Are you sick and tired of Ticketmaster and their seemingly endless service charges, facility charges, processing charges and convenience charges? Well, you're not alone. So are the Cleveland Cavaliers, and they're doing something about it. They're suing Ticketmaster.
The lawsuit claims that Ticketmaster is attempting to prevent the team and its Flash Seats, a secondary-ticketing service from competing with the ticketing company.
"Ticketmaster is using its market power to exclude competition and inhibit innovation," said Sam Gerace, chief executive officer of Flash Seats. "I can only conclude they're threatened by Flash Seats."Ticketmaster isn't screwing around here. They've already sued the Cavs and Flash Seats earlier in the month, asking the court to rule that they have the exclusive rights to handle all of the team's ticket sales. The real kicker here is that the Cavs and Flash Seats (which are both owned by Dan Gilbert) aren't just using this system for themselves. They're actively trying to sell their technology to other teams as well.
The Cavaliers and Flash Seats contend that Ticketmaster is coercively seeking to enforce its primary-ticketing contract with the Cavaliers to exclude Flash Seats, saying that the contract prohibits the team from doing business with Flash Seats.
After a little investigation, Flash Seats does seem to have something that's a pretty cool tool. Essentially, they've done away with paper tickets. The patented system allows customers to buy tickets online, and use their credit card or driver's license to gain entry to the event. It helps the fans who will inevitably lose their tickets at some point before the event, but more importantly gives the teams more control over the tickets. They can eliminate the outside secondary-ticket marketplace and gain more revenue that way.
The Flash Seats system was used by the Cavs last season, and participation was voluntary. The team said about 17% of season ticket holders used the service during the regular season, and increased to 50% during the playoffs.
Don't worry Ticketmaster, you can always raise your fees should you lose this lawsuit. And you may be fine. But do be worried. Flash Seats is on to something here.
(Photo Credit: Mark Duncan, AP)