Live Nation/Ticketmaster Could Face Federal Antitrust Lawsuit This Year, Says New Report

Live Nation antitrust Ticketmaster
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Live Nation antitrust Ticketmaster
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Photo Credit: Tdorante10 / CC by 4.0

Live Nation and Ticketmaster could face a federal antitrust lawsuit by the end of the year, says a new report from three individuals close to the situation.

According to a new report, Live Nation Entertainment and its subsidiary Ticketmaster could face a federal antitrust lawsuit by the end of the year. 

Three people with direct knowledge of the matter told Politico that the Department of Justice is aiming to file a lawsuit as soon as this fall that claims the live entertainment giant abuses its power over the industry. Such a case would add to the company’s existing legal battles and, if successful, could lead to the breakup of the company.

The department could ultimately decide not to bring a case, so while a lawsuit is expected, no final decision has been made. Still, a potential lawsuit against Ticketmaster has been part of recent discussions about upcoming litigation plans in the department’s antitrust division, according to two individuals close to the matter.

Resource constraints will likely play a significant part in whether a decision to sue Ticketmaster will be made, as antitrust prosecutors have a busy remainder of the year with trials involving big names like Google, Apple, Visa, and Adobe.

Executives at Live Nation were told early on in the investigation that it primarily focuses on Ticketmaster, with the DOJ asking questions on topics like prohibitions on reselling tickets and exclusivity deals with venues. A person close to the matter said the DOJ has also asked questions about contracts for artist tours.

The investigation has gained significant steam in recent months, but the company has been under federal scrutiny since the merger deal in 2010 that enabled Live Nation to acquire Ticketmaster. 

Though Ticketmaster is the largest ticketing company in the United States, the company maintains that its market share has fallen in recent years and is now significantly less than the DOJ’s alleged 80% in its initial 2010 case against the merger deal. Ticketmaster says companies like AEG, Paciolan, and SeatGeek increasingly eat its lunch, and the company estimates it controls only half of the market when sporting events are factored into the equation.