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StubHub backs Michigan effort to battle ticket bots

Phone screen shows Taylor Swift's X (formerly known as Twitter) profile on top of Live Nation flyer
Michigan legislation aims to further crack down on ticket resale bots, which snatched up Taylor Swift tickets in 2023 only to relist them at much higher prices. (Shutterstock)
  • Using bots to buy and resell tickets has been illegal at the federal level for years, though bad actors are seldom held accountable
  • Michigan House bills look to tackle that problem by imposing a $5,000 civil fee for any bot-bought tickets
  • Legislation comes after bots bought and relisted tickets for pop artist Taylor Swift in 2023 for exorbitant amounts

LANSING — When pop superstar Taylor Swift hit the road with her Eras Tour in 2023, Ticketmaster presales were gobbled up in minutes. 

Then the resales started. 

Tickets initially worth anywhere from $250 to $500 resold for up to $10,000. For a show in East Rutherford, New Jersey, some tickets were available but at a hefty $17,000. In Boston, a pair of VIP seats were listed for $22,000.

The move led many, including member of Congress, to criticize Ticketmaster for allowing bots to run rampant as the company’s website crashed or abruptly kicked users from virtual queues, some of whom had been in lines for hours.

While Congress banned the use of ticket bots in 2016, officials say it’s often hard to punish these actors at the state level.


And though the worst of those bot attacks weren’t aimed specifically at Michigan fans, lawmakers are looking to shore up state law to further bar bots from getting a leg up in the ticket buying game, similar to efforts in Arizona.

House bills debated Tuesday after introduction by Republican state Rep. Graham Filler and Democratic Rep. Mike McFall would create a maximum $5,000 civil fine per ticket for individuals or companies who use or create ticket bots to buy tickets to Michigan entertainment events.

Additionally, the legislation would enable the Michigan Department of Attorney General to bring civil action to stop a person suspected of using bots for ticket purchases and recover fines.

StubHub, which runs the nation’s largest ticket resale site, on Tuesday signaled support for the new legislation during a hearing before the House Regulatory Reform Committee.

Sean Auyash, the company’s government relations manager, told Michigan lawmakers StubHub doesn’t just “unequivocally support the prohibiting the use of bots to unfairly procure tickets” but also favors legislation requiring primary ticket sellers to cooperate with officials in reporting bot activity.


Ticketmaster, which merged with Live Nation in 2010, controls an estimated 70% of the ticketing and live event venues market.

“We believe a competitive marketplace provides consumers with greater access to the events they want to experience,” Auyash added, “and the ability to purchase tickets at a fair and market driven price.”

The new proposal would be the latest deterrent attempt by Michigan. A 2020 law signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made it a misdemeanor crime to use bots to acquire tickets, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 93 days in jail.

If enacted as written, the new bills would create higher fines to deter people from using or creating a bot to use multiple IP addresses or emails, circumvent anti-bot security measures or otherwise bypass a virtual queue in order to purchase tickets. 


Attorney General Dana Nessel supports the legislation but would like to see some changes to streamline prohibited actions, according to Jason Evans, chair of the department’s corporate oversight division.

Cracking down on ticket bots amounts to a “tourism issue,” Filler, R-Saint Johns, argued in committee testimony. 

“(If) Michigan is viewed as a state where you can get the ticket that you want for yourself or your family, for an in demand sale, then the entertainers will feel comfortable coming here,” he said. 

Legislators did not vote on either of the bills prior to adjourning the committee.

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