Live events sector
CTS Eventim is to appeal the decision by the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) which prohibits the Munich-based ticketing giant, the market leader in ticketing in Germany with a 50–70% marketshare in Germany, of requiring partners to “only sell tickets exclusively or to a considerable extent via CTS’s eventim.net ticket sales system” – something it claims is an abuse of the company’s dominant market position.
The Bundeskartellamt said that these “abusive exclusivity contracts with event organisers and advance booking offices” are shutting out competing ticketing companies and “encouraging a general trends towards further monopolisation” in Germany. Under the regulator’s decision, Eventim partners must have the option of selling at least 20% of their inventory annually via other ticket agencies, if their deal with the company is longer than two years. CTS has been given four months to comply with the ruling.
Andreas Mundt, president of the Bundeskartellamt, said: “As the operator of the largest ticketing system in Germany, CTS Eventim holds a dominant position in the market. Under competition law, a company with such a market position has special obligations …. Where CTS Eventim commits its contract partners to sell tickets exclusively via its own ticketing system, the company is abusing its market power to the detriment of competition. With our decision, substantial ticket quotas will be freed up for sale via competing ticketing systems.”
In a statement CTS Eventim says it will seek legal redress, and accuses the Bundeskartellamt of making a biased decision that fails to take into account the changing face of ticketing in Germany saying “The decision of the Federal Cartel Office ignores the fierce competition in the market for ticket services, which is constantly increasing as a result of frequent market entries by digital providers from Germany and abroad” and “Against this background, we have to assume that the Cartel Office has gone into this procedure with a preconceived notion that does not adequately reflect this development. All the investigations in the three-year proceedings were apparently aimed at confirming this belief” and “We regret that the agency has not adequately considered our strong counter-arguments, especially as they are supported by current studies and economic expert reports. [If] they had, the investigation would have led to a different outcome.”
The Bundeskartellamt recently blocked CTS Eventim’s acquisition of promoter/agency Four Artists, also on competition grounds. It is believed that decision will also be appealled to the German courts.
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office has now published the details of its ruling which effectively bans CTS Eventim’s exclusivity agreements with promoters and box offices, and has ordered both the ticketing and live entertainment giant to ensure that at least 20% of ticket inventory from the company’s partners be available to other ticket sellers. The Bundeskartellamt website, gives formerly Eventim-exclusive promoters the option of allocating at least 20% of their annual ticket inventory to other ticket agencies, providing the term of their agreement is for more than two years (or indefinite).
CTS Eventim says it still plans to appeal the ruling: “The decision of the Federal Cartel Office ignores the fierce competition in the market for ticket services, which is constantly increasing as a result of frequent entries into the market by digital [ticketing companies] from Germany and abroad,” says a spokesperson.