The National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) issued a statement applauding the recent announcement that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would be holding a “workshop” in the spring of 2019 to examine the ticketing marketplace.
In his statement, Gary Adler, Executive Director and Counsel of the NATB, calls it “welcome news” that the FTC has chosen to “examine the anticompetitive practices that NATB has been warning about for a long time,” related to how Ticketmaster operates as a dominant and vertically integrated monolith at the center of live entertainment.
The NATB’s sentiment runs counter to a statement released following the FTC announcement by Ticketmaster, indicating that the workshop was “not a probe” of its business operations. “We encourage other ticketing companies to take part in educating consumers and lawmakers on the opportunities and challenges in the ticketing industry,” it read, in part.
The full release by the NATB is included below:
NATB Statement to Federal Trade Commission Announcement of Workshop on Ticket Sales
“For anyone who enjoys live events and purchases tickets, or who works in the ticketing business and competes with the giant Ticketmaster, it is welcome news today that the Federal Trade Commission will convene a workshop to examine the anticompetitive practices that NATB has been warning about for a long time. The DOJ is already reportedly investigating Ticketmaster against complaints that it may be violating the consent agreement it entered into when it merged with Live Nation, and now the FTC has announced it will look into practices that limit ticket availability on the primary market and mislead consumers about ticket prices and availability. The FTC specifically announced that it will explore ways to address deception beyond traditional law enforcement, and this is terrific because hopefully for the sake of consumers and a competitive ticket market, much needed change will result from this process. The frustrations that consumers face today in accessing the tickets they want and at a price they consider reasonable or at market value stem almost entirely from practices related to the initial ticket supply and how it is tightly controlled at every turn. This primary market for tickets, from sports to music, is overwhelmingly monopolized by the Live Nation/Ticketmaster giant. The lack of vibrant competition in the market combined with Live Nation/Ticketmaster’s hands on so many levers to restrict ticket sales and resale is why tickets are more difficult to access and more expensive to purchase, a situation that harms consumers and needs fixing. We look forward to participating in this FTC workshop.”