Why Live Nation Won Antitrust Lawsuit Against Ticket Buyers
Live Nation and Ticketmaster have emerged victorious in a recent antitrust lawsuit against them because the ticket buyers filing the suit had waived their rights to sue as part of the company's terms of agreement.
In January of 2022, Live Nation Entertainment, which includes both Live Nation and Ticketmaster, were sued for allegedly violating antitrust laws and using what was described in the suit as predatory practices. The suit was filed by lawyers for the firms Quinn Emanuel and Keller Lenker, and it was the second such lawsuit brought by Quinn Emanuel who had sued the company in 2020 with the federal judge ruling in Ticketmaster's favor.
A lower court had ruled in Live Nation's favor based on the grounds that customers had agreed in the terms and conditions of the ticket purchase to settle disputes in arbitration rather than taking it to court. The case was eventually re-opened by the federal appeals court after plaintiffs argued that they were being misled because the arbitration agreement was not clear.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, in the appeal, ticket purchasers argued that the arbitration agreement was invalid because it didn't identify the legal names of the corporate entities as parties to the contract. But the California 9th Circuit panel sided with Live Nation, stating that "California law doesn't require corporate parties to a contract to use their full legal names." They added that "Live Nation Entertainment, Inc." was explicitly referenced multiple times in the Terms, as was the arbitration clause.
As such, the case was dismissed.
That said, the ruling did not address the questions in the lawsuit of whether Live Nation can charge bloated ticket prices through their ticketing services.
Aside from the antitrust suit, Live Nation Entertainment has been in the headlines of late due to a U.S. Justice Department investigation. Back in November, the Justice Department launched an antitrust investigation into the ticketing giant after the company ran into issues with ticketing for Taylor Swift's tour last fall. Apparently, 3.5 million fans had signed up for the Ticketmaster Verified Fan pre-sale, and 1.5 million were given codes, meaning the other 2 million were put on a waitlist. When the sale began, there were 3.5 million users aboard the system, causing the servers to crash due to the volume.