It’s not just the Yankees that are trying to shake down their own fans via oppressive ticketing policies. The Minnesota Timberwolves are doing their part to speed us toward a future in which all games are played in front of crowds consisting only of rich people and paid-for empty seats.
A group of Timberwolves ticket buyers has filed a class action lawsuit against the team, claiming not only that the T-Wolves’ new method for distributing tickets is “draconian” and “unlawful,” but was implemented without warning.
This season, the T-Wolves eliminated paper tickets entirely, and began requiring all ticket purchasers to claim their tickets digitally via an app called Flash Seats. The problem is that fans who want to re-sell tickets on the secondary market must do so through Flash Seats, which not only charges fees to both the buyer and seller—the suit claims the team gets a 15-percent cut of these fees—but also institutes artificial price floors on a game-to-game basis. According to the lawsuit, this floor is usually 75 percent or more of the ticket’s face value.
This kind of market manipulation is bullshit when the Yankees do it, but it’s especially appalling when a 19-42 team tries to tell its fans that the free market doesn’t apply to them. According to the suit, this policy is especially harmful to season ticket holders, who purchased their tickets before paper tickets were done away with and use of Flash Seats became a requirement.
This has all had a tangible effect on the in-arena atmosphere, too. The T-Wolves currently rank dead last in home attendance, and have an average home crowd that’s the smallest it’s been since the 2003-04 season. All this despite the fact that the team has a pair of young dynamos in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. I’m sure there are plenty of fans in Minnesota who would gladly pay money to watch them play in person, but the team is actively keeping those people out of the arena with these price floors.
The worst part is that the front office probably doesn’t even care that the team has to play in a mausoleum. So what if the season ticket holders dropped thousands of dollars on tickets they can’t re-sell? All those empty seats are paid for, and the few that are filled were purchased far above market price.
You can read the whole lawsuit below: