On 4 December 2017, the Bundeskartellamt (German Federal Cartel Office — FCO) announced it had banned CTS Eventim from having exclusive agreements with its promoter and box office partners.
Based in Munich, CTS Eventim is the operator of the largest ticketing system in Germany and holds a dominant position in the relevant market. The company provides ticketing services for event organisers and advance booking offices, organises music tours and festivals, and is particularly known for its ticket online shop “eventim.de”. Ticketing systems allow event organisers to sell tickets through different advance booking offices and online shops. It is estimated that 60-70 percent of all tickets which are distributed via ticketing systems in Germany are sold via CTS Eventim’s system. The company’s competitors are sizably smaller, have a regional focus, and sometimes depend on cooperation with CTS.
The clauses under debate stipulate that Eventim’s ticketing partners may only sell tickets exclusively or to a considerable extent via CTS’s “eventim.net” ticket sales system. The FCO regards Eventim’s contractual agreements as an abuse of market power under competition law and has ordered the company to amend its contracts within four months. The FCO has set out requirements that CTS Eventim’s contract partners must have the possibility in the future to sell at least 20 percent of their annual ticket volume at their own discretion via third party ticketing systems, provided that the contracts extend for more than two years.
The FCO believes that with this decision, substantial ticket quotas will be freed up for sale via competing ticketing systems. CTS Eventim plans to appeal the decision in court.
This is not the first time that Eventim has come under the scrutiny of the FCO. At the end of November, the German competition authority blocked Eventim’s acquisition of Berlin-based promoter and booking agency Four Artists, citing the reason that Eventim would gain control of additional relevant ticket quotas and thereby even expand its dominant market position to the detriment of free competition.