When you buy tickets from ticketing agencies such as Ticketek and Ticketmaster, you pay a double commission in the form of "inside" and "outside" charges – and you’re even paying to use your own ink and paper to print out your ticket at home.
Consumers should not be continually frustrated by out-dated booking systems, especially when paying top dollar to use them. CHOICE believes all components of a ticket price should be revealed to consumers up-front.
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Most Australians are likely to attend a sporting or cultural event at least once this year. And whether it’s a concert, sporting event or the theatre, chances are you’re going to have to buy a ticket – and that’s where the trouble starts.
The big two
While the Australian ticketing industry is made up of a number of companies, the two major players selling sports, concert and theatre tickets are Ticketek and Ticketmaster.
According to Ticketek, it processes 18 million tickets to more than 13,000 events every year, and services 225 venues and clients. These include Sydney’s ANZ Stadium and Allphones Arena, the SCG and MCG, Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Canberra Stadium and the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
Ticketmaster claims to ticket more than 10,000 events every year. Venues it has the exclusive rights to process ticketing to include Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium, the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Brisbane Cricket Ground and WA’s Patersons Stadium.
When CHOICE looked into ticketing back in 2009, we found these exclusivity agreements with venues were constricting competition.
At that time, we wrote: “To get exclusive ticketing rights, these companies have to pay the venue owners ‘key money’, which they recoup through high ticket profit margins. The result is a duopoly that does little for competitive pricing… Event owners and producers may have a choice of venue, but they have no choice of ticket seller when the exclusive ticketing rights of the venue have been signed over to a particular ticketing agency.”
Alarm bells over ticketing have continued to sound ever since.
Ticketek's market strength allowed it to do things it may not have done in a more competitive environment.
- Rod Sims, ACCC
In 2010, the ACCC took action against Ticketek, having investigated its treatment of discount-ticketing retailer Lasttix.
In December 2011, the Federal Court imposed a penalty totalling $2.5m on Ticketek, finding that on four separate occasions Ticketek engaged in conduct with the anti-competitive purpose of deterring or preventing Lasttix from supplying its services.
“Ticketek’s market strength allowed it to do things it may not have done in a more competitive environment,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said at the time.
“Their behaviour towards Lasttix was opportunistic, anti-competitive and found by the court to be unacceptable.”