According to Billboard, bad blood over the Taylor Swift Eras Tour has pitted industry giant AEG against fellow industry giant Live Nation Entertainment in the backroom battle over the future of ticketing legislation and regulation.

AEG, based in Denver, is notably absent among the industry insiders who publicly support the Live Nation/Ticketmaster push for laws that would effectively allow promoters to regulate tickets and ticket resale themselves, and is reportedly lobbying instead for legislation that would outlaw the exclusive ticketing contracts with venues that Ticketmaster has built much of its industry dominance on. The promoter has reportedly also asked the Department of Justice to examine the use of exclusive contracts as anti-competitive.

“AEG hopes its private lobbying of politicians and anti-trust officials will lead to regulatory change that could include abolishing exclusive ticketing contracts in the United States and ultimately move toward an industry more similar to Europe, where promoters generally don’t sign exclusive ticketing deals and work with multiple partners to sell tickets,” writes Dave Brooks in Billboard this week.


The burgeoning feud between the nation’s largest promoter (Live Nation) and its second largest (AEG) stems largely from the messy Taylor Swift Eras Tour, which got underway last weekend in Arizona. According to sources speaking to Billboard, the deal that AEG subsidiary ASM Global struck with Ticketmaster to continue using their competitors ticketing platform rather than their own – AXS – in 2021 included provisions that would allow AXS to sell tickets to AEG-promoted shows at ASM venues.

“This marked the largest carve-out in Ticketmaster’s exclusivity contract to date, potentially allowing hundreds of arenas, stadiums and performing arts centers to use AXS for the first time, like the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas…” Brooks wrote. “The provision was a sort of double victory for AEG, Live Nation’s leading competitor: The company was able to leverage its control over 350 ASM venues to get those clients large payouts for re-signing with Ticketmaster without forsaking its own ticketing service.”

But with Swift’s tour, that relationship has soured. AXS reportedly had expected that some of the tour dates in ASM-managed buildings would go their way, but instead the entire tour was going to use Ticketmaster – save for building that had contracts with SeatGeek. Ticketmaster executives had successfully argued in favor of the ticketing going through their business because of the exclusive contracts with NFL clients and the venues they owned.

To add insult to injury, in the wake of the Taylor Swift ticket sales disaster that has dominated headlines for months, Live Nation’s Greg Maffei claimed that AEG had chosen to use Ticketmaster to handle the tour despite it having its own ticketing system, saying “Even our competitors want to come on our platform” in an appearance on CNBC during the initial stages of the fiasco.

Rumors are swirling that there might be new ticketing legislation introduced at the federal level within the next few weeks. Live Nation Entertainment and its cadre of insiders are pushing to effectively eliminate any possibility of competition from resale by allowing the promoter (which largely serves as parent companies to the ticketers themselves) to decide whether or not to allow resale or transfer of tickets. Consumer advocates have pushed for more consumer protections against such anticompetitive practices, promoting instead laws that support a ticket buyer’s bill of rights.

It would appear that AEG is staking its ground somewhere in the middle, hoping to jam a wedge into Ticketmaster’s dominance over their own ticketing brand, while AXS itself operates similarly anticompetitive and anti-consumer transfer restriction policies on numerous events, save in states where such practices has been deemed illegal.

Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Dave Clark