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What the DOJ-Ticketmaster lawsuit means for ticket prices, fees and future events – NBC Chicago

Will the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Ticketmaster and Live Nation provide concert-goers, sports fans and spectators some relief from soaring ticket prices?

The lawsuit could potentially lead to the breakup of Live Nation Entertainment, a company formed from Ticketmaster’s 2010 merger with concert promoter Live Nation. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the goal was to allow more competition and allow smaller players to capture a larger share of the U.S. ticket sales market, of which Ticketmaster controls 70%.

Increased competition could lead to cheaper tickets. But experts say live event fans shouldn’t expect changes anytime soon.

The Justice Department on Thursday accused Live Nation of engaging in a series of practices that allowed it to maintain a stranglehold on the live music scene. They accused him of using long-term contracts to prevent venues from choosing competing ticket offices, preventing venues from using multiple ticket sellers, and threatening venues with losing money and fans. They don’t choose Ticketmaster.

If this happened to you, it may have irritated you. An estimated 85% of Americans have already paid them.

The outcry resulting from a myriad of issues Swifties encountered while trying to purchase tickets through Ticketmaster for the pop star’s 2022 Eras tour has highlighted the cracks in the US ticketing system.

State attorneys general — 30 of which joined the Justice Department’s lawsuit — began investigating Ticketmaster. Widespread outcry on social media even led to a Senate hearing.

Eleanor Fox, professor emeritus at NYU Law School, said the debacle of an entertainment giant seemingly incapable of serving an enthusiastic audience could have helped the Justice Department build its case by making more apparent the scale of Ticketmaster’s dominance.

“I mean, you can say it was extraordinary that there was this much demand (and that’s what led to the problems), but they knew it was going to be extraordinary that there was this much demand “Fox said. “When there is competition, companies are more sensitive and more responsive to problems that may arise. »

Why are ticket prices so high?

Ticket prices have increased for several reasons, including a surge in demand following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Live Nation reported last month that global ticket sales for the top 100 tours in 2023 jumped 46% from the previous year, generating $9.17 billion in sales. Attendance at Live Nation-produced events jumped 20% to a staggering 145 million last year.

According to trade publication Pollstar, the average ticket price for the top 100 tours in 2023 was $122.84, up 17% from the previous year and a 31% increase over the 2018 average price.

And as anyone who has tried to acquire tickets to a popular event knows, service fees and ticket resale can drive prices much higher, in some cases up to several thousand dollars.

The Justice Department’s lawsuit alleges that having a giant corporation like Live Nation Entertainment exacerbates the markups since it controls a large portion of the market.

What does Ticketmaster say?

Live Nation and Ticketmaster, who have long clashed with artists and fans, have always denied acting in a monopolistic manner. They say they are not responsible for the high ticket prices. They said Thursday that the DOJ’s lawsuit “will not resolve the issues fans are concerned about regarding ticket prices, service fees and access to high-demand shows.” They claim that service fees go back to music venues and that outside competition has “consistently eroded” Ticketmaster’s market share.

What happens next?

Unless it is dismissed, the suit kicked off Thursday what is likely to be a lengthy trial. The trial could take a year to begin, and then there would be months of arguments before a judge makes a decision, said Fox of the NYU School of Law.

“And especially if the judge orders the breakup, there will be an appeal,” she added. “So you look at the years.”

The government has several pending lawsuits accusing large companies of engaging in illegal monopolies that eliminate competitors and drive up prices.

In March, the Justice Department sued Apple, accusing the tech giant of creating an illegal monopoly in the smartphone market.

Earlier this month, closing arguments were made in a lawsuit against Google that dates to the Trump administration. Federal prosecutors have accused the tech giant of maintaining a monopolistic status as a search engine.

In September, the Federal Trade Commission sued Amazon, alleging that the e-commerce giant abuses its market position to inflate prices on and off its platform, overcharge sellers and stifle competition. Amazon moved to dismiss the suit in December, but a judge set a trial date for October 2026.

NBC Chicago

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