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Bundeskartellamt prohibits exclusive contracts between CTS Eventim and event organisers and advance booking offices

Date of issue: 04.12.2017

The Bundeskartellamt has prohibited CTS Eventim from using exclusive contracts which it has concluded with organisers of live entertainment events and advance booking offices. The clauses in question stipulate that the contracting parties may only sell tickets exclusively or to a considerable extent via CTS's "" ticket sales system. The Bundeskartellamt regards these contractual agreements as an abuse of market power under competition law and has now ordered CTS Eventim to amend its contracts within four months.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "As the operator of the largest ticketing system in Germany, CTS Eventim holds a dominant position in the market. Under competition law a company with such a market position has special obligations. Where CTS Eventim commits its contract partners to sell tickets exclusively via its own ticketing system, the company is abusing its market power to the detriment of competition. With our decision substantial ticket quotas will be freed up for sale via competing ticketing systems."

According to the requirements set by the Bundeskartellamt, CTS Eventim's contract partners must have the possibility in future to sell at least 20 per cent of their annual ticket volume at their own discretion via third party ticketing systems, provided that the contracts are for longer than two years or unlimited.

CTS Eventim is known particularly for its ticket online shop "". The company also provides ticketing services for event organisers and advance booking offices, and organises events itself, especially rock/pop tours and festivals.

A ticketing system is a platform: On the one side it enables event organisers to sell tickets via different advance booking offices and online shops, and on the other side it enables advance booking offices to book tickets for different events. Ticketing system providers also operate their own advance booking offices, especially their own online shops. Due to the distinctly wider reach of ticketing systems in comparison to other sales channels, selling tickets via a ticketing system is indispensable for many event organisers. In equal measure advance booking offices are also reliant on the use of ticketing systems to gain access to a large number of events.

60-70 per cent of all tickets which are distributed via ticketing systems in Germany are sold through CTS Eventim's system. The other ticketing system providers are significantly smaller, operate mainly regionally and sometimes depend on cooperations with CTS.

CTS Eventim's market position is additionally strengthened by its own online shop, through which the company itself sells a substantial share of the tickets. Via its many inhouse event organisers CTS Eventim has also tied a significant share of the total market volume to its ticketing system.

Factors which indicate that the company has a dominant position are in particular indirect network effects. As more event organisers use the ticketing system, more advance booking offices and end customers will depend on the system and vice-versa. CTS Eventim also has a lead over its competitors in its access to data relevant for competition.

Due to the abusive exclusivity contracts with event organisers and advance booking offices, a significant part of the market is being foreclosed even further to competing ticketing systems. In addition, exclusivity clauses of dominant companies on platform markets are encouraging a general trend towards further monopolisation (so-called tipping).

See also press release of 23 November 2017 on the prohibition of the planned merger between CTS Eventim and Four Artists.

Press release (pdf)

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