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Colorado Company Sues Ticketmaster

August 7, 2003

DENVER (AP) _ A Boulder-based company that sells concert tickets for the band The String Cheese Incident has filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster alleging the ticket giant unfairly monopolizes the market.

The suit by SCI Ticketing, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, alleges Ticketmaster has stopped allowing concert venues and promoters to release blocks of tickets to it and some other ticketing companies. The company alleges the move violates federal antitrust laws.

Ticketmaster spokeswoman Kandus Simpson said the company does not comment on pending litigation. A publicist for SCI Ticketing, also known as String Cheese Incident Ticketing LLC, said she could not discuss the suit.

According to the suit, Ticketmaster has gained market control through exclusive deals with concert promoters and venues. The company is accused of selectively enforcing such agreements, allowing some ticketing services to obtain and sell up to 25 percent of a concert’s available tickets while limiting SCI Ticketing to 8 percent or less.

In order to sell tickets, SCI said it must comply with certain Ticketmaster conditions, such as charging fans a fee to belong to a band’s fan club.

For years, the Boulder company was able to obtain blocks of tickets from concert venues and promoters to sell directly to fans. Many of those venues and promoters had contracts with Ticketmaster, the suit says.

In May 2002, some venues and promoters stopped the practice after Ticketmaster allegedly asked them to, the suit says.

According to the suit, Ticketmaster told SCI in a letter last month that it would no longer permit the company to sell tickets for any acts other than The String Cheese Incident unless it complied with certain requirements, such as imposing the fan club fees.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and asks that Ticketmaster ended its alleged exclusive deals.

SCI Ticketing, also known as String Cheese Incident Ticketing LLC, was formed in 1998 as a partnership between the jam band and Madison House, a management and booking agency in Boulder. The band has a fan-base similar to Phish and the Grateful Dead, with many fans following the band around the country and attending multiple concerts at each location.

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