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Criticism of Italy ticket law mounts after Sting ‘chaos’

Live Nation Italy has added its voice to the chorus of criticism surrounding Italy’s new named-ticket law, after a number of concertgoers were turned away from a delayed Sting show in Assago on Tuesday (29 October).

The show, at the Mediolanum Forum, near Milan, was the first promoted by Live Nation since the new regulations, introduced on 1 July, came into effect – and was therefore an “important test” of how the law would work in practice, says the company.

The answer? Not very well, according to Live Nation, who blamed the new legislation for the Sting show starting an hour late, after fans stuck in queues were unable to gain access to the arena.

The so-called named ticket law – designed to curb unauthorised resale – requires the purchaser’s name to be printed on tickets for all shows over 5,000 capacity, and concertgoers’ ID to match that name, to prevent tickets being sold on the secondary market. The Italian live music industry has consistently opposed the measure, warning of potential disruption and queues, and CTS Eventim’s TicketOne, Italy’s biggest ticket seller, said in September the law isn’t even effective, with tickets still widely available on the major resale sites.

TicketOne: touts thriving under named ticket law

Many people were also turned away from the Sting (pictured) show for having inadequate identification, or documents that didn’t match the name on their ticket.

Roberto De Luca, chairman of Live Nation Italy, says the company found itself in the “paradox that applying the law would lead to big disruptions, with the only solution being to violate it”.

“Of course we didn’t,” he says, “although we showed maximum flexibility and gave all possible assistance to the public.” Faced with huge queues, he continues, “even the police asked us to accept photocopied and scanned [ID] documents, which is not lawful.”

In addition to Live Nation and Eventim, criticism has been levelled at named tickets by Assomusica, the Italian concert promoters’ association, whose president, Vincenzo Spera, urges the government to reconsider the legislation for the sake of fans.

“One of the main concerns about the introduction of the new regulations, which we have always brought to the attention of the public, is the inconvenience caused by the new legislation,” comments Spera. “At an event of this magnitude [the Sting concert], where the spectators, being a weekday, arrive directly after work, huge delays are inevitable due to the need to carry out the checks required by law.”

Spera adds that Assomusica hopes the Italian parliament “will review the law by the end of the year”, taking into account “the many inconveniences and inefficiencies that occurred” at the Sting show. “Moreover, the phenomenon of secondary ticketing is far from being solved, and the authorities tasked with sanctioning the sites responsible have not yet taken adequate measures.”

“This law that penalises the public and punishes organisers, putting the ​​live entertainment industry at risk”

Unfortunately for the industry, the incident appears to have strengthened the resolve of Sergio Battelli, the deputy who introduced the named-ticket law, who has hit out at Live Nation, describing as “pure madness” a private company “using the stage for a rally against a state law”.

“I would add that if Live Nation, which in the past few months has brought 60,000 people to the Olympic Stadium in Rome for the [pre-law] Ed Sheeran concert, has had difficulty in getting 10,000 spectators into the Assago Forum, the problem is not the law but the organiser,” he wrote on Facebook.

The industry, however, largely shares the view of De Luca, who adds: “If there were these problems on a concert for 10,000 people, it’s very serious – because it’s a test to see exactly what will happen with major shows such as festivals, and on long tours.”

“Live Nation therefore reiterates its utmost opposition to a law that penalises the public and punishes organisers, putting the ​​live entertainment industry, which is a great cultural and economic resource for our country, at risk” reads a statement provided by Live Nation. “As demonstrated by other sectors, such as sports, and football in particular, we do not need named tickets to combat ticket touting.

“In fact, for [Sting], there were still copious amounts of tickets available on the secondary ticketing platforms.”


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TicketOne: touts thriving under named ticket law

Italy’s largest primary ticketing service, TicketOne, has once again criticised national communications regulator AGCOM for its lack of action against secondary sites, highlighting the “significant failing” of the newly introduced named ticket law.

Criticism is levelled at the “foreseeable and forewarned futility” of the regulator’s controversial named ticket law, which was implemented on 1 July. According to TicketOne, the ‘named’ tickets are being sold “widely” on secondary sites.

Additionally, the CTS Eventim-owned company questions AGCOM’s (Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni, Communications Authority) “total lack” of action against secondary sites, following an initial call-to action in March and a follow-up in June, which included a threat to refer AGCOM to the judiciary.

“In light of the documents submitted, and of further concrete evidence immediately available on the sites for anyone who accesses them,” states TicketOne chief executive Stefano Lionetti, “it is not understandable why AGCOM has not intervened – and does not intervene immediately – to crack down on illegal conduct, removing content and shuttering sites, as well as implementing financial penalties.”

“It is not understandable why AGCOM has not intervened and does not intervene immediately to crack down on illegal conduct”

Lionetti states AGCOM is “not exercising the powers granted to it by the Ministry of Economy and Finance,” referencing the stringent anti-ticket touting regulations passed by the Italian government in 2018.

The ticketing site notes that the failure to implement regulations is highlighted by the fact that all cases reported and documented in the initial March complaint were in reference to summer events that have now passed.

“It would therefore now be impossible to fulfil the requests to remove content or shutter the sites, leaving only the possibility of levying fines to mitigate the harm done to consumers, artists and operators in the sector,” reads a TicketOne statement.

TicketOne now urges the timely application of the law in terms of content removal, fines and shuttering of sites, once again not excluding contact with the judicial authorities.


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