Ticketino, Switzerland’s third biggest ticket operator, has warned the possible merger of the country’s two biggest operators will lead to consumers facing “horrendous” charges and higher ticket prices.

Weko, Switzerland’s competition watchdog, will decide in the coming weeks whether the planned merger of Starticket and Ticketcorner should be allowed.

The merger was announced last October, but the investigation was launched in February with suggestions the two could make up more than 90 per cent of the Swiss market. Weko said it would reach a conclusion within four months.

In a statement, Ticketino chief executive Frank Wyss said he is assuming the merger will be given the green light, and predicts dire consequences for both organisers and consumers.

“A merger would make the negotiating position of organisers further weaken,” Wyss said. “This affects mainly small- and medium-sized ones who cannot compete with the emerging big conglomerate.

“Possible consequences would be an increasing deterioration of the support, rising fees and higher event marketing costs. The competition in the case of event marketing would largely disappear.

Horrendous charges

“It is still difficult to predict how prices will be affected as this is dependent on external factors.

“It is, however, to be assumed that organisers will ultimately increase fees to the ticket buyers. As a result, the ticket prices will increase. Critical is also that ticket buyers will hardly have any alternatives. There will be horrendous charges of up to 20 per cent largely without protection.”

Ticketino said it hopes its pricing and technology can allow it to prosper despite such a potentially dominant market leader.

Wyss added: “For us at the moment there is little change, we want to continue our low-price strategy and continue to rely on first-class support and innovation. We also have further technical upgrades and already this year have introduced a new Ticketshop and a new ScanApp. Likewise, we increasingly rely on new and full digital marketing formats such as social media, affiliate marketing and native advertising.”