Congress and FTC starting to put pressure on ticketing industry

Congress and FTC starting to put pressure on ticketing industry

10 Oct, 2018

 

Rep. Bill Pascrell, who helped spur a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “workshop” to examining live event ticketing set for spring of 2019, has asked the Department of Justice to investigate Ticketmaster in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The letter “highlights Live Nation/Ticketmaster market malfeasance” according to a release issued by the New Jersey democrat’s office on Friday afternoon.

“The concentrated market power of Ticketmaster has made it a behemoth with little incentive to protect consumers in the live event industry,” Pascrell writes. “DOJ can, and should, thoroughly investigate and take strong steps to address any and all consent decree violations and anticompetitive practices of Ticketmaster/Live Nation.”

This letter comes on the heels of the FTC workshop announced last week, which Pascrell helped spur by way of a letter co-written Frank Pallone, Jr. – a fellow congressman from New Jersey asking the FTC to review Ticketmaster/Live Nation earlier this summer. The Federal Trade Commission is holding a “public workshop” to examine consumer protection and competition issues within the online event ticketing world.. The workshop will take place on March 27, 2019.

“The online event ticket industry has been a frequent topic of consumer and competitor complaints,” the announcement reads. “And FTC staff is seeking public input in advance of the workshop, including possible discussion topics and potential participants.”

Live Nation Entertainment, which has found itself buffeted by a litany of bad headlines in 2018, first in the wake of a report by the New York Times alleging widespread abuses of its market power in the industry, and more recently in the wake of bombshell reports regarding its pricing opacity and resale operations by the CBC and Toronto Star, issued a statement saying it “welcomes and looks forward to participating” in the workshop.