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2019 in review: January

The year kicked off with Ticketfly and Crowdtorch, which are no longer operational, settling the lawsuit between them that had been ongoing since 2014.

Eventbrite-owned Ticketfly and Crowdtorch, which was bought by Vendini in 2015, were battling over a 2014 ticketing contract for venues including the New Parish in Oakland signed by former club owner Jason Perkins.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, saw Ticketfly accuse Perkins of defaulting on an exclusive ticketing deal he had signed with Ticketfly.

January also saw New Jersey’s Supreme Court rule that the NFL’s 2014 Super Bowl ticketing policies were lawful after claims that the league violated state consumer fraud laws.

The lawsuit, filed by fan Josh Finkelman, made reference to practices the league allegedly undertook leading up to the 2014 NFL championship game at MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and the New York Jets.

Finkelman claimed in the suit that the NFL’s practice of releasing roughly one per cent of available tickets through a lottery, with the rest going to teams, sponsors and other insiders, was against New Jersey law.

However, the court ruled that the NFL did not violate state consumer fraud laws.

Back in the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued an open letter to event organisers detailing their responsibilities over ticket sale terms and conditions, transparency over resale restrictions and consumer rights.

The letter stated that organisers should make sure that, as a minimum, information about restrictions on use is clearly and prominently disclosed on the event home page and the first page of the purchase process on the websites of all official sellers.

It also urged managers to notify resellers about problems with any information relevant to the event tickets. The CMA said at the time that organisers must notify platforms of any issues that occur before or after tickets go on sale on the primary market in writing and should also provide seat information and supporting evidence.

Finally, January kicked off the start of a story that only concluded recently with a shock buyout. Elliot Management, a New York investment firm known for its activist streak, urged eBay to sell StubHub in order to improve its stock.

The brokers demanded in a letter to management that it should break apart and rethink its management team. It outlined a five-step plan to improve eBay’s “floundering” stock, including separating StubHub and its classified properties to focus on its core marketplace.

Of course, as we now know, StubHub was ultimately acquired by controversial secondary ticketing competitor Viagogo in a $4.05bn deal.

Click here to see the February 2019 review.

Image: Pxhere

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