Industry Noize: Live Nation Parking Suits End

In New Jersey, a judge gave final approval March 28 to Live Nation’s class action settlement agreement over parking fees that requires the company to give free tickets and vouchers to hundreds of thousands of concertgoers.

The approval came just three days after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal in Chicago upheld a prior ruling that the company may tack on parking fees to tickets purchased by fans who choose to walk or take public transit to concerts.

James Batson filed the original antitrust case after buying a ticket to an O.A.R. show in July 2010 at Charter One Pavilion in Chicago. Batson walked to the concert, although his ticket stated “$9 PRK PAID.”

He claimed he was never informed that he could get a voucher that would let him park at the downtown Soldier Field North Garage. Batson called the $9 fee a ‘forced parking charge” and filed suit.

“There are times when consumers are required to accept a package deal in order to get the part of the package they want,” the 13-page ruling said. “…But while some people may find these bundles annoying, or even unfair, the tie in is not illegal unless the standards set forth in the governing antitrust cases have been met.”

While the antitrust case was won by Live Nation on its merits, the New Jersey case differed as a class action, which was settled between the parties.

In the latter case, a 2009 lawsuit against the concert promoter claimed it was illegal to tack on a $6 parking fee for each ticket at New Jersey’s PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J., when not all concertgoers drive.

The plaintiffs also alleged Live Nation’s “no-fee” promotion was deceptive.

Live Nation has estimated that roughly 363,000 people who attended concerts between 2003 and 2011 will benefit from the settlement.

They’ll be entitled to three free lawn tickets for shows at the shed over the next four years, as well as a $5 discount coupon for future ticket purchases.

It could be a hefty settlement if all members of the eligible class participate in the settlement.

Assuming a typical lawn ticket of $30, the settlement cost if 363,000 class members apply by April 30 and get tickets could reach more than $36 million, including $1.7 million in attorney fees.

A spokeswoman for Live Nation told Pollstar the company would have no comment on either case.

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