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New York attorney general investigates NFL over ticket reselling

Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: A Celtic fan looks for tickets prior to the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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New York attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman has concerns about the manner in which sports leagues, including the NFL, supervise the reselling of tickets. Via the Associated Press, Schneiderman is investigating whether the NFL and others have engaged in anticompetitive practices by applying “price floors” to tickets resold by fans on the NFL Ticket Exchange.

A report released Thursday by Schneiderman suggests that many NFL teams encourage or require ticket holders to use the NFL Ticket Exchange, which prohibits sellers from cutting the price below face value. This makes it harder for fans to unload tickets late in a bad season and, in turn, makes it more expensive for some fans to ever get in to see a game.

The league disputes the suggestion that use of the NFL Ticket Exchange is mandatory.

“The NFL does not require them to use the Ticket Exchange,’' NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Associated Press. “The NFL imposes no restrictions whatsoever on any fan’s ability to buy or resell tickets on other secondary ticketing sites or to do so at any price they choose.”

It’s unclear why the league would want price floors on the resale of tickets; as long as the NFL received face value when the ticket was sold, that should be good enough. It’s possible that the league simply doesn’t want fans to get accustomed to the availability of tickets at prices below the prices applied to them by the teams.