Eventim And LN To Slug It Out

The gloves are off between CTS Eventim and Live Nation as the two companies’ already strained relationship appears to be deteriorating into something like a bare-knuckle brawl.

Apart from scrapping it out before the UK’s Competition Commission, where the German ticketing company has appealed the LN-Ticketmaster merger, Eventim has also filed a U.S. claim against the world’s largest concert promoter.

The LN-TM merger has been allowed in the U.S. but Eventim’s alleging the merger has caused Live Nation to breach an agreement to license Eventim’s ticket platform.

The promoter’s U.S. and UK offices haven’t so far commented on Eventim’s claims beyond saying they’re “without merit.” But in London there are growing signs that some top execs are getting to the end of their tether with the Germans.

Paul Latham, LN’s London-based chief ops officer for international music, believes Eventim was so determined to make it a legal fight that it didn’t bother with the issues involved in installing a workable ticket platform.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing April 20 Live Nation claimed Eventim is “failing to provide a ticketing platform that meets the minimum contractual standards.”

“They trot out the same old nonsense they have been spouting for 12 months, forgetting that the only reason we had to contemplate going back with TM is because Eventim couldn’t or wouldn’t deliver a decent ticketing system,” Latham explained.

“Since the contract was signed over two years ago the Germans have been acting as though they had LN’s testicles in a vice. Not only is that not true of the contract but I’ve always performed better as a tenor rather than a castrati.”

He told Pollstar that at no time has Eventim looked to deliver on a ticketing “partnership.”

“The sooner the thing is sorted the better because my staff is at the end of its tether with the service we get,” he said. “UK customers going through to the Eventim website still have trouble concluding bookings and are faced with error messages in German.

“In the U.S. and UK, Eventim hasn’t invested the time and effort to understand the nuances of the market and the gaps in what they have delivered,” he added.

Last month LN’s submissions to the Competition Commission pretty well suggested Eventim isn’t even trying to sell Live Nation tickets.

The other complaints regarding Eventim’s UK platform have been its struggle to cope with demand and its tendency to leave a lot of single seats available.

What’s also irking LN execs is that Eventim’s U.S. action seeks a declaration stating that Live Nation needs to fulfill specific performance obligations.

In the UK the Competition Commission is expected to complete its review of the LN-TM merger and give its verdict by May 11.

So far there’s no timetable for Eventim’s U.S. action but it’s been filed with the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, usually a fast-track way to get a resolution compared to a lengthy court battle.

The procedural rules are somewhat more liberal and tend to favour the plaintiff, in this case CTS, than would be the case in a typical lawsuit.