This week, the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) banned CTS Eventim from requiring its promoter and box office partners to exclusively work with the ticketer.
In a case that is similar to the Songkick vs. Ticketmaster lawsuit in the U.S., German authorities have prohibited Eventim from enforcing its contract with partners to “only sell tickets exclusively or to a considerable extent via CTS’s eventim.net ticket sales system.” The Federal Cartel Office believes that with the Munich-based ticketing giant holding a 50–70% marketshare, the exclusivity agreements are an abuse of the company’s dominant market position according to IQ Mag.
“As the operator of the largest ticketing system in Germany, CTS Eventim holds a dominant position in the market. Under competition law, a company with such a market position has special obligations,” said Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt. “Where CTS Eventim commits its contract partners to sell tickets exclusively via its own ticketing system, the company is abusing its market power to the detriment of competition. With our decision, substantial ticket quotas will be freed up for sale via competing ticketing systems.”
Under the Bundeskartellamt’s ruling handed down on Monday, Eventim’s exclusivity agreements are considered anti-competitive and “encouraging a general trends towards further monopolisation” in Germany. The judgement will require Eventim to allow any partner with a deal longer than two years to sell at least 20% of its annual inventory through other ticketers.
Immediately following the decision, Eventim released a statement saying they will not accept the ruling and plan to contest it.
The statement reads “The decision of the Federal Cartel Office ignores the fierce competition in the market for ticket services, which is constantly increasing as a result of frequent market entries by digital providers from Germany and abroad.”
It continues “Against this background, we have to assume that the Cartel Office has gone into this procedure with a preconceived notion that does not adequately reflect this development. All the investigations in the three-year proceedings were apparently aimed at confirming this belief. We regret that the agency has not adequately considered our strong counter-arguments, especially as they are supported by current studies and economic expert reports. [If] they had, the investigation would have led to a different outcome.”
This is not the first time this year that Eventim has clashed with the Federal Cartel Office in Germany. At the end of November, the authorities blocked Eventim’s acquisition of Berlin-based promoter and booking agency Four Artists. The Cartel Office told Eventim on Nov. 24 that “By acquiring Four Artists, CTS Eventim would gain control of additional relevant ticket quotas and expand its market position further.”
The inquisition into Eventim’s acquisition of Four Artists announced in March prompted regulators to look into the possibility that the ticketing giant was abusing its dominance in the market “by concluding exclusive contracts with event organisers and advance booking offices.”
Eventim also said it plans to seek legal remedies to move forward with their acquisition of Four Artists.