Ticketmaster Vs. StubHub

The relationship between Ticketmaster and StubHub has always been tense, and with the filing of a recent lawsuit, things could soon get a whole lot uglier.

Ticketmaster filed suit against eBay and its secondary ticketing subsidiary StubHub, as well as 20 other "Doe Defendants" April 18th in Los Angeles Superior Court, bringing forth a slew of claims including interference with contractual relations and prospective economic relations, unjust enrichment and constructive trust.

Specifically, the suit stems from the recent announcement of the Rowdy Frynds Tour, featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams Jr., and 38 Special.

StubHub released a statement claiming to be the "Official Premium Ticket Provider" for the tour March 19th, and said it would provide exclusive auctions for first-row seats, as well as premium tickets for all 20 Rowdy Frynds dates.

At the time, a TM representative was unaware of the press release when contacted the company for comment. But it looks like Ticketmaster certainly knows a lot about it now.

The lawsuit claims StubHub, in conjunction with certain Doe defendants, obtained tickets to sell for the tour by "inducing Ticketmaster’s venue clients to deliver premium tickets to StubHub."

Ticketmaster alleges the defendants did this by making it clear that if venues failed to provide a stated quantity of premium tickets for the tour, they "might not be considered as venues for future live entertainment events."

The venues or operators of the venues hosting dates on the tour are Ticketmaster clients, according to the suit, and the company claims it provides "exclusive ticketing services for these venues either through a contract directly with the venue or through a contract with a venue management company or promoter."

Thus, by providing premium tickets for the tour, Stubhub and other codefendants have interfered with Ticketmaster’s contractual and economic relations with clients, according to the suit, and "knowingly engaged in a conspiracy aimed at causing damage to Ticketmaster."

StubHub spokesman Sean Pate told Pollstar the company "believes the lawsuit filed by Ticketmaster is without merit and intends to vigorously defend itself against these unsubstantiated claims."

Ticketmaster is seeking restitution for all monies acquired through the defendants "unlawful and improper business practices," punitive damages, and a permanent injunction against the defendants to prevent future violations of TM’s exclusive contractual rights. Company spokeswoman Bonnie Poindexter noted that the StubHub lawsuit is unique in that StubHub is encroaching on TM’s turf: primary ticketing.

This most recent filing comes on the heels of another string of suits the company brought against three groups of ticket brokers. The brokers were apparently found by Ticketmaster’s fraud prevention team to be using automated bots to navigate the company’s systems. The bots allowed the brokers to gain unfair access to tickets at speed and volume far beyond what a human could do on their own.

The company cites one on-sale last month as an example, during which the fraud prevention team identified more than 3 million attempts to access the Ticketmaster system from one IP address.

Ticketmaster claims nearly 117,000 tickets have been affected by the automated programs. The company is seeking injunctive relief against the defendants and damages.