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StubHub sues Warriors over ticket reselling

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Jeff Chiu/2014 AP file photo
Online ticket marketplace StubHub sued the Warriors and Ticketmaster for in-house ticket rules with season-ticket holders.
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Here you thought LeBron James, Gregg Popovich and the Los Angeles Clippers were the biggest impediments to the Warriors' season in paradise. Turns out organizational greed and in-house ticket rules could be the bigger issue.

StubHub is suing the Warriors and Ticketmaster, alleging the team unfairly required fans looking to resell tickets to use Ticketmaster's resale exchange. The online ticket marketplace and division of San Jose-based eBay Inc. alleges that the organizations prevent fans from deciding how they want to resell tickets and artificially drive up ticket prices.

Specifically, StubHub said Ticketmaster and the Warriors canceled fans' regular-season and playoff tickets when those fans used StubHub and other exchanges to resell tickets. In other cases, the complaint says, Ticketmaster and the Warriors' front office broke the law by threatening fans with cancellation to force them to use Ticketmaster's resale exchange.

In a statement, StubHub said:

“StubHub, a leading ticket marketplace, has filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster and the Golden State Warriors' front office. As stated in the Complaint, StubHub seeks to stop unfair and illegal anti-competitive business practices that prevent fans from deciding how they want to resell their tickets and which artificially drive up ticket prices. The Complaint recounts that Ticketmaster and the Warriors' front office broke our nation's antitrust law and California law against unfair competition by cancelling fans' regular-season and playoff-game tickets when those fans chose to use StubHub and other competitive exchanges to resell tickets. In many more cases, the Complaint says, Ticketmaster and the Warriors' front office broke the law by unlawfully threatening fans with cancellation to force them to use Ticketmaster's resale exchange exclusively.

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“StubHub strives to compete fairly, ensuring that fans only pay market-driven prices based on actual supply and demand. We believe fans, not front-office executives, have the right to decide how — and for how much — resale tickets will be bought and sold.

“Despite repeated requests by StubHub, the Warriors and Ticketmaster executives refused to play fair, to respect the fans, and to obey the law. StubHub's only option therefore remains to seek relief in federal court to stop these anticompetitive business practices. StubHub simply wants Ticketmaster and the Warriors front office to embrace competitive efforts rather than monopoly tactics.

“The lawsuit … describes in detail the systematic, anticompetitive behavior that causes fans to suffer financial harm for the sole purpose of creating a monopoly for the resale of Warriors tickets.

“Fifteen years ago, StubHub was started by fans to serve fans. Today that's still our focus. We will keep fighting for open, fair ticket markets and the right of fans to make their own choices.”

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The Warriors refused comment, saying the organization doesn't comment on legal matters. But this is not a new issue in sports, as the Chicago Cubs faced a similar legal dilemma during the heyday of the early 2000s. Teams that routinely sell out games try to make the rules … until the law suggests otherwise.

— Staff, wire report



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