Colorado Rockies Fan Sues Baseball Club for Resell Ticket Exclusions

PHOTO: Colorado Rockies fans outside Coors Field

A Colorado Rockies fan has filed a lawsuit against the Major League Baseball club, accusing them of illegally restricting the resale of game tickets to Stubhub and hoping to build a class action lawsuit against the sports franchise.

The plaintiff, Marilyn Sweet, says the baseball team is violating the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, according to the lawsuit. Passed in 2008, a provision in that law prohibits limiting the "terms or conditions of resale" and imposing sanctions "on the purchaser if the sale of the ticket is not through a reseller approved by the operator."

But the Rockies club "forces consumers seeking to participate in the secondary market (by either re-selling their tickets or purchasing resold tickets) to exclusively use www.StubHub.com or face expulsion from the stadium," the lawsuit states.

"On the face of every Rockies ticket it's stated that you can be tossed out of the stadium if you purchase from anyone other than an authorized reseller," said Steven Woodrow, Sweet's attorney and a lawyer with Edelson Law.

Woodrow said, "Sweet is a Rockies fan and loves the Rockies," adding that she purchases a "number of tickets each year".

A spokesman for the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club declined to comment and directed ABC News to Major League Baseball. MLB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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A spokesman for Stubhub, which is not named in the lawsuit as a defendant and is a subsidiary of eBay Inc., declined to comment to ABC News.

The lawsuit states that "consumers are forced to pay StubHub's inflated fees in the process, of which on information and belief, [the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club] receives and retains a portion."

Woodrow said he hopes the lawsuit, filed with the U.S. District of Colorado earlier this month, will be served to the baseball club this week.

The Rockies host a minimum of 81 games each year at Coors Field in Denver, Colo., selling between 2 million and 3 million tickets each season for an average of $23.65 per ticket, the lawsuit states, and grossing about $50 million every year from the sale of tickets to its games. The lawsuit states, "A sizeable portion of those tickets are subsequently resold on the Internet via online ticket marketplaces such as StubHub."

According to the lawsuit, the "terms and conditions" printed on each Colorado Rockies ticket states: "[t]his ticket may not be resold or offered for resale (i) via the Internet or any other interactive media, except, if applicable, through the official website of the Colorado Rockies (www.coloradorockies.com) or sites authorized by the Colorado Rockies or (ii) in a manner at a price or otherwise in violation of any Federal, State, or local laws/ordinances/regulations."

While the Rockies "does not provide a list of sites that it authorizes for the resale of tickets via the internet," Sweet's lawsuit states that, "on information and belief," only www.stubhub.com calls itself "The Official Fan to Fan Ticket Marketplace of the Colorado Rockies."

When the law was discussed in the state legislature in 2008, representatives of the NFL's Denver Broncos, NHL's Colorado Avalanche, and NBA' Denver Nuggets "testified and voiced their opposition," the lawsuit states, adding, "The Colorado Rockies did not participate in the debate or provide testimony."

"Ms. Sweet was interested in bringing this lawsuit because this law is on the books," Woodrow said. "It protects all Colorado consumers. As a fan of the Rockies, through this lawsuit, she hoped to engage in a conversation with them to bring them into compliance."

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