US Reps Call On House Chairs To Strengthen Antitrust Oversight Of Events Ticket Market

US Representatives Bill Pascrell, Frank Pallone – the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Jerrold Nadler – the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, led two other House committee chairs on Monday, April 19, urging the Biden Administration to take a stronger hand of antitrust enforcement in the live events ticket marketplace, particularly in its oversight of the longtime Live Nation-Ticketmaster monopoly.

The letter was signed by Representatives.Pascrell, Pallone, Nadler, Jan Schakowsky – Chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, and David Cicilline – Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administration Law.

“We write in support of strong antitrust enforcement by the Biden Administration, including the live event ticket sales marketplace. The evidence is overwhelming that the 2010 merger between the world’s largest concert promoter, Live Nation, and the biggest ticket provider, Ticketmaster, has strangled competition in live entertainment ticketing and harmed consumers and must be revisited,” the members wrote to the Attorney General and Acting Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

A scathing 2018 report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that Live Nation enjoys more than an 80% control of the venue ticket sales market, a share that has only grown since the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger in 2009 despite promises to the contrary. GAO further uncovered that the ticket market as a whole is rife with practices that are “not fully transparent,” and that Live Nation, which claims more than half of ticket sales in the United States, engages in questionable gimmicks to conceal its extra costs.

In closing their letter to the Biden administration the members demand strong antitrust scrutiny: “We strongly urge the DOJ and FTC to protect consumers future access to live events by immediately launching an investigation of [Live Nation’s] potentially unfair, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices.”

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