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Ticketmaster Ireland to pull exclusivity clauses with venues

Ticketmaster Ireland has agreed to remove exclusivity clauses from contracts with venues over the supply of ticketing services following an agreement with the country’s competition watchdog.

The move comes after the Competition and Consumer Protections Commission (CCPC) last week filed a High Court motion seeking to formalise a legal agreement with the ticketing firm for it to address concerns raised during a lengthy investigation into the operation of ticketing services for live events in Ireland.

The CCPC said: “In summary, Ticketmaster’s agreement has committed Ticketmaster to remove exclusivity clauses with respect to venues in relation to the supply of outsourced primary ticketing services, and limit the time period of exclusivity clauses to three years in contracts with live event organisers.

“Overall contract duration will be capped at five years, and there will be no automatic contract renewals.”

The agreement with the regulator has also instructed Ticketmaster Ireland to provide written notice to each of its customers with whom it has existing exclusivity clauses, releasing them from their contractual obligation to comply with such a stipulation.

The watchdog has been investigating suspected breaches of competition law in ticketing since January 2017 and, as part of the wide-ranging probe, the CCPC has been looking into concerns of potentially anti-competitive conduct such as exclusive arrangements, rebates, and high service charges.

Ticketmaster has denied any breaches of competition law, but has agreed to address the concerns raised in the investigation.

The CCPC said it is aware of the “very significant adverse impact” the pandemic has had on the live events industry, adding that, when live events open again, the measures put in place from this agreement would “allow for improved competition in the market, and provide more choice for Irish live event businesses”.

The CCPC added: “Improved competition in this market can ultimately deliver consumers significant benefits in terms of price, service and innovation.”

The filing from the CCPC to have its agreement with Ticketmaster made an order of the High Court is due to be heard on December 15.

A Ticketmaster spokesperson said: “We have been working with the CCPC and are pleased to have resolved their concerns. The motion filed in the Irish High Court is simply a mechanism to formalise our agreement with them and concludes their investigation.”