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StubHub Lawsuit: Defendants Ask For Court Dismissal

StubHub’s battle with The National Basketball Association’s Golden State Warriors and Ticketmaster got a little deeper on Friday, July 31, 2015 according to a Law360 report, when two motions to dismiss the case were heard by a Federal Court Judge in a California courtroom.

The TM/GS Warriors argument: The StubHub lawsuit is not based on an “antitrust problem at all.”

For StubHub’s Initial Lawsuit:Click here

For Ticketmaster’s Motion To Dismiss:Click here

For The Golden State Warrior’s Motion To Dismiss:Click here

According to Law 360’s report:

In a pair of motions to dismiss, the Oakland, California-based team and its ticketing partner Ticketmaster argue that their agreement for the primary and secondary sales of game tickets cannot constitute a monopoly because the tickets compete in a market that includes other entertainment and sports events in the area.

“In reality, that is not an antitrust problem at all,” Ticketmaster wrote in its motion. “It is a narrow dispute about how one professional basketball team gets to have tickets to its own games distributed. In legal terms, nothing about the conduct at issue implicates an antitrust ‘relevant market,’ so all the claims fail.”

The Warriors, which won the NBA Championship last season, said that even though their tickets are highly coveted, they do not represent their own market.

“Even a seller of a highly attractive product (which, at this moment, Warriors tickets may be) must consider competition from reasonably interchangeable products,” its motion says.

The team added that antitrust laws do not guarantee that every competitor has access to same businesses, and that their exclusive deal with Ticketmaster is the product of ordinary activity in a competitive market.

“The antitrust laws, however, protect competition and are not a guarantee of business to any particular competitor,” the Warriors wrote. “The events described in StubHub’s [complaint] reflect ordinary competitive processes, not antitrust violations.”

StubHub’s complaint claims the team has a monopoly over the sale of primary or “first sale” Warriors tickets, all of which are sold through Ticketmaster’s primary ticketing platform — meaning a Warriors fan who wants to purchase season tickets can only do so through Ticketmaster. A substantial secondary market for those tickets exists, which leads many fans to use secondary ticket exchanges to either sell their unwanted seats or buy tickets to select games, the complaint says.

In order to control and profit from the resale of Warriors tickets through such exchanges, the suit claims the Warriors and Ticketmaster have cut off or threatened to cancel fans’ subscriptions to Warriors season and post-season packages if they choose to resell their tickets over a secondary exchange that competes with Ticketmaster. In some cases, the suit claims the team has specifically identified StubHub as being particularly off-limits.

The Warriors wrote that the team solicited bids for a secondary ticketing service in 2013, including a bid from StubHub. The team ultimately chose Ticketmaster, which was already serving as its primary ticket seller, because it offered the best system to stave off the sale of fraudulent tickets.

“The benefit of this integration is obvious: Ticketmaster is the only third party able to confirm that a ticket offered for resale is a valid ticket and to prevent an individual from reselling the same ticket multiple times,” the team’s motion to dismiss says.

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