SeatGeek CEO Groetzinger on Live Nation suit

Welcome back everybody. The Justice Department suing Ticketmaster owner Live Nation, saying that the company maintains a monopoly in the industry, controlling roughly 80% of major venues ticketing. Joining us right now for more on that and demand as we head into the summer concert series, we've got Jack Gretzinger. He's the CEO of SeatGeek. And Jack, thanks a lot for being here. Thanks for having me. So I was just explaining to you how I look at SeatGeek and how great it has made things for me in terms of being able to buy tickets and always find a ticket. What I think Seek and some of the other companies have done, though, is boost ticket prices to some extent because ticket scalpers now have a way to do it. And I'm saying this is somebody who both buys and sells tickets on your site. Explain to me what's happening right now in terms of the Justice Department looking at Ticketmaster and why you think that that is monopolistic behavior. What is Ticketmaster done? Yeah, we've had a front row seat to a lot of that illegal anti competitive behavior. And a lot of that is outlined in the, the DOJ final. What, what do they actually do? Because I hear this and I have to say, as somebody who looks at ticket prices and thinks they're too high, I, I don't have a whole lot of empathy for Ticketmaster on this. But what specifically as a competitor, have you seen that they do that makes it not just tough competition, but illegal competition. DOJ Outlands a lot of that. One specific example is they illegally tie content meeting shows to the company that is doing ticketing for a venue. So they're under a consent decree that prohibits that. That has not stopped them from from doing that. And it's a shame because it ultimately means worst experience for fans, higher prices, fewer shows and a service that doesn't really have an incentive to invest in getting better. Because if they know that they're going to be able to run their business, even if they go down or have higher prices, you don't see the industry getting better. And that's why we're excited for more competition. And I'm, I believe in free markets. I believe more people competing to build better stuff means better outcomes for fans, artists, teams. Really everyone in the ecosystem except for the Ticketmaster has said that their market share has gone down since 2010. Is is that the case? You guys started in 2009? Not surprised. They're saying that per the DOJ, they have over 80% market share. Until we entered the primary business, which was in 2017, they had almost every major venue in the US. They just weren't losing deals. We've been fortunate to now have dozens of major venues. How did you do that? Because I remember that happening. I remember all of a sudden it wasn't just Ticketmaster on the scene. And when I was looking for tickets, I could price shop. We focused on technology and said we are a technology company that happens to be focused on live events. And if we can build something not just a little bit better, but a lot better, then people will notice and switch. And we've been able to get many venues to see that and switch over and give a better experience to their fans. But we've been doing that in a environment that is fundamentally uncompetitive. Well, I was going to say that that sounds like an argument for why maybe they shouldn't be broken up. If you guys have been able to make this progress just because you're better and you're investing more in artificial intelligence, more in technology on that side, what what would be different if the Justice Department were to break them up other than to weaken a competitor? Many companies have tried. I would love to see, I'd love to see more competition beyond just seeking a guide. I'd love for us to have to prove ourselves against many companies out there. Can you just describe though, the margin that you think that they're taking, the margin that you're taking and what the difference would be if this was broken up? The, the thing they do is, you know, they have Ticketmaster, which sells tickets, but also they own venues, right? They are the largest promoter. They manage artists. So insofar they are as they are pushing up fees, those fees are then taken across many different parts of the I guess the, and I tried to ask this question of the DOJ last week. Let's say there's a ticket price that's going for, I don't know, 200 dollars, 300 dollars, $500, make it a Taylor Swift ticket and we can go, you know, 1000 thousand plus dollars. What is the margin? What is the margin that you would be taking? Are you taking a lower margin than they're taking? They don't break that out in their P&L. But we look at our prices, we are at or below the rest of the market and we found it. But I think the big question is the consumer harm, right? We're all sitting on going price too high. How much lower would the prices be if there was more competition? Nobody seems to be able to answer this question. And I, and it's part of the reason I'm even asking it is because I'm actually, I actually fear that the prices are actually at a market price. You may disagree and that's what I'm hoping you're going to say. I think I do disagree. I think the prices go down. It's of course the specific amount is going to vary by event. I think the other part that's really important is the actual service. The the product that fans get will get a lot better because you will no longer be able to just exist and assume that you're going to get business. It's we want a dynamic market where there's tons of folks out there competing. Here's my concern.

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