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StubHub site offers Green Monster seats before Sox do

The Red Sox will not sell tickets for Green Monster seats until Feb. 24. The Red Sox will not sell tickets for Green Monster seats until Feb. 24. (Jim Davis/Globe staff/File 2006)

Green Monster seats don't even go on sale until Feb. 24 -- and then only to Red Sox fans selected in a random drawing -- but one website is already listing the tickets for resale.

Two Green Monster tickets for the April 10 Opening Day game against the Seattle Mariners are posted on StubHub for $1,890 apiece, more than 13 times the face value of $140.

Green Monster tickets for many other games are on sale as well, usually for prices exceeding $1,000. A Green Monster seat at the New York Yankees game April 20 is posted for $2,000.

Sean Pate , a spokesman for StubHub, the San Francisco firm that serves as an online marketplace for ticket buyers and sellers, acknowledged that the people selling Green Monster tickets on his company's website don't have them yet. But he indicated that's not a problem.

"A lot of large sellers on the site have ways of filling orders," he said in an e-mail. "If they aren't reliable, then they get banned from selling."

Even if a seller is unable to fill an order, Pate said, StubHub will step in and offer the customer a comparable or better seat. "That's our FanProtect guarantee and why the managed marketplace is the best model for sales like these," he said.

StubHub's growing business has attracted online auctioneer eBay Inc., which agreed last month to buy the company for $310 million.

Many ticket resellers are already listing Red Sox tickets on their websites, but most of those tickets presumably belong to season ticket holders who are assured of receiving them. But no one is supposed to have an early line on Green Monster seats, which are located atop the famous left field wall.

Fans register online to buy Green Monster tickets and then the club scrutinizes the list of would-be buyers to weed out scammers and ticket agencies. More than 300,000 fans signed up for the random drawing this year, which takes place Feb. 19. The lucky winners will be allowed to buy tickets Feb. 24.

Ron Bumgarner , Red Sox vice president of ticketing, said all Green Monster seats are sold through the random drawing except for a small portion reserved for game-day sales, internal team needs, and some Red Sox Nation memberships.

"These sites are speculating that someone who is lucky enough to win the random drawing opportunity to purchase Green Monster seats is going to choose a payday over Opening Day," Bumgarner said. "It is disappointing."

The New England Patriots sued StubHub in November alleging its website was encouraging Massachusetts residents to violate the state's antiscalping law, which limits ticket resale markups to $2 above face value plus various service charges. StubHub countersued, alleging the Patriots were trying to monopolize the resale market for the team's tickets.

On Beacon Hill, key lawmakers say the state's antiscalping law is unworkable and should be revamped or scrapped. One pending bill would allow resellers to sell tickets for three times face value.

Bruce Mohl can be reached at mohl@globe.com.

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