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News Opinion Readers Respond

Instead of speeding tickets, city could offer the Ticketmaster kind

Probably nothing else needs to be said about the Ticketmaster issue, especially after the well-written letter from Barbara Blumberg ("Ticketmaster is a scalper by another name," March 6). However, it should be pointed out that Ticketmaster is just one more e-business, like Microsoft, that sells a product that costs almost nothing after its initial development costs are recovered and charges phenomenally high rates. And like Microsoft, it has recovered its development costs long ago and has the capacity to generate incredible profits — well beyond those possible in brick and mortar businesses.

As Ms. Blumberg points out, what Ticketmaster does isn't exactly rocket science. It could easily become a city offered service. What Ticketmaster does is not unlike what a bank does every day for every account when interest is computed and balances are run. For this electronic pulse service, there is almost no cost on a per-account basis, and there is no charge. However, if a bank looked at Ticketmaster and thought, "Hmm, we can get $30 per transaction and charge $900 per month," account holders wouldn't be happy about it. This is exactly the case with Ticketmaster and taxpayers who own the venues which utilize its service shouldn't be subjected to usurious fees.

The legal pause period enacted by the Baltimore City Council is enough time for the city to develop a plan to offer this service to the taxpayers and charge reasonable fees — maybe a flat $2 per ticket charge. One sellout football game at M&T Bank Stadium would yield $140,000. In combination with all of the other city-owned venues, initial development costs would be defrayed very quickly and substantial positive proceeds would begin to accrue. This would be electronic cash direct deposited into the city account — no invoices, no labor, no deadbeat accounts, just pure unencumbered income for the city.

This is a service which could generate badly needed revenues for the city, protect citizens from usury and scalping, and would be well received by all. That's in contrast to the city's onerous speed camera business.

Gary Moyer, Baltimore

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