FTC promises robust anti-competitive enforcement of corrupt live events marketplace

Pascrell, Pallone and Schakowsky have long called for intervention against Live Nation-Ticketmaster monopoly

WASHINGTON, DC – Respond to a recent letter U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06), and Chairman of the House Subcommittee Energy and Commerce Chamber on Consumer Protection and Commerce Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09) on Monopoly Regulation Live Nation-Ticketmaster, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) agreed that “vigorous enforcement is essential to ensure competitive markets and protect consumers.” The acting head of the FTC “is committed to using all of the Commission’s law enforcement tools to protect consumers in the live ticketing market.”

“We are pleased that the FTC shares our urgent concern to protect American consumers and to apply real oversight to the ticket market for live events,” said Reps Pascrell, Pallone and Schakowsky in reaction to the FTC letter. “As the country emerges from the pandemic, Americans are eager to go to live events, including games and concerts. This demand should not be used to shock consumers. In light of past practices, the FTC and the Department of Justice should also investigate the Live Nation-Ticketmaster monopoly for its unfair, deceptive and anti-competitive practices. Millions of consumers have waited long enough for relief. “

The April 19 letter from Pascrell, Pallone and Schakowsky was also signed by the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nalder (D-NY-10) and David Cicilline (D-RI-01), chairman of the subcommittee. House Judiciary on Antitrust, Commerce and Administration. Law. A copy of the FTC’s response is available here.

A scathing 2018 report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) commissioned by President Pallone and Representative Pascrell found this Live Nation enjoys over 80% control over the hall ticket sales market, a share that has only increased since the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger in 2009 despite promises to the contrary. The GAO further discovered that the ticket market as a whole is rife with practices that are “not fully transparent” and that Live Nation, which claims more than half of ticket sales in the United States, is indulging in gimmicks. dubious to hide its additional costs.

Congressman Pascrell has been a leader in Congress in calling for regulation of the opaque market for live event tickets. Pascrell was a early review the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, and Many times urged the Obama administration to reject it, warning that the union would crush competition and hurt consumers. In May 2018, Pascrell wrote an editorial in the Los Angeles Times about its attempts to impose more positive regulation on the shattered live event ticketing market.

Two months later, Pascrell and Pallone wrote a letter to then FTC Chairman Joseph Simons, pointing to the GAO study which uncovered a myriad of consumer protection and competition issues in the primary and secondary markets for live event tickets. In response, the FTC organized a event ticket workshop held in June 2019 to review many of the challenges faced by fans of buying tickets.

Pascrell is the main sponsor of the BOSS Act, comprehensive legislation that will impose a basic level of transparency on the ticketing industry so that fans have a fair chance to purchase tickets in the primary market and also seeks to protect consumers who choose to use the market secondary to buy tickets. A full section-by-section breakdown of the legislation is available here.

In April 2019, Pascrell and Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA-45) lambasted Ticketmaster’s refusal to issue refunds to Americans for events indefinitely postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ravaged by criticism from Pascrell and Porter, Live Nation turned the tide.

About William G.

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