Suit Against Ticketmaster & 49ers Dropped


     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge dismissed with prejudice an antitrust class action accusing the San Francisco 49ers and Ticketmaster of conspiring to monopolize the market for reselling season tickets.
     Lead plaintiff Amir Kazemzadeh sued the 49ers and Ticketmaster in August 2015, claiming they blocked season ticketholders from access to their tickets until 72 hours before a game last year.
     In previous seasons, Kazemzadeh, said he could print his tickets in advance and give them as gifts or post them for sale on websites such as stubhub.
     Under the new policy, season ticketholders must resell their tickets through Ticketmaster’s NFL Ticket Exchange website up until three days before a game. The NFL Ticket Exchange charges high fees and conceals its floor price for resold tickets, according to the lawsuit. Kazemzadeh said the two companies were stifling competition in the secondary ticket market by reducing the number of 49ers tickets for sale on competing websites and maximizing the number for sale on the NFL Ticket Exchange.
     The NFL Ticket Exchange charges buyers 15 percent extra, with a 10 percent surcharge for season ticketholders and a 15 percent service fee, according to estimates cited in the complaint.
      Tickemaster and the 49ers both filed motions to dismiss in December, saying the plaintiffs failed to adequately allege harm to competition or “clearly identify what ‘market’ has been allegedly restrained.’
     On Monday, Kazemzadeh’s attorney informed the court that his client decided to voluntarily dismiss the case with prejudice .
     Class attorney Naomi Spector of Hyde & Swigart in San Diego said she had no comment and was not permitted to speak about the matter, suggesting that a confidential settlement agreement was reached between the parties.
     San Francisco 49ers attorney Derek Ludwin of Washington, D.C. and Ticketmaster attorney Andrew Gass of Latham & Watkins in San Francisco did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday afternoon.
     A phone call and email seeking comment from the 49ers also went unanswered Tuesday.
     A Ticketmaster spokeswoman declined to comment.

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