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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Ticketmaster Causes Eras Tour–Like Disappointment in Tennis, One Week After DOJ Lawsuit

  • Tennis fans trying to buy presale tickets to the US Open posted their struggles on social media.
  • Just last week, the Justice Department launched a legal attack against the company and its parent, Live Nation.
Sep 10, 2023; Flushing, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts towards his player's box during a changeover against Daniil Medvedev (not pictured) in the men's singles final on day fourteen of the 2023 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, Ticketmaster fumbled tennis’s US Open presale in a way that mimics Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour ticket fiasco of fall 2022, which sparked public outcry over the platform’s hold on live events.

Presale for American Express card members started Tuesday at 9 a.m. ET. Shortly after, fans took to social media platforms including X and Tennis Forum to express their frustration. Some said they were asked for a code from American Express that they never got or wasn’t working, while others posted that large swaths of available tickets were somehow already marked as resale. Some fans got error messages prompting them to try again later or were stuck on a “confirming availability” screen. Many posted about long wait times.

“I have never seen a more broken website than Ticketmaster during the US Open AmEx presale,” posted Forbes senior editor Alex Konrad.

The X account for Ticketmaster Fan Support responded to just one US Open complaint, asking the user to send more information through a direct message.

Much like Swift’s tour, the US Open is creating demand that would be hard for any ticketing platform to handle. New York’s favorite end-of-summer tradition broke its own attendance records in 2019, ’22, and ’23. More than 150,000 people showed up to last year’s free fan week, breaking the record set in ’22, and an all-time high of 799,402 fans showed up for the main draw.

This year, total attendance could easily top 800,000 fans, especially because of swelling interest in the sport thanks to the blockbuster movie Challengers. (Inspired by the film, ”tenniscore” has already become a summer fashion trend.)

At the same time Ticketmaster is riling up tennis fans, it’s also in hot water with the federal government.

On Thursday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, claiming monopolization of the live entertainment industry. While mainly alleging wrongs in the live music industry, the DOJ also laid out the company’s dominance in sports. The suit says more than 70% of NBA and NHL arenas used Ticketmaster for their primary ticketer in 2022, and competitor Axs, which the filing says is less than one-fifth of the size of Ticketmaster, hasn’t converted any of the larger company’s arenas in the last decade.

“It is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to Front Office Sports’ request for comment.

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