No Foul: Ticketmaster Resale Restriction Does Not Violate Antitrust

Resale of tickets to sporting and entertainment events has long been an issue that businesses seek to control. However, since most ticket sale laws vary on a state by state basis, it becomes increasingly difficult to monitor given the loopholes that resellers can use to circumvent the law. In the digital era, it is easier than ever to resell tickets with the use of online marketplaces for sellers and buyers of tickets such as StubHub, SeatGeek, and TicketsNow. Nonetheless, going forward, it will be interesting to monitor the relationships of both the professional sports and entertainment industries with these marketplaces. Earlier this month, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a complaint by StubHub, alleging that the Golden State Warriors and Ticketmaster Inc. were in violation of the §1 or §2 of the Sherman Act by mandating that persons who purchase Warriors’ tickets cannot resell them other than through Ticketmaster. StubHub asserted five separate claims, first, alleging that the defendants engaged in “illegal tying” by mandating that persons who purchase primary Warriors tickets cannot resell them other than through Ticketmaster, which constituted a violation of §1. Second, they alleged that defendants violated §1 by engaging in “a series of coordinated agreements and acts to limit competition” in the “Secondary Ticket Services Market.” The third claim alleged that the defendants violated §2 by entering into a “conspiracy to monopolize the Secondary Ticket Services Market.” In the fourth claim, StubHub alleged that Ticketmaster has violated § 2 by “attempting to monopolize the Secondary Ticket Services Market.” The final claim alleged that defendants have violated §1 by “entering...