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2020 in review: June

Early in June, the UK’s competition watchdog raised concerns about the merger between Viagogo and StubHub citing potential price hikes and fewer ticket options for consumers.

Later in the month, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) referred the merger for an in-depth (Phase 2) investigation, citing that the acquisition could result in a “substantial lessening of competition”.

The month brought a glimmer of hope to many in the live sector across the world, with fans returning to events in several regions.

The New Zealand government moved the country out of Alert Level 2, paving the way for fans to return to sporting fixtures without any restrictions. Eden Park in Auckland welcomed a full house of 43,000 rugby fans in the largest crowd the Blues had hosted in 15 years in its win over the Wellington Hurricanes.

Meanwhile, 20,000 supporters flocked to see the Highlanders play the Chiefs at the 30,748-capacity Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

Meanwhile, Nemzeti Bajnokság, the top tier of Hungarian football, became the first European league to allow fans to return to its stadia in June. The Hungarian national football federation (MLSZ) required fans to be spread out so that no more than one seat in four was occupied and every second row was entirely empty.

Elsewhere, Roboticket’s smart seat technology enabled Polish football club Lech Poznan to sit thousands of fans together at the club’s game at Poznań Stadium after Polish football authorities agreed to a plan that allowed such a feat.

It was also in June that we saw the formation of Australia’s Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF), which was formed to support the safe reactivation of events with live audiences across the country. LEIF’s executive committee includes the bosses of TEG, Live Nation, Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment, and AEG, among many others.

We also began to see alternative concert formats as venues and promoters look at ways to continue operating without an audience or one that is socially distanced.

Barcelona’s Liceu opera house hosted a livestreamed concert to a crowd of more than 2,000 plants. Meanwhile, event platform Showpass unveiled a new concert experience that used pool decks and courtyards as stages and hotel room balconies as box suites. The ‘Staycations’ series, which launched in Calgary, Canada, was approved by the Alberta Health Services, the health authority for the Canadian province.

Image: Liceu