Major League Baseball and Ticketmaster face a barrage of negative announcements ahead of next week’s All-Star Game for giving in to political pressure to “wake up.”
Consumers’ Research, a nonprofit that works to educate clients about the inner workings of American businesses, launched a seven-figure ad campaign targeting the two organizations on Thursday.
The ad addressing MLB accuses the organization and its commissioner, Rob Manfred, of “making baseball political” to compensate for declining viewership and rising ticket prices.
“MLB chose to play politics instead of ball, moving the Atlanta All-Star Game and repeating dishonest and partisan talking points, resulting in millions of dollars lost for many hardworking Americans,” said Will Hild, CEO of Consumers’ Investigate.
MLB has been in the crosshairs of conservatives for its decision to pull the game out of Georgia because of the state’s new voting law. At the time, MLB was widely criticized for giving in to political pressure from progressives who “woke up,” who argued that Georgia’s efforts to prevent voter fraud amounted to voter suppression.
Similarly, Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, has voiced opposition to state efforts to revamp its voting rules. In April, Live Nation Entertainment joined more than 500 other corporate giants in an advertising campaign that lashed out at such efforts across the country.
“We should all feel a responsibility to uphold the right to vote and to oppose any discriminatory legislation or measure that restricts or prevents any eligible voter from having a fair and equal opportunity to cast their vote,” Live Nation Entertainment and other companies said in the time in an ad published in The New York Times.
The ad The selection of Ticketmaster by Mr. Hild’s group takes note of such pressure to “wake up”, but also criticizes the ticket seller for what he says are unfair sales practices by Ticketmaster.
“Ticketmaster has been on our radar as service and convenience fees continue to increase at nearly half of actual ticket costs,” said Mr. Hild. “Ticketmaster CEO Michael Rapino continued to earn more than $ 1 million last year as the company conducted three rounds of layoffs and the Justice Department cracked down on its parent company, Live Nation, with the most antitrust action. strong in decades. ”
Ticketmaster’s business practices have been criticized from both the left and the right. Earlier this year, Congressional Democrats urged the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Ticketmaster and its parent company for possible monopolistic conduct.
Ticketmaster has also been criticized for hacking one of its main rivals, CrowdSurge. Last year, Ticketmaster agreed to pay a $ 10 million fine for his misconduct.
“Instead of being encouraged to wake up politicians to issues they don’t understand, they should focus on serving customers better and competing in the marketplace without committing serious crimes,” Hild said.
Neither Ticketmaster nor MLB responded to requests for comment.
Consumers’ Research ads will run on both television and digital media in mid-July, specifically targeting next week’s MLB All-Star Game in Denver. The ads will also be directed to the local markets where MLB and Ticketmaster are headquartered.