CCPC publishes report on ticketing investigation

November 19, 2021

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has today published its report on the recently concluded investigation into ticketing services. The investigation report details how the CCPC was concerned that Ticketmaster Ireland may have abused its dominant position in the ticketing sector in Ireland, and that Ticketmaster Ireland’s long-term exclusive contracts may have restricted competition in the market. Ticketmaster Ireland denied breaching competition law but did agree to make specific changes to its current and future contracts with venues and live event organisers in Ireland.

The extensive investigation, which began in 2017, considered whether Ticketmaster Ireland had abused its dominant position in the market by entering into long-term contracts which hindered the ability of venues and live event organisers to work with any other ticketing services provider. Under competition law, holding a dominant position within a sector is not illegal. It is against the law to abuse a dominant position, however. The CCPC had concerns that Ticketmaster Ireland’s conduct was a potential breach of competition law under sections 4 and 5 of the Competition Act 2002 and under Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Ticketmaster Ireland entered into a legally binding agreement with the CCPC where it committed to a number of actions, including the removal of exclusivity clauses from agreements with venues, and limiting all of Ticketmaster Ireland’s agreements with live event organisers and venues in Ireland to a maximum duration of five years. Venues controlled by Live Nation Entertainment, Inc, Ticketmaster’s parent company are excluded from the agreement. Ticketmaster Ireland is also required to report annually to the CCPC on its compliance with new and existing agreements with venues and live events organisers in Ireland for a period of seven years. The CCPC agreement with Ticketmaster Ireland was made an order of the High Court under section 14B of the Competition Act 2002 on 15 December 2020 and the order came into effect on 29 January 2021.

Speaking today about the outcome of the case, Brian McHugh, Member of the Commission said,

“This was an important investigation into a sector that has been an area of concern for the CCPC. The actions agreed by Ticketmaster Ireland give more choice and flexibility to live event organisers and venues, and allow for improved competition in the market which will, ultimately, benefit the consumer. The CCPC is actively monitoring the impact of the changes on this sector where, although it is still early days, initial feedback is positive about the outcome of this investigation and we are optimistic that levels of competition will continue to increase in the future.

It’s crucial that businesses understand how competition law applies to them. As this report is published, the CCPC is reminding businesses that engaging in anti-competitive behaviour, such as entering into restrictive agreements or abusing a dominant position, is illegal and enforcement action will be taken where these practices are identified.”

The investigation report is available here.

 

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