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Ticketmaster commits to addressing regulator concerns but denies breaching competition law as part of lengthy probe

In 2017, the CCPC began an investigation in relation to the ticket sales and the operation of ticketing services for live events.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Ben Ryan SIPA USA/PA Images

THE COMPETITION AND Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has filed a High Court motion seeking to formalise an agreement made with Ticketmaster following a lengthy investigation into the provision of tickets and the operation of ticketing services for live events in Ireland. 

The regulator’s probe into suspected breaches of competition law began just under four years ago. 

In launching the investigation in January 2017, the CCPC said that it would focus “primarily on potentially anti-competitive conduct by operators including; those involved in providing tickets and ticketing services, promoters and venues”.

It came after a number of high-profile gigs sold out within minutes on Ticketmaster and appearing for sale at a higher price on re-seller sites, prompting a consumer outcry and politicians to begin drafting legislation aimed at clamping down on the re-selling of tickets, or ticket touting.

For its part, Ticketmaster has denied any breaches of competition law.

During its investigation, the CCPC said it had issued witness summonses and formal requirements for information to a number of parties involved in the sector.

It also welcomed contacts from parties who felt they have information they feel is relevant to the investigation. 

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, the CCPC says it has reached an agreement with Ticketmaster whereby the ticket seller has agreed to address the regulator’s concerns arising from its investigation.

To formalise this agreement, the CCPC has filed a motion in the High Court and submitted papers on this matter earlier this week.

A CCPC spokesperson added: “The CCPC is applying to the High Court for an order pursuant to section 14B(2) of the Competition Act 2002, as amended. 

“Ticketline Unlimited Company (trading as Ticketmaster Ireland) has denied breaching competition law but has nonetheless entered into an agreement with the CCPC in which Ticketmaster Ireland has given commitments to address the CCPC’s concerns arising from its investigation.

“In its application to the High Court, the CCPC is seeking to have the agreement between the CCPC and Ticketmaster Ireland made an order of the High Court.”

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The CCPC spokesperson added that the contents of this agreement would be published next week. 

The High Court is due to hear the motion on 15 December. 

Ticketmaster declined to comment, but it’s understood it will agree to the motion. 

Comments are closed as the issue relates to an ongoing court case

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Sean Murray

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