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2020 in review: November

TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2020 went online with industry executives worldwide tuning in for unmissable insights from key figures such as TEG chief executive Geoff Jones and Jim McCarthy, co-founder and chief executive of Goldstar and Stellar Tickets.

In a big month of news for the ticketing sector, Viagogo proposed selling off StubHub’s businesses outside North America after the UK’s competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), provisionally blocked the $4.05bn merger between the two resale rivals. The Swiss company put forward plans to sell the holding company that operates all its international primary and secondary ticketing businesses, while retaining StubHub’s much larger US and Canadian ticket resale business in an attempt to ease CMA concerns.

Ticketmaster UK was fined £1.25m for failing to keep its customers’ personal data secure after spending an additional £4m fighting the incident. The Information Commissioner’s Office issued the fine, stating that the company failed to put appropriate security measures in place to prevent a cyber-attack on a chatbot installed on its online payment page. The 2018 data breach, which included names, payment card numbers, expiry dates and CVV numbers, potentially affected 9.4 million of Ticketmaster’s customers across Europe, including 1.5 million in the UK.

The Judicial Court of Paris banned Google from selling keywords to advertisers, including ticketing resale sites Viagogo and StubHub, without permission from the appropriate promoter in France. French live music association Prodiss, which brought the case against Google France and Google Ireland – the home of Google’s European headquarters – filed the lawsuit after noticing advertisements for tickets to shows by Rammstein, Drake and Metallica on sites including Viagogo.fr, StubHub.fr and Rocket-Ticket.com at, or near, the top of Google’s search results.

The Italian antitrust authority found the ticketing practices of nine Serie A football clubs to be “unfair” following a consumer rights investigation launched last winter. The l’Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato said there were “vexatious” contract terms in the sale of season tickets and individual match tickets for Atalanta, Cagliari, Genoa, Inter, Lazio, Milan, Juventus, Rome and Udinese. The probe confirmed that there was “unfairness of some clauses” contained in the contractual conditions relating to refunds of season tickets and single match tickets, stating that “the right of consumers is not recognised”.

Live event operators, including Live Nation and CTS Eventim, saw their share prices soar following the news that a COVID-19 vaccine had been found to be 90% effective. Just 30 minutes after pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer announced the positive progress of its vaccine trial results, Ticketmaster owner Live Nation’s share price was up 20.8% to $67.73, Madison Square Garden Entertainment was up 21.4% to $84.44 and German concert promoter Eventim was up 23.5% to $51.90. German live entertainment group DEAG’s share price also grew by double digits in percentage terms.

Image: Ajay Suresh / CC BY 2.0 / Edited for size