Street-level scalpers feeling the heat

By CHRIS PERKINS
FOXSportsFlorida.com Heat Writer

Jan. 21, 2011

You’d think the Big Three would be a boon to ticket scalpers outside AmericanAirlines Arena. But the situation’s been exactly opposite. The Heat and Miami Police Department, wary of counterfeit tickets, have cracked down on street-level ticket scalpers to the point that they can hardly work. That’s especially true on the streets near the arena.

The scalpers are pretty upset.

“Last year and every other year, you’re allowed to sell tickets on 8th and Biscayne,” said a street scalper who only wanted to be identified as “Junior” of JR Entertainment. “Now you can’t even approach 8th and Biscayne. They arrest you on site.”

Junior suspects this is an evil, money-grubbing plot by the fiendish Heat. Junior and his two co-workers, neither of whom wanted to be identified, suspect the Heat are trying to prevent street-level scalpers from making a semi-honest living.

“The sad part is the actual fans can’t make it to the games because the prices are so inflated,” Junior’s co-worker said.

The scalpers’ whining actually makes the Heat happy. They don’t want scalpers working in front of the arena, or anywhere near the arena.

“They’ve never been allowed,” said Kim Stone, Heat executive vice president/general manager of AmericanAirlines Arena.

“What it comes down to is our enforcement of it, and yes, we have ramped up our enforcement this year. We did it on a sporadic basis last year. We’re doing it every game this year. That’s what they’re feeling.”

Stone said when street-level scalpers work, there’s often a problem with counterfeit tickets. So the Heat and Miami police have cracked down at sold-out events