According to a lawsuit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court, Chicago concert promoter Jam Productions is seeking to settle a dispute with Ticketmaster, based on an argument that arose once Live Nation merged with the event ticketing giant. At issue is who has rights to sell tickets at three of Jam's venues: the Park West, Riviera Theatre and Vic Theatre.
In a nutshell: Jam inked a deal in 2006 with Ticketmaster to sell tickets to Jam's concerts. Ticketmaster got its usual fee for each ticket sold. But this year Ticketmaster merged with Jam's main competitor, the nationwide event promotion company Live Nation. Jam's attorneys argue in the suit that the 2006 deal can be terminated on that basis -- so that fees from tickets sold at Jam shows don't wind up filling the coffers of Live Nation.
Specifically, the complaint claims the contract allows Jam to terminate the relationship if Ticketmaster becomes "engaged in the day-to-day business of promoting live entertainment events or primarily engaged in the day-to-day business of artist management." The termination is necessary, Jam says in the suit, "to avoid forcing Jam to maintain a business relationship with one of its competitors."
The agreement between Jam and Ticketmaster was scheduled to expire at the end of 2011. Ticketmaster is fighting for it to continue and has threatened its own legal action, according to the complaint.
Jam began using etix.com for some ticket sales earlier this year.
The U.S. Department of Justice explained, following its approval of the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger, that a "firewall" would exist in the newly combined company preventing Ticketmaster from acquiring confidential business information from non-Live Nation venues and promoters it sells tickets for. Those details did not include whether the firewall kept ticket fees from reaching Live Nation, as well.
Reps for Ticketmaster could not be reached Monday, and attorneys for Jam declined comment.