SBD/Issue 204/Facilities & Venues

Ticketmaster Suing Cavs, Flash Seats Over Ticket Designations

The Cavaliers and sister company Flash Seats are being sued in U.S. District Court in Cleveland by Ticketmaster, according to the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER's Damian Guevara, who reported the trial before District Judge Kate O'Malley “included two days of testimony last week.” Lawyers will submit written arguments, and O'Malley will rule next month. Ticketmaster claims that the team violated its contract with the company when it “established Flash Seats as a way for people to buy, sell or swap tickets.” Ticketmaster attorney Robert Platt said, “For each ticket sold through Flash Seats that otherwise would have been sold through Ticketmaster, Ticketmaster loses revenue." Guevara wrote the “central issue in the case is whether an unsold ticket in an area designated for season tickets should be classified as a season ticket or a single-game ticket." If it is a season ticket, the Cavaliers control the rights to it, but Ticketmaster has the rights to sell single-game tickets. Ticketmaster “contends that for games in which season tickets go unsold, the Cavs sell those seats directly through Flash Seats, instead of releasing the tickets into a pool that would be sold through Ticketmaster.” The Cavaliers and Flash Seats are both owned by Daniel Gilbert, and they countersued Ticketmaster, saying that the company “is trying to squash Flash Seats' expansion in the competitive ticket-vending industry.” They claim that the Flash Seats Web site is "simply a convenient way for season ticket holders to get rid" of tickets they cannot use. Cavaliers and Flash Seats attorney Joseph Castrodale said that the team has “traditionally sold season tickets directly to fans with no involvement from Ticketmaster.” Ticketmaster has had exclusive rights to all Cavaliers single-game ticket sales since Quicken Loans Arena opened in '93. In '05, the company paid the team a $4.3M advance to secure those rights, which runs through 2010 (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 7/13).

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