Madison Square Garden Wins Ticket Scalpers Lawsuit, But Was The Judge Wrong?

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Madison Square Garden and embattled CEO James Dolan are celebrating a decisive victory.

On Wednesday, a New York Supreme Court Justice upheld a previous ruling that allowed MSG Entertainment and their subsequent properties to prohibit professional ticket scalpers from having season tickets.

The move restricts ticket scalpers from being allowed to own tickets for the Rangers, Knicks and Liberty at the World’s Most Famous Arena.

“The Court delivered MSG a clear win today, upholding our right to sell season ticket memberships to our loyal Knicks and Rangers fans rather than professional ticket scalpers. This ensures MSG is able to fulfill its mission, which is and always has been, to put tickets directly in the hands of customers who are attending our shows and sporting events at the original price. This includes live entertainment at the prices artists intended,” MSG said in a statement.

Madison Square Garden can legally not sell season tickets to professional ticket scalpers. (Getty Images)


Two dozen ticket scalpers , who describe themselves as “resellers,” sued MSG last year after the Garden refused to renew their season tickets. The plaintiffs argued that the Garden is only doing so because both the Rangers and Knicks are better now, and the Garden wants to retain as much profit as they can.

“MSG’s end game is to reclaim the tickets, create a monopoly, and reap a windfall by selling the tickets exclusively through its own ‘authorized’ out-of-state reseller,” the plaintiff’s filed in the September 7th lawsuit.

“After many years of relying on the local resellers to purchase Knicks and Rangers season tickets at exorbitant prices when the teams respective performance and records were abysmal, MSG has in utter bad faith elected to not renew their season tickets,” the suit continued.

“We want our season ticket memberships to be made up of our loyal Knicks and Rangers fans, not professional ticket brokers. This lawsuit is without merit, and we maintain the right to not offer season tickets,” MSG argued at the time.


What’s interesting about the judge’s ruling is that he essentially said that the Garden can sell or restrict ticket sales to whomever they want.

Although MSG is a private company, one has to wonder if there is a “slippery slope,” aspect to this. What happens if in the future either MSG, or a different company starts limiting what kind of people are allowed into their events and venues? Seems like a dangerous precedent.

Ticket scalpers and resellers have been under increasing scrutiny as more fans find it increasingly difficult to actually get tickets. Hell, we nearly had a riot thanks to Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster. But one needs to remember that ticket reselling is actually a real job – people have businesses and livelihoods doing so in legitimate ways. It seems a little unfair to not be able to own tickets simply because of your profession.

Regardless, it’s good news for James Dolan and God knows he needs it. The confrontational Dolan is currently facing multiple lawsuits as well as threats from local politicians over his communist-like artificial intelligence surveillance that his venues use.

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.

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