(2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6484)
Ticketmaster (“TM”) and Tickets.com (“TC”) were full-service ticketing companies serving local markets across the United States. In the late 1990s, TM sued TC for “deep linking,” whereby TC allegedly listed TM events on its website and linked visitors to TM’s website just before the point of purchase. TC countersued under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act claiming TM’s exclusive contracts unreasonably restrained trade and maintained their monopoly in the ticketing industry. TC’s fundamental claim was that TM’s long-term exclusive contracts with venues foreclosed TC from competition, resulting in harm to TC and consumers. TC wanted to be a venue’s Internet …show more content…
Rather than negotiate each venue separately, these companies negotiated for all of their venues in one contract. TM won the competition for all of these multiple-venue contracts.
Major League Baseball Advanced Media (“MLBAM”) was an entity formed by Major League Baseball. One of its tasks was to collectively negotiate an Internet ticketing contract for all baseball teams. TC won this contract, the term of which was approximately three years. As its individual team contracts expired, TM refused to bid for the right to ticket the other three distribution methods for MLB teams. In other words, TM refused to operate non-exclusively. When MLBAM’s contract with TC expired, it chose not to renew with TC and to switch to TM.
TC’s Allegations and Complaint
TC’s main complaint was that “The use by TM of long term exclusive contracts have no reasonable economic justification and provide barriers to entry into the ticket business by their long term and exclusive nature.” TC claimed the relevant market was “…the market for full service ticket distribution services purchased by major venues. By full service ticketing, Professor Rubinfeld means the selling of tickets by all four methods (venue box office, retail outlets, telephone sales, and internet sales) for arenas with a capacity of over 5,000 reserved seats which sell over 100,000 single tickets annually for live events.”
In addition to its main complaint, TC