Ticketing giant CTS Eventim has stepped up its fight against a ruling by competition authority Bundeskartellant which prohibits long-term exclusive ticketing agreements with event organisers and venues.
The watchdog says contracts between CTS and partners that stipulate exclusive or largely exclusive distribution represent an “abuse of market power”, which is banned under German competition law (see Audience issue 215).
The ruling says that in contracts that last longer than two years, CTS partners must have the option of selling at least 20 per cent of their annual inventory through other ticket agencies. Deals shorter than two years will not be affected.
CTS has now filed a complaint against the ruling with higher regional court the Oberlandesgericht of Düsseldorf.
“We believe that our exclusivity deals comply with all relevant legislation and do not hinder competition,” CTS’s Christian Steinhof tells Audience.
“The Bundeskartellant’s decision ignores the fierce competition in the German ticketing market, which is constantly increasing as a result of frequent market entries by digital companies both domestic and abroad.”
Steinhof declined to comment when asked whether the company’s ticketing deals generally run for longer than 24 months.
The Bundeskartellant has given CTS until April to comply with its ruling.
“CTS Eventim are in a very strong position and have had several mergers in the last few years,” the Bundeskartellant’s Michael Detering tells Audience. “We had complaints from the market and when we looked in more details into the market as part of an investigation, found an abuse of dominance.”
The authority’s president Andreas Mundt says CTS has used it market power “to the detriment of the competition”.
“Completing abusive agreements with broadcasters and ticket agencies continue to seal-off a significant part of the competitive ticket market,” suggests Mundt.
According to the watchdog, CTS processes between 60-70 per cent of all tickets sold in Germany through its systems.