The gloves are off in the battle for secondary ticketing supremacy: eBay’s StubHub is suing Ticketmaster, claiming the Live Nation firm has violated US antitrust law.
Ticketmaster is strongly denying StubHub’s lawsuit, slamming its “specious claims” and suggesting that the reason its market share is growing in resale is simply because it provides a better service.
StubHub alleges that Ticketmaster conspired with co-defendant The Golden State Warriors in an “anticompetitive scheme” that forced fans who no longer wanted their tickets to sell them on Ticketmaster’s resale marketplace – via NBAtickets.com – or “forfeit [them] altogether”.
The NBA team allegedly “cancelled or threatened to cancel” secondhand tickets not purchased through Ticketmaster, giving fans a “Hobson’s Choice”.
“If ticketmaster’s anticompetitive actions are not stopped, millions of americans will find themselves captive to a monopoly.”
Ticketmaster became the official ticket resale partner of the NBA in 2012. StubHub says that the number of Golden State Warriors tickets listed on its site in the past year has declined 80%.
“If the anticompetitive actions complained of herein are not stopped, Ticketmaster is likely to seek to replicate them with other teams and entertainment venues throughout the United States, restricting more consumers,” the suit reads. “As a result, millions of Americans will find themselves captive to a monopoly.”
Ticketmaster parent Live Nation has responded with a strong comment, slamming StubHub’s ‘baseless lawsuit’.
“We are disappointed that StubHub has filed a baseless lawsuit that asks the courts to help prop up its business against true fan-friendly competition,” it reads. “NBA teams like the Golden State Warriors have implemented ticket exchanges powered by Ticketmaster because they want ticket resale to be a secure experience, not an opportunity for scalping and fraud.
“Stubhub’s baseless lawsuit asks the courts to help prop up its business… we vigorously defend [against] this specious charges.”
“The exchanges are growing in popularity because Ticketmaster and its partners have worked hard to make ticket resale much safer and more transparent, uniquely serving true fans. Ticketmaster does not force any customer to resell tickets on any particular platform and will vigorously defend [against] these specious charges.”
Live Nation recently announced that gross sales of secondary tickets through its own resale platforms reached US $900m in 2014.
It expects these revenues to top US $1bn in 2015.
Ticketmaster effectively acquired a major resale rival, Seatwave, in November. Recent reports suggest that EBay-owned StubHub, suffered market share losses in 2014.
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