Ticketmaster faces anti-trust action from StubHub

May 2015

Live events sector


In what could prove to be a landmark case in the sports ticket marketplace”, Live Nation’s Ticketmaster is being sued by eBay-owned StubHub over its official alliance with the Golden State Warriors basketball team. Ticketmaster is the primary ticket seller for the Warriors, and also operates the official season ticket resale platform, where tickets can be officially resold. The basketball team threatens to cancel any tickets it sees being touted on other secondary sites, like StubHub: reselling a ticket is usually a breach of the terms and conditions of the original purchase. The threat has apparently worked. StubHub claims that listings for Warriors tickets, which is currently the hottest ticket in the NBA, are down 80 percent in the past year.
But StubHub has alleged that this amounts to anti-competitive behaviour on Ticketmaster’s part. The eBay firm says in its complaint: “If you are a Warriors fan and you want season tickets, you have one choice: buy them through Ticketmaster”. The company’s General Counsel Michelle Fang then told Bloomberg that her client was suing in the interest of Warriors’ fans, adding of Ticketmaster’s motives: “Given that they haven’t been able to win when we’ve competed on a level playing field, they’re trying to compete unfairly”. Ticketmaster responded to the litigation, saying: “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. 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”.

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