The Journal Gazette
 
 
Sunday, January 26, 2020 1:00 am

McCartney ticket frenzy frustrates Morris

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

All Fort Wayne Rep. Bob Morris wanted was to get tickets for his mom to see Paul McCartney at Memorial Coliseum last June.

He had multiple computers set up to go after the tickets when they went on sale, but several times the transaction canceled out. Eventually – caught up in the fervor – he ended up buying tickets costing more than $800 each.

“I wanted two tickets so I could go with my mother so she could go watch and remember Beatlemania from the '60s,” Morris said.

He shared this story with the House Commerce Committee last week during a hearing on a bill that would require tickets to events be transferable. His McCartney madness actually had nothing to do with the bill but he came back to it again and again – at least five times and for about 20 minutes in all. Each time, more people in the audience sighed.

Morris asked those testifying on the bill – concert promoters, venue officials and ticket systems – why he couldn't buy a cheaper ticket for his mom.

Randy Brown, general manager at the Coliseum, spent the most time fielding the incessant queries. He said the demand for the McCartney tickets was the most the Coliseum has ever experienced, saying at one point more than 25,000 people were queued. Even his wife couldn't get tickets.

The range of ticket prices started at $39 and went to almost $1,000 – those with VIP perks.

He explained again and again that the system didn't purposely push Morris to higher-priced tickets. It's that the lower-priced tickets were gone in just minutes. Others pointed out only a few lower-priced tickets might exist for an event, but the price schedule will still show them.

Brown even tried to explain how bots – a software program used by the secondary market – scoop up large amounts of tickets to sell later.

Here is an example of the back-and-forth:

Morris: You had tickets for $39. Are you telling me through supply and demand that Ticketmaster naturally inflated those tickets?

Brown: I'm not saying that at all ... they sold because of the demand. The $39 ticket sold for $39.

Morris: No. I could not purchase a ticket for what was posted online.

Brown: Supply and demand. Once those tickets were sold out ... when the apples are all gone you go to oranges.

Morris: Within three minutes you're telling me those tickets were gone? So then how did I buy it from Ticketmaster? I've got my receipt showing I purchased it for $829. Cheapest ticket available. How did Hoosiers pay 800 times for that ticket?

Brown: They're not paying that for the $39 ticket. Your $39 ticket did not turn into an $800 ticket.

Mercifully, the hearing ended. But at least Morris' mom got to see an amazing concert.

As for Morris, he said he got gifts with the ticket – a plastic hat, a lanyard, “a T-shirt I wore once that shrunk.”

Holcomb hanging steady in poll

Gov. Eric Holcomb's approval rating among Hoosier voters held steady during the fourth quarter of 2019, according to survey results released by Morning Consult.

The pollster said 51% of registered voters in Indiana approved of the Republican governor's performance and 23% disapproved, the same percentages as in the third quarter. The rest, 27%, didn't know – tied with Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson for the highest such figure among the nation's governors for the fourth quarter.

Holcomb stands for reelection this year.

The most popular governor for the quarter was Wyoming Republican Gov. Mark Gordon, approved by 69% of voters in that state and disapproved by 11%. Republican Govs. Larry Hogan of Maryland and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts also received 69% approval, but their disapproval scores were higher than Gordon's.

The highest disapproval rate was 58% for Hawaii Democratic Gov. David Ige.

Morning Consult's polling showed that Indiana's Republican U.S. senators received similar ratings from Hoosier voters in the fourth quarter.

Sen. Mike Braun was approved by 44% and disapproved by 26%, with 30% of voters saying they didn't know. Sen. Todd Young was approved by 43% and disapproved by 24%, with 34% of respondents saying they didn't know. Young tied with Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., for the highest percentage of “don't know” responses.

The highest approval rate among senators was 65% for independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The highest disapproval rate was 52% for Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

Morning Consult said it surveyed more than 493,000 registered voters nationwide Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.

Lehman tapped

The National Council of Insurance Legislators recently named Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne, as its president.

He will help lead the national organization comprised of other state legislators who serve on insurance and financial institutions committees in their respective state assemblies.

“Insurance laws are vast, and vary from state to state,” Lehman said. “This group unites legislators throughout the nation and from both sides of the aisle to help improve policies while protecting the consumer and the state-based system of insurance regulation.”

Lehman said he joined the council in 2009 and is “eager to now be the president of this distinguished team.”

A partner at Bixler Insurance in Berne, Lehman serves on the Indiana House Financial Institutions Committee and the Indiana House Insurance Committee. His term as president will expire in December.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.


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