03/10/2016 11:04AM

Churchill Downs, Ticketmaster create Internet resale exchange for Derby, Oaks tickets


Churchill Downs Inc. and its ticketing provider, Ticketmaster, will create an Internet resale exchange this year for ticketholders to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, the two companies announced on Thursday.

The resale exchange will provide Churchill Downs with a platform to compete with independent resellers and profit from the resale of Derby and Oaks tickets. Churchill has long complained about the unauthorized resale of Derby tickets, which are the most sought-after of any racing event in the U.S.

In a release, Churchill said the exchange will allow ticketholders who are unable to attend the Derby and Oaks to resell their tickets in a way that will “meet all state and local regulations on ticket resales.” Ticket scalping is illegal in Kentucky, but Churchill, through a loophole in the law, has been allowed in the past to sell blocks of tickets to authorized resellers.  

Over the past decade, Internet brokers and other online independent resellers of Derby tickets have charged two to three times the face value in the weeks leading up to the race, though those prices often plummet on the day of the race. Locally, Churchill has encouraged law enforcement personnel to prosecute scalpers near the track on the day of the Oaks and Derby, and the track has complained about reports of counterfeit tickets.

Churchill said customers who buy tickets on the new exchange will be assured that the tickets are legitimate because only tickets with verified bar codes will be offered on the site. The release said resellers will be able to list the tickets at prices “at face value or above.”