Ticketmaster Mexico has avoided potentially massive fines after refunding price paid plus additional compensation to thousands of fans who were locked out of a Bad Bunny show in the country in December 2022. The Live Nation Entertainment subsidiary had been on the hook for fines that could have been as high as 10% of the company’s earnings in 2021, but instead was able to repay impacted consumers to satisfy regulators in the country.

At the December performance by Bad Bunny at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, thousands of fans were denied entry to the stadium as the star took the stage, leading to huge portions of the audience appearing to be empty. Ticketmaster Mexico, which was acquired by Live Nation in 2021 as part of the giant’s purchase of OCESA, attempted to blame the mess on fake tickets, but regulators later said that the company had oversold the performance, creating chaos at the gate.

One fan recounted the experience for the Washington Post in the aftermath of the concert.

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“They started bouncing people — the girl in front of me, then me and then like seven people after,” she said. “They told me my ticket had either been canceled or was a fake.”

 

Hernández showed workers at the venue her receipt and Ticketmaster account. Then they called the bank to confirm the transaction. By 10 p.m., she had waited in five different lines and had her paper ticket verified multiple times — only to be told “if it doesn’t pass, it doesn’t pass,” she said. Around her, Hernández said, some concertgoers tried climbing over a fence while others had their tickets ripped in front of them; tearful sobs and angry cries rang out around her.

 

“I’m so sick of this,” she said. “As a fan you prefer buying tickets from [Ticketmaster] instead of resale because that’s how you know your tickets aren’t false. Then, who are we supposed to trust?”

The tickets “weren’t falsified. Ticketmaster said they were falsified; but they issued all of them,” said Mexico Office of the Federal Prosecutor for the Consumer (PROFECO) Ricardo Sheffield in an interview after the debacle, calling the situation “an elegant way to oversell.” A second Bad Bunny concert the following night saw far fewer issues, as PROFECO agents observed the ticket-taking process to ensure that any issues were documented.

To avoid the fines, Ticketmaster Mexico provided full refunds and additional compensation to all 2,155 of the consumers known to have been impacted by the system issues. They received amounts equal to their price paid for the tickets, plus an additional 20%. In total Ticketmaster Mexico was forced to repay about 18.2 million pesos, just shy of $1 million in U.S. dollars. Sheffield’s office estimated that between 2-3,000 were denied entry to the first concert, and a website remains up for those impacted to file a complaint and apply for reimbursement.

The snafu came shortly on the heels of the similarly messy Taylor Swift Eras Tour presale, which saw system outages roil Ticketmaster’s North American sales process and sparking unprecedented scrutiny that led to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January and recently introduced legislation to reform certain aspects of ticketing at the federal level in the United States. That Ticketmaster and its parent Live Nation are “too big to care” and therefore have no reason to innovate and create a better customer experience or lower prices due to lack of competition is exactly what the regulators and lawmakers say is happening globally due to the lack of competition in the ticketing industry.