BOSTON -- The New England Patriots have won a bid to get the names of all the fans who bought or sold -- or tried to buy or sell -- tickets to home games through online ticket reseller StubHub Inc., a move one technology group sees as an invasion of privacy.
In a lawsuit against San Francisco-based StubHub, a subsidiary of eBay Inc., claiming that the website encourages fans to break state law and violate team policies, The Patriots said they could seek to revoke season tickets of people who use StubHub.
A lawyer for the Patriots wouldn't say what the team plans to do with the 13,000 names, which StubHub gave it last week after losing its appeal of a Massachusetts state court ruling.
Team rules bar reselling game tickets for a profit. State law, though rarely enforced, restricts ticket markups to $2 above face value plus some service charges.
Patriots tickets have been offered on StubHub at prices many times higher, including two 50-yard-line seats for New England's Dec. 16 game against the AFC rival New York Jets listed Thursday for $1,300.05 each. Their face value is $125.
The Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group, said the court order to turn over the names infringes on the privacy rights of Patriots fans.
"The Patriots, just at the beginning of the season, were filming opposing teams and accused of surveillance and given a slap from the National Football League about that. Now they're turning the cameras on their fans, so clearly there is a lack of understanding about what privacy is," said Ari Schwartz, deputy director of the center.
StubHub parent eBay is a member of the center's working group on free speech online.
StubHub, one of the largest online ticket sellers, argued that the Patriots' request violated its confidentiality agreement with its customers and said the team wants to create a monopoly on the resale market for its own tickets.
"It is plain that the Patriots seek this highly confidential customer information to further their unlawful, anticompetitive campaign against StubHub and its customers," StubHub said in court papers.
The Patriots, who say they are trying to ensure fans get tickets at reasonable prices, are entitled to know who may be violating their rules.
"One of our claims against StubHub is that knowing we have rules against resale on the Internet, they are out there soliciting people to violate our rules," said Daniel Goldberg, a lawyer for the team. "In order to pursue that claim, we need to understand who has been persuaded by that inducement to list their tickets (on StubHub)."
Goldberg said the Patriots' rules on resale are clear and printed on the back of every ticket.