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Colorado bill requiring up-front concert, sporting event ticket prices awaits Gov. Polis' signature

The U.S. Government and Accountability Office finds that additional fees on event tickets average 27% to 31% of the ticket's price.
Concert at Red Rocks 2018
Posted at 10:00 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 08:51:23-04

MORRISON, Colo. — On sites like Ticketmaster, you pick your seat to a concert and think you’ve found a decent price. Oftentimes, it’s not until you get to the checkout window that the fees rack up. But a bill on the governor’s desk could change that.

Hours before the gates opened, Nico Ybarra was ready for his first show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Spending time with his family is priceless, but tickets to concerts like this one do come with a a price. And with added fees and service charges, those prices can be high.

“You get so excited about swiping your credit card and you’re like, 'Oh cool, it’s an extra $100. Well, now this is going to maybe prevent me from going to that thing I really wanted to go to — this event with my family and do this cool thing,'” Ybarra said.

Nico Ybarra
Nico Ybarra, right, hangs out with his loved ones ahead of a Red Rocks concert in May 2024.

Now, House Bill 24-1378 "Consumer Protection in Event Ticket Sales," aimed at adding consumer protections to ticket sales across Colorado, is waiting to be signed into law.

The bipartisan bill would require sellers to show service and convenience fees up front, although delivery fees for paper tickets and sales tax could still be tacked on later.

For example, a standard admission ticket to see Hootie & The Blowfish in the seating area of Fiddler’s Green on July 10 is $99.95. If this becomes law, you wouldn't have to wait until checking out to see the $5.65 handling fee and the $22.46 service fee — making up 21% of the total cost of your ticket.

The U.S. Government and Accountability Office finds that additional fees on event tickets average 27% to 31% of the ticket's price.

“We've tried this system. It's not working. It is a broken way to buy concert tickets. Stuff gets too expensive,” Ybarra said.

The bill would also guarantee refunds for canceled shows and ban the use of automated software often used by scalpers to scoop up tickets and resell at inflated prices.

bill for concert tickets

The use of bot websites to impersonate ticket sellers or venues would also be banned.

"The National Independent Venue Association has venues across Colorado, including Red Rocks,” said Stephen Parker, the association’s executive director.

Parker said the legislation is a step toward putting fans first.

Colorado bill requiring up-front concert, sporting event ticket prices awaits Gov. Polis' signature

“Our hope is that bills like this at the state level can be building on what could be a federal standard moving forward,” he said.

Ybarra said he hopes it gives him and other concertgoers some more transparency at checkout.

“It’d be nice to at least try to have that conversation,” he said.


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