TICKETONE (AGAIN) IN THE TARGET OF THE ANTITRUST.
With a press release dated 26 September 2018, the Italian Antitrust Authority (AGCM) announced the start of an investigation against TicketOne S.p.A. and its parent company, the German company CTS Eventim AG & Co. KGaA, to ascertain the existence of an abuse of the company’s dominant position in violation of Article 102 of the TFEU.
TicketOne is back in the Authority’s sights: already in the spring of 2017, following the reports resulting from the rapid exhaustion of tickets in the primary market and the sale at a higher price in the secondary market, TicketOne was fined by the Authority for about 1.7 million Euros.
This time, according to the AGCM, TicketOne in a dominant position in the market for ticketing services for live music events (pop and rock concerts), has implemented an exclusive commercial strategy in order to bind to its ticketing platform the most important organizers (promoters) of live music events active in Italy. Consequently, the access to an essential input for competing ticketing platforms to compete in the market, namely tickets for concerts, has been precluded.
The Authority also points out that the prejudice suffered by competing platforms is aggravated by the fact that the exclusivity clause contained in the contracts between the promoters and TicketOne is particularly stringent on the online channel, which is now the main means of distributing tickets for this type of event. The Authority then found a further profile of illegality, descending from the commercial strategy implemented by TicketOne. Such an abusive strategy could also harm final consumers, since, by hindering the presence on the market of competing operators, TicketOne can charge higher prices for pre-sale tickets for live music events than the competitive ones and limit the choice of consumers among the different providers of ticketing services.
The investigation will be concluded by 31 December 2019, at the end of which it will be decided whether and which sanctions will be applied.