Oeticket’s Promoter Bankruptcy Insurance

Austria’s leading ticket seller has reacted to the bankruptcy of Germany’s Art Concerts by offering its customers an insurance against another promoter suffering a similar fate.

When Art Concerts hit the canvas, it was forced to cancel its production of “Ben Hur Live” at Vienna Stadthalle Feb. 9-10, leaving as many as 10,000 fans holding tickets for shows that most likely won’t happen.

Although some of the box office money had already been sent to Art Concerts, and what’s left of that will now be in the hands of the official receiver, the state-funded venue still made refunds.

Oeticket chief Andreas Egger says his CTS Eventim-owned company couldn’t do the same for fear it’d end up paying out twice.

“The official receiver told us not to refund the money because it had fallen under his jurisdiction. If we had repaid it, then he could have legally pursued us for it. I think he would have won,” he explained.

He also says the Stadthalle may have better legal justification for refunding as its contract with Art Concerts would likely have been for the hire of the venue and its ancillary services.

Egger’s response to the collapse of Art Concerts has been to extend an insurance scheme that Oeticket already runs to protect ticket buyers against missing a show for almost any reason, from illness and public transport failure to natural disasters including floods and earthquakes.

The optional insurance puts less than 5 percent on the ticket price, but increasing the premium to 5.5 percent enables the coverage to be extended to promoters and show producers going bust.

Egger says he’s now looking at speaking to other ticket companies about putting an insurance levy of as little as two euro cents on every ticket, money that would be held in an escrow account until needed to make refunds for canceled shows.

He says it’s better for the business to set up such a scheme than have it forced upon them, as was the case with travel agents.
Art Concerts chief Franz Abraham was to meet investors March 10 in a bid to raise funds to the “Ben Hur” show, presumably by buying the production from the official receiver.