Scalping Pope Tickets
- New York 09/14/2015 by LP (WBAI News)

New York City and the Archdiocese of New York offered thousands of free tickets for the Pope's visit later this month.

Then on Friday, ticket reselling for Pope Francis' Central Park Procession began. They were listed for hundreds of dollars on sites including eBay and Craigslist.

Cardinal Dolan said to profiteer from the tickets goes against everything the Pope stands for. “Tickets for events with Pope Francis are distributed free for a reason – to enable as many New Yorkers as possible, including those of modest means, to be able to participate in the Holy Father’s visit to New York.”

By Sunday Senator Chuck Schumer said, "I know eBay has recently banned the sale of Pope tickets on its site and I am asking other online marketplace sellers, like Craigslist, to do the same. I’m hopeful they will heed the call.” 

Other New York Leaders like Assemblymember Cusick and State Senator Squadron have been pushing for state legislation (S571) that would prohibit the practice of reselling tickets for more than their face value for charity or not-for-profit events. Expressing disappointment at the exploitation, Squadron said, "In the wake of this most recent, appalling display, I call on my colleagues to join me in saying enough is enough, and put an end to legal profiteering off of charity and not-for-profit events, as our bill does.”

Assemblymember Michael Cusick: "Profiting off of events during the Papal visit is in direct contradiction to his message of compassion and care for all, and this practice should end immediately. I am proud to join with Senator Squadron, Cardinal Dolan, and my colleagues who have supported this bill in renewing our push for the reselling of tickets for charity and not for profit events to end once and for all."

Ticket reselling for the Papal visit marks another high-profile instance of charity or not-for-profit tickets being resold on secondary sites for many times their face value in recent years. For example, the concert event 12/12/12 raised money for the Robin Hood Foundation's Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. The show sold out in minutes and resellers posted tickets at prices up to $6,500. Billy Joel performed a charity concert to benefit Long Island Cares in 2013, where tickets were resold online for up to $4,000. On May 28 of this year, the MusiCares MAP Fund held a benefit concert, headlined by Billy Idol and Joan Jett, and tickets were resold for over of $1,250.