Live Nation Antitrust Trial Could Begin In March 2026

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By Aitor Diago/Getty Images

The trial that could break up Live Nation will begin in early March of 2026 under a scheduling order issued Thursday.

In a case management plan handed down after the first court appearance in the antitrust action filed last month by the United States Department of Justice, U.S. District Court Judge Arun Subramanian set a trial date of March 2, 2026, though he indicated that due to the complicated nature of the case, that date is hardly firm.

Live Nation’s attorneys, as hinted at in public statements, told the judge they’d argue the case should be moved from the Southern District of New York to Washington, D.C. because the 2010 consent decree that allowed Live Nation to merge with Ticketmaster gave jurisdiction to the DC court. Justice Department attorneys countered the scope of the case is larger than the consent decree. Subramanian said he was inclined to keep the case in his court, but he would entertain motions to the contrary. Those motions must be filed by July 19.

In the lawsuit — in which the federal government is joined by the attorneys-general of dozens of states and the District of Columbia (Subramanian said he expects other states to sign on) — Live Nation is accused of using its market dominance to restrain competition and harm consumers. The feds seek a reversal of the industry-changing merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster.

“We allege that Live Nation relies on unlawful, anticompetitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States at the cost of fans, artists, smaller promoters and venue operators,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement when the suit was filed. “The result is that fans pay more in fees, artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts, smaller promoters get squeezed out, and venues have fewer real choices for ticketing services. It is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster.”

The suit alleges a variety of tactics the DOJ says are used to “eliminate competition and monopolize markets.” Among them, Live Nation’s relationship with Oak View Group (Pollstar‘s parent company), which the Justice Department says “avoided bidding against Live Nation for artist talent and influenced venues to sign exclusive agreements with Ticketmaster.”

The suit also claims Live Nation used its influence to stymie TEG’s attempts to expand its promotion business into the United States. According to the suit, Live Nation attempted to prevent TEG from using StubHub as a ticketer for a concert at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum by refusing to honor any seats sold through StubHub.

The DOJ, without citing specific examples, also alleges Live Nation threatens — usually implicitly, though, the suit claims, sometimes more directly — venues that if they don’t use Ticketmaster, they will not get the promoter’s top tours. And, the suit claims, it works the other way: if an artist refuses to use Live Nation as a promoter, they can expect to be denied a spot at a Live Nation- owned venue.

In its public responses, Live Nation has pointed out that Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s 1.4% annual net profits are “the opposite of monopoly power;” that there is more live industry marketplace competition than ever; that “Ticketmaster’s market share has declined since 2010;” and that the DOJ lawsuit ignores real solutions to “decrease prices and protect fans – like letting artists cap resale prices.”

Subramanian said discovery in the case should begin by July 25 and be complete by October 30, 2025.