordable. There are thousands of hard-working people out there that would fill the seats each and every game to cheer on our team," said the message.

People buying scalped tickets contribute to the problem, he said.

"People like that who are supporting it by paying the extra (amount are) giving these scalpers the more reason to do it," he said.

Brown said True North officials were surprised by the number of Moose season-ticket holders who purchased the maximum number of tickets. Those looking to scalp their tickets should realize that the practice is illegal and they could get arrested, he said.

People also should be careful if they're considering buying tickets on the secondary market, Brown said. In the past, people have bought tickets online only to discover they're fakes.

True North has targeted scalpers outside MTS Centre in the past and taken legal action against them, Brown said.

"We expect to do more of that this year," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 7, 2011 B1

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