Major League Baseball and Ticketmaster are facing a barrage of negative ads ahead of next week’s All-Star Game for bowing to “woke” political pressure.
Consumers’ Research, a nonprofit working to educate customers on the inner workings of corporate America, launched a seven-figure ad campaign Thursday targeting the two organizations.
The ad targeting MLB accuses the organization and its commissioner, Rob Manfred, of “making baseball political” to make up for declining viewership and increasing ticket prices.
“MLB decided to play politics instead of ball, moving the All-Star Game from Atlanta and parroting dishonest and partisan talking points, resulting in millions of dollars lost for many hard-working Americans,” said Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers’ Research.
MLB has been in the crosshairs of conservatives for its decision to move the game out of Georgia because of the state’s new voting law. At the time, MLB was widely panned for bowing to political pressure from “woke” progressives, who argued that Georgia’s efforts to prevent electoral fraud amounted to voter suppression.
Similarly, Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, has been vocal in its opposition to state efforts to revamp its voting rules. In April, Live Nation Entertainment joined more than 500 other corporate giants in an ad campaign lambasting such efforts across the country.
“We all should feel a responsibility to defend the right to vote and to oppose any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot,” Live Nation Entertainment and other companies said at the time in an ad published in The New York Times.
The ad targeting Ticketmaster by Mr. Hild’s group makes note of such “woke” lobbying, but also takes the ticket seller to task for what it says are Ticketmaster’s unfair selling practices.
“Ticketmaster has been on our radar as they continue to increase service and convenience fees to almost half the actual ticket costs,” Mr. Hild said. “Ticketmaster CEO Michael Rapino continued to make over a million dollars last year while the company held three rounds of layoffs, and the Justice Department cracked down on their parent company, Live Nation, with the strongest antitrust action in decades.”
Ticketmaster’s business practices have been criticized from both the left and right. Earlier this year, congressional Democrats urged the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to probe Ticketmaster and its parent company for potential monopolistic conduct.
Ticketmaster also has come under fire for hacking one of its top rivals, CrowdSurge. Last year, Ticketmaster agreed to pay a $10 million fine for its misconduct.
“Instead of cozying up to woke politicians on issues they do not understand, they should focus on serving customers better, and competing in the market without committing felonies,” Mr. Hild said.
Neither Ticketmaster nor MLB returned requests for comment.
The ads by Consumers’ Research will run on both television and digital media throughout mid-July, specifically targeting next week’s MLB All-Star Game in Denver. Ads will also be targeted to local markets where MLB and Ticketmaster have their corporate headquarters.