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NHL Seattle to weed out brokers from season ticket database

NHL Seattle's CEO says the group wants to make sure brokers aren't buying mass blocks of tickets to capitalize on demand.

Editor's note: The above video is of NHL's deputy commissioner discussing hockey in Seattle. 

Seattle's new NHL team says it will weed out ticket brokers from its database of more than 32,000 season ticket depositors and will begin notifying them this week.

"It is the right and honorable thing to do," said NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke. "Some people are going to scream and say that's not fair, but we think we have principle on our side."

Leiweke said the group wants to ensure brokers aren't buying mass blocks of tickets and capitalizing on the demand. He said technology exists that allows the team to track who is buying tickets, and how they've used tickets in the past.

The team hopes to finalize seating plans and price schedules for season ticket plans by the fall. There will likely be full plans, half-season plans, or 10 game option.

"We've got some creative ideas," said Leiweke.

He said there will be two clubs on the main concourse of the arena at Seattle Center, as well as a club on each end.

"Different parts of the building will have different feels," he added.

In a sense, NHL Seattle is trying to retain control of the game night experience and who sits in the bowl. Brokers, who buy up blocks of seats, could manipulate bowls to allow for visiting fans to occupy key seats or sightlines.

Other teams have taken different approaches: For instance, the Golden State Warriors of the NBA doubled prices for known brokers to try and curb inflated rates, according to Sports Business Journal. Other teams have created their own ticket websites or used dynamic pricing. Others have turned to banning printed tickets or PDF entry to reduce the risk of fraud.

By one estimate, the broker industry is a $5-10 billion annual enterprise and has become more complicated as technology has evolved. Brokers often take a cut of what -- in many cases -- can be an already inflated ticket price.

Yet, Leiweke preaches that he believes there is a nexus between the secondary market and the gameday experience that they're trying to create inside the new arena when the Seattle “to-be-named-laters” take the ice in 2021.

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