Jam Productions, whose co-owner Jerry Mickelson has long been a critic of Live Nation and its Ticketmaster division, is suing the entities to be released from the ticketing contract Jam signed years before Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged.
Chicago-based Jam signed the ticketing deal with Ticketmaster in 2006, but the company claims it had an out in the contract should Ticketmaster join forces with another company that competed with Jam. The lawsuit was filed earlier this week in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Illinois.
At issue for Jam, and for other promoters since Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged, is that Live Nation, which is a competing concert promoter, allegedly could have access to confidential business intelligence that Jam or other promoters would give to Ticketmaster as their ticket seller.
In 2009, soon after the announcement that Ticketmaster and Live Nation planned to merge, Mickelson and fellow independent promoter Seth Hurwitz of I.M.P. testified before congress against the merger, in large part because of their concerns that rival Live Nation would access and use their competition information against them.
This year, after the Department of Justice approved the merger, Mickelson, Hurwitz and other promoters tried to keep up the pressure by filing complaints with the federal court overseeing the merger, but that effort failed to stop its passage.
Mickelson did not immediately return a message seeking comment, and neither did Live Nation spokesperson Linda Bandov Pazin. Jam Productions is represented by the Chicago law firm Sperling & Slater, which also represents the Chicago White Sox and CVS Corp., among others. Jam reportedly has started using eTix for some its ticket sales.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune in January, Mickelson said the Justice Department did not look closely enough at all the aspects of the merger that could potentially hurt other entities in the live entertainment business. The federal agency negotiated concessions from Ticketmaster and Live Nation, namely the forced sale of Ticketmaster’s Paciolan ticketing division to rival Comcast-Spectacor. But, the promotions side was not fully addressed.
“In asking for concessions, the Justice Department focused on ticketing, which is only one component of vertical integration. They didn’t focus on artists, promoters, buildings, merchandise, food and beverage, the managers that will be affected because the new company controls all of it. They should have looked at the entire chain of what is going to be affected. There was a precedent set in the U.S. vs. Paramount Pictures court case that held that one movie company couldn’t be a content provider, a distributor and a theater owner all rolled into one. Even today you don’t have movie studios owning movie theaters or distributors,” Mickelson told the Tribune.