CLEVELAND, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Flash Seats and the Cleveland
Cavaliers have filed suit against Ticketmaster, the dominant ticketing
company in professional sports. The complaint was filed today in the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Cleveland-based Flash
Seats, LLC and the Cleveland Cavaliers have common, though not identical,
In the complaint, Flash Seats and the Cavaliers seek "to stop
Ticketmaster's ongoing campaign to utilize its substantial market power in
ticketing service to exclude actual and potential competition," in
violation of federal and state antitrust laws.
The complaint also alleges that Ticketmaster is "coercively seeking to
enforce its primary-ticketing contracts (relating to the direct sale of
tickets to the public) with the Cavaliers and other customers" by requiring
them to use only Ticketmaster's own secondary-ticketing program (relating
to the resale of tickets) or none at all. Ticketmaster does not offer a
secondary-ticketing product with the capabilities and fan conveniences of
Flash Seats' products and services.
Flash Seats offers fans easy, electronically transferable, paperless
arena access that many patrons find more advanced and convenient than
Ticketmaster's solution, which only utilizes paper ticket entry.
Sam Gerace, chief executive officer of Flash Seats, said, "Fans deserve
to enjoy and benefit from a free and open marketplace. We believe fans
suffer from less competition and less innovation due to the Ticketmaster
business practices we address in our lawsuit. We further believe
Ticketmaster is trying to prevent the Cavaliers and numerous other
professional sports teams from offering their fans the ability to buy and
sell tickets on any secondary- marketing exchange Ticketmaster does not
own, as well as preventing fans from enjoying innovative new technology
products that are not Ticketmaster's. We feel it is time to put a stop to
"We have been focused on this issue for some time," said Len Komoroski,
the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena president. "Our fans have
used and enjoyed the Flash Seats service this past season, and after many
months of discussion with Ticketmaster were unproductive, we felt compelled
to take this action. How can Ticketmaster be allowed to prevent a team from
offering a service to its fans that Ticketmaster itself does not offer?
Should pro sports teams simply be limited to offering only services that
Ticketmaster decides to offer? We think the answer to that is very clear.
The dispute cites what Flash Seats and the team allege are
Ticketmaster's anti-competitive efforts to interfere with the Cavaliers'
offering to its season ticket holders one of the new and technologically
advanced Flash Seats services. Introduced at the beginning of last season,
Flash Seats offers season ticket holders the convenience of ticketless
venue access, electronic transfer of tickets, and a secure, team-sanctioned
online secondary-ticketing marketplace for transferring and selling their
game seats electronically (and without paper) to other fans.
Ticketmaster now contends that the Cavaliers' conduct in making Flash
Seats available to its season ticket holders violates Ticketmaster's
exclusive rights. Although the Cavaliers have a contract with Ticketmaster
for the sale of individual game tickets in the primary-ticketing market,
Komoroski said its exclusivity provision has never been applied, and was
never intended to apply, to the secondary-ticketing market for season
tickets or the manner in which season ticket holders transfer or resell
their tickets to other fans.
"The Cavaliers were the first NBA team to offer this exciting new
technology, and their fans have been very enthusiastic about it," Gerace
added. "It is far more convenient and fan-friendly than any other service
on the market. Fans have flocked to this innovative service because it is
both easier to use and adds value and significant benefit to the ticketing
-- Flash Seats provides quick and easy access to Quicken Loans Arena
through specially marked gates where, instead of presenting a paper
ticket, the seat-holder presents a credit card or driver's license for
paperless, electronic entrance.
-- With Flash Seats, season ticket holders can transfer their electronic
ticket(s) to family members, business associates or other parties on
the Internet by simply entering the e-mail address of the intended
recipient who will then electronically receive the paperless tickets.
-- Season ticket holders also have an option to utilize an easy, secure
secondary marketplace through Flash Seats by selling their seats at
fair market value. Buyers can be assured that the purchased seat is
authentic and valid.
-- Ticketmaster's contract with the Cavaliers prevents Flash Seats
technology from being used for the resale of Cavaliers single-game
tickets (tickets other than season ticket locations).
Ticketmaster does not offer fans a paperless, electronic ticket or a
paperless secondary marketplace. The court filing points out that
Ticketmaster has attempted to sell the Cavaliers and other customers an
inferior secondary- ticketing product called TeamExchange, which does not
offer fans the same features and conveniences that Flash Seats and other
secondary marketing exchanges offer.
SOURCE Flash Seats, LLC; the Cleveland Cavaliers