StubHub to pay over $16m in long-running dispute with Spotlight Ticket Management

Featured Image: Michael Bußmann from Pixabay

StubHub has been forced to pay out more than $16m (£12.6m/€14.7m) in legal fees, following a month-long jury trial in Los Angeles. 

The resale platform had been accused of deliberately attempting to wreck a partnership between Spotlight Ticket Management, a software company that provides a ticket management platform to corporate customers, and one of its key clients.

The company initially sued StubHub in January 2020, before the resale platform attempted to have the lawsuit thrown out the following March.

Spotlight was founded in Calabasas, California in 2007 by three former StubHub sales representatives. Its legal team, Hunton Andrews Kurth, argued that by 2013, StubHub was paying significant commission to Spotlight for sales it drove to the resale platform through its corporate clients.

One of Spotlight’s most prominent business partnerships was with American Express (Amex), which signed up to use the company’s software in 2014. Beginning that year, Spotlight purchased and managed ticket inventory made available by Amex to its concierge card-holders.

In the years following, Amex and Spotlight expanded its relationship to include secondary marketplace tickets through StubHub and the global Amex e-Hub platform, which made Amex offerings available to card-holders worldwide on a mobile device.

StubHub originally agreed to pay Spotlight 7% commission on all purchases sent to the secondary marketplace. However, according to Spotlight’s legal team, StubHub often failed to pay on tickets purchased by Amex, arguing that there were ‘software tracking issues’ among other excuses.

The legal team further argued that StubHub’s senior management “formulated and executed a scheme to provide false and misleading information about Spotlight to Amex, intended to disrupt and ruin the unique, mutually beneficial relationship that had developed between Amex and Spotlight over the years”.

The jury concluded that the full amount of commission owed to Spotlight should be paid, and that StubHub had intentionally interfered with the existing contracts between Spotlight and Amex, as well as the relationship between the two businesses.

Last week, the 12-person jury returned a verdict in favour of Spotlight on all counts in the amount of $16.3 million.

“The Spotlight team could not be more pleased with this result. This is a victory for Spotlight, for affiliate partners more broadly, and for ticket purchasers across the country, and vindicates Spotlight after years of litigation,” said Spotlight chief executive and co-founder Tony Knopp.

“We thank the Hunton Andrews Kurth litigation team, particularly our long-time trusted counsel Chris Pardo, to whom we owe this victory, as well as Jake Struck, Larry DeMeo and lead trial counsel, Harry Manion, chair of Hunton Andrews Kurth’s National Trial Team.”