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Ticketmaster to remove exclusivity clauses from contracts with venues after agreement with regulator

Ticketmaster denied breaching competition law arising from the CCPC’s investigation but has agreed to a number of measures.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Shutterstock/Cesare Andrea Ferrari

TICKETMASTER HAS ENTERED into an agreement with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) which will see it remove exclusivity clauses from contracts with venues over the supply of ticketing services.

It comes after a lengthy investigation from the CCPC into suspected anti-competitive practices in relation to the provision of tickets and the operation of ticketing services for live events. 

The investigation, launched in January 2017, came after a number of high-profile gigs sold out within minutes on Ticketmaster and appeared 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.

The CCPC said in a statement that Ticketmaster Ireland holds a “very significant share of this market on the island of Ireland”. 

It went on: “The CCPC had concerns that Ticketmaster Ireland may have abused a dominant position in the market by entering into long term exclusive contracts with contractual partners  and that these contracts may have restricted competition in the market.

“Abuse of a dominant position and entering into anti-competitive agreements are prohibited by competition law.”

Ticketmaster denied breaching competition law.

However, it has entered into an agreement with the CCPC in which it has made a number of commitments.

Last week, TheJournal.ie reported that the CCPC has sought a High Court order to formalise this agreement, and the contents of the agreement were published this morning.

The CCPC said: “In summary, Ticketmaster’s agreement has committed Ticketmaster to remove exclusivity clauses with respect to venues in relation to the supply of outsourced primary ticketing services, and limit the time period of exclusivity clauses to 3 years in contracts with live event organisers.

Overall contract duration will be capped at 5 years, and there will be no automatic contract renewals.

The regulator said it is aware of the “very significant adverse impact” the pandemic has had on the live events industry. 

It said that, when live events open again, the measures put in place from this agreement would “allow for improved competition in the market, and provide more choice for Irish live event businesses”. 

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The CCPC added: “Improved competition in this market can ultimately deliver consumers significant benefits in terms of price, service and innovation.”

The filing from the CCPC to have its agreement with Ticketmaster made an order of the High Court is due to be heard on 15 December. 

Should that be made an order of the court, the terms of the agreement would come into effect after 45 days.

A Ticketmaster spokesperson said: “We have been working with the CCPC and are pleased to have resolved their concerns. The motion filed in the Irish High Court is simply a mechanism to formalise our agreement with them and concludes their investigation.”

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Sean Murray

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