<
>

N.Y. attorney general thwarts attempt to sell playoff tickets only to Floridians

ALBANY, N.Y. -- After initially saying they'd only sell
tickets for Sunday's wild-card game between the New York Giants and
Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Floridians, Ticketmaster and the Buccaneers
backpedaled slightly Thursday following a call from New York
state's top lawyer.

"Earlier today we received a request from Ticketmaster to open
sales outside of Florida for the remaining 500 tickets," said Jeff
Kamis, director of the Buccaneers public relations. "It was
determined that due to our long relationship with Ticketmaster and
numerous requests from Buccaneer fans out of state, we would honor
their request."

The policy that would have kept New Yorkers from getting seats
through the ubiquitous ticket vendor was instituted last week after
the playoff schedule was released. Now, out of 65,908 seats in the
stadium, just 500 would be available to non-Floridians -- however by
early Thursday evening less than 500 were left.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said he contacted
Ticketmaster on Thursday about potential legal problems with the
prohibition. Ticketmaster agreed to eliminate the Florida residency
restrictions "the same day," Cuomo said.

"It raises issues, interstate commerce issues," the attorney
general said in a phone interview. "There are constitutional
prohibitions against states discriminating against other states'
residents or impeding business by other states. There are possible
discrimination issues."

Ticketmaster released a statement that said the Buccaneers had
asked to restrict ticket sales for the game at Tampa's Raymond
James Stadium.

"We see no legal issue with a team or venue choosing to make
certain tickets available only to local residents for a particular
event; however, with our client the Tampa Bay Buccaneers'
permission, and as a goodwill effort, we lifted the restrictions
earlier today," spokesman Joseph Freeman said in the statement.

Cuomo said he was also concerned that the "virtually
unprecedented" restrictions would lead to consumer fraud and
schemes as Giants fans looked for other ways to get their hands on
tickets.

The Buccaneers did not immediately return calls for comment
Thursday.

Tampa Bay won the NFC South Division with a 9-7 record while the
Giants finished second in the NFC East at 10-6.