Bad news for scalpers? NFL launches secondary ticket market
By Michael McCarthy, USA TODAY

NFL.com and TicketMaster.com will push the start button Thursday on the new "NFL Ticket Exchange," the first league's first online ticket exchange.

Starting Thursday, fans will be able to buy and sell tickets to all games for the 2008 season, says NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman. They'll range from the preseason contests many season-ticket holders don't want to more valuable regular season, playoffs and Super Bowl tickets.

Fans and season-ticket holders will be able to set their own prices. While conforming to various state laws, the league and its 32 teams won't limit how much fans can resell their tickets for over face value. Fans will still be free to resell their tickets through sites such as StubHub and RazorGator without running the risk of losing their season tickets.

Last season, the NFL sold more than 22 million tickets to its preseason, regular season and playoff games, plus the Super Bowl. While the league doesn't have hard numbers, senior vice president Neil Glat estimates 5-10% of those tickets moved on the secondary ticket resale market.

"Over the last 5-10 years, the secondary ticket market has gotten to the point where this is an important amenity for our fans," Grubman says. "It's really become an essential way a fair number of our fans choose to buy tickets or sell their excess tickets."

The NFL boasts the highest average ticket prices of the major pro sports. Last season's average ticket price rose 6.9% to $67.11, according to the Team Marketing Report (TMR) newsletter. The AFC Champion New England Patriots had the highest average price at $90.89; the Buffalo Bills the lowest at $46.26, says TMR.

The NFL entrance into this market could be bad news for scalpers and online brokers. The league will push its official exchange as a safer alternative to these sellers.

"We can authenticate the tickets and guarantee delivery," Glat says.