The Federal Antitrust Lawsuit Highlights The Cozy Relationship Between Reside Nation And Oak View Group

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — The federal antitrust lawsuit in opposition to Reside Nation underscores the corporate’s shut relationship with Oak View Group (OVG), the venue administration and advisory firm launched by former Reside Nation chairman Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke, the previous President and CEO of Anschutz Leisure Group, Reside Nation’s major U.S. rival.

When Oak View Group launched in 2015, it appeared poised to turn into a significant competitor to Reside Nation by reserving high artists for its managed arenas and different main live performance venues throughout the U.S., difficult Reside Nation’s dominance in main excursions. The launch of OVG led Reside Nation to explain the corporate as one in all its “Largest Competitor Threats” shortly after OVG’s inception, in response to the federal lawsuit.

Nevertheless, that potential rivalry didn’t materialize, and in response to the Division of Justice (DOJ), this was not a coincidence.

The DOJ alleges that emails between senior executives of each firms reveal an in depth and coordinated relationship. OVG executives described the corporate as a “pimp” and “hammer” for Reside Nation, serving to to carry venues into the Reside Nation/Ticketmaster fold.

“I at all times defend you on rebates, promoter place, ticketing,” Tim Leiweke instructed Reside Nation CEO Michael Rapino in a single communication cited by the DOJ lawsuit.

Moreover, the federal lawsuit alleges that Oak View Group successfully ceded the live performance promotion enterprise to Reside Nation, whereas the promoter large backed away from the sector area to keep away from encroaching on OVG’s enterprise.

“It has been our coverage to remain on the sidelines in relation to shopping for and particularly selling tour dates as we’re cognizant to not compete with our associate Reside Nation on this facet of the enterprise,” an Oak View Group Senior Vice President instructed a colleague through e mail, in response to the federal government’s lawsuit.

The DOJ cites a 2016 incident during which the 2 firms labored to keep away from competitors in negotiations with artist representatives over a possible tour.

“What’s up? We have now carried out his [touring] and Vegas[.] Let’s be sure that we don’t let [the artist agency] begin taking part in us off,” Rapino purportedly instructed Oak View Group, with OVG’s Tim Leiweke responding, “Our guys acquired a bit forward. All know we don’t promote and we solely do excursions with Reside Nation.”

One other incident cited by the DOJ in 2022 adopted an identical theme.

“Who could be so silly to do that and play into [the artist agent’s] arms?” Rapino reportedly wrote in an e mail to colleagues at Oak View Group. OVG CEO Tim Leiweke, responded, stating, “We have now by no means promoted with out you. Gained’t,” and later added, “More than pleased to do these offers by way of LN as I’ve at all times been aligned,” and “I by no means wish to be rivals,” in subsequent emails, in response to the DOJ.

The DOJ’s go well with additionally claims that Oak View Group helps steer venues to Reside Nation’s Ticketmaster platform. In keeping with the go well with, OVG projected that it could transition a minimum of 22 venues to Ticketmaster over the subsequent 4 years.

Oak View Group has not been accused of wrongdoing and isn’t a celebration to the lawsuit.

In response to the federal antitrust lawsuit, Reside Nation’s Dan Wall, Government Vice President of Company and Regulatory Affairs, addressed the corporate’s relationship with Oak View Group in a prolonged assertion launched on Thursday.

“The criticism makes two principal claims regarding Reside Nation’s relationship with the Oak View Group (OVG), a venue administration firm. The primary is disingenuous, as it’s premised on the concept that OVG was a critical potential rival to Reside Nation in live performance promotion. OVG owns and manages venues. It has by no means been a live performance promoter, nor aspired to be one—which is exactly the purpose made within the e mail DOJ quotes. DOJ’s declare relies on two incidents during which Reside Nation and OVG had been discussing what to do when an OVG venue needed to guide an occasional present itself on a darkish night time. To painting that as an settlement to not compete in live performance promotion is farcical—notably when the criticism defines the related promotions market as a marketplace for regional or nationwide excursions and explicitly disavows the suggestion that ‘self-supply’ of exhibits from venue homeowners is a part of that market.

Regardless, OVG’s habits as a venue operator is totally in keeping with each main enviornment and stadium within the nation—they should have an in-house booker who helps fill in any other case darkish nights, however they’ve no real interest in systematically taking over the chance of ensures that could possibly be within the hundreds of thousands of {dollars} for a present or tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} for a tour.

DOJ additionally claims it was anticompetitive for Ticketmaster to compete for and win a ticketing contract OVG supplied. The speculation is that the contract gave Ticketmaster an unfair benefit in securing the enterprise of impartial venues that had been managed by OVG as a result of it creates monetary incentives for OVG to ‘advocate for’ Ticketmaster. However there may be nothing remotely anticompetitive about that. Industrial preparations that contain incentive or advertising funds are frequent all through this business (and plenty of others). Venue administration firms like OVG and ASM are ready to advocate for quite a lot of service suppliers, together with however not restricted to ticketing firms. So there may be competitors for the enterprise alternatives at each the venues they personal, which they management, and the venues they handle, which they don’t management however can probably affect. Ticketmaster competed and gained the contract on the deserves as a result of OVG decided it was the most effective ticketing system out there.”

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