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August 01, 2011

PRSA Calls for Transparency from Consumer Advocacy Groups in New York Times Letter to the Editor

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) had a letter to the editor ofThe New York Times published Aug. 1, 2011, in response to a July 21 article about anti-scalping consumer advocacy groups that are funded by Live Nation Entertainment and StubHub. In its letter, PRSA called for transparency from organizations that represent public interests as a means of aiding in informed decision making by consumers and the public.

Letter: Event Tickets and Scalping
Published: Aug. 1, 2011

Re “Scalping Battle Led by ‘Fans’ in Name Only” (front page, July 21):

Efforts by the Fans First Coalition and its similar advocacy bedfellow, the Fan Freedom Project, to protect the interests of consumers concerning ticket pricing and scalping are admirable, but the manner in which those efforts are presented and financed is anything but.

The fact that two competing companies — Live Nation Entertainment and StubHub — are backing these organizations represents a clear conflict of interest to their purported purpose. What is particularly troubling is the lack of forthright disclosure from either company, as well as their Washington-based public-relations firms, as to their true motivations, sponsors and goals in financing and supporting these groups.

The Public Relations Society of America’s code of ethics advises that organizations that represent public interests respect the principle that open communication is essential for informed decision-making in a democratic society.

How can consumers seeking the best quality and price for event tickets possibly be fully informed when the two main companies that sell those tickets are engaging in advocacy practices aimed more at padding their revenues rather than representing the public’s best interests?

New York, July 21, 2011

The writer is chairwoman of the Board of Ethics and Professional Standards at the Public Relations Society of America.

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