Investigation into TicketMaster fees & exclusivity arrangements
September 26, 2005
Outcome of investigation
The Competition Authority (“the Authority”) began an investigation into exclusive arrangements between TicketMaster Ireland (TicketMaster) and the largest event promoters in the State following a large number consumers voicing concern over concert ticket prices and booking fees.
Following a detailed analysis the Authority took the view that TicketMaster’s conduct did not constitute a breach of competition law. The Authority also considered that the agreements between TicketMaster and the two largest promoters did not prevent, restrict or distort competition.
Outline of case
The Authority’s investigation was prompted by a large number consumers voicing concern over concert ticket prices and booking fees and the exclusive arrangements between TicketMaster and the largest event promoters in the State.
TicketMaster at the time accounted for 100% of the market for outsourced ticketing services for events of national or international appeal. Despite this market share, the Authority considered that Ticketmaster did not appear to be able to exercise market power by behaving independently of its customers (i.e. the promoters) by charging higher booking fees to the end consumer. This is because the two main customers of TicketMaster were incentivized to minimize booking fees and they also had substantial buying power. Largely because of these factors, TicketMaster Ireland itself is constrained from exploiting its large market share to the detriment of consumers. As a result, its conduct in this instance did not breach competition law and the Authority subsequently closed its investigation.
The Authority’s investigation did highlight one issue of potential concern relating to the degree of transparency in ticket price information. However an absence of transparency in price information does not constitute a breach of competition law. Therefore the Authority brought this issue to the attention of the Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs and the National Consumer Agency.
To learn more on this case read our Enforcement Decision regarding alleged excessive booking fees by TicketMaster Ireland and its exclusive contractual relationships with MCD Promotions Limited and Aiken Promotions Limited.
Should you have concerns about the competitive nature of a ticketing arrangement you can make a complaint to the CCPC.