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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ticketmaster charging fee of $12 per ticket for Hurricane Sandy benefit in New Orleans

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Yesterday we told you about "NOLA: Pay It Forward," a city-sponsored concert to benefit those affected by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast. The event, which is still being put together, will be held at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre Nov. 20, and tickets are available at the box office and through Ticketmaster.

One of our readers inquired yesterday if Ticketmaster would be charging its usual fees, and today we got the answer:

That's 23 percent of the ticket price — for a charity event.

The good news is that if you buy your tickets at the Mahalia jackson Theatre box office (11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday), there are no extra fees whatsoever ... and you can either save that extra $12 or be a sport and kick it in for Sandy relief.

We have an email in to Ticketmaster's press office, asking what the company intends to do with the extra fees it collects, but this isn't the first time that Ticketmaster's fee practices have come under scrutiny when it comes to a catastrophic storm.

The last time it was a hurricane named Katrina.

Two weeks after Hurricane Katrina, when a New Orleans Saints game was relocated to Giants Stadium, New York Post sports columnist Phil Mushnick followed up on a promise by Ticketmaster to donate some of its fees to Hurricane Katrina relief, but couldn't find anyone from the company to talk about it:

In 2005, the Giants were scheduled to play the Saints in New Orleans, as they are tonight. But Hurricane Katrina made that impossible. The game was switched to a Monday night at Giants Stadium.

Ticketmaster, accused of quick-profiting from the tragedy by charging a $10.30 per ticket “convenience fee,” then announced its take would be donated to the Katrina relief effort.

More than 68,000 attended the game. Conservatively, Ticketmaster sold 45,000 of those tickets. If $10.30 of every ticket sold were to be donated, then Ticketmaster would have donated more than $400,000. Now that’s something any company would be eager to tell everyone.

But not another word about it was heard from Ticketmaster or the NFL.

A year later, when pressed by this column for details — how many tickets did it sell, how much was donated, to which charity or charities was the money donated — Ticketmaster’s response was essentially, “None of your business.” Its official, vague response was, “We honored our commitment.”

Six years later, the entire matter still stinks like an NFL-enabled charity scam.

So why even risk confusion? If you're going to "NOLA: Pay It Forward," start paying it forward — and saving money — by getting your tickets in person, not from an entertainment conglomerate.

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